Helping Women Achieve in Academic Science

From another WomanOfScience:

For me, it worked best to give birth partway into a three-year postdoc because:

– Postdoc salaries are high enough to support child care expenses. My husband and I couldn’t afford childcare on our meager graduate stipends.

– Postdocs can often arrange flexible work hours. Plus, if you can only work 40 hours/week as a postdoc, they are all research hours and you can maintain excellent scholarly productivity if you manage your time well. As an assistant professor I had so many other duties–teaching, faculty meetings, grant proposals–that if could only work 40 hours/week, my research productivity would have been much smaller.

– That third year gave both of us time to adjust to life as working parents before entering the job market again. And for the first few months after I came back to work postpartum, I was allowed to bring the baby to the office Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving him in the care of a neighbor on MWF. It was a great arrangement to help me through the transition, roughly from age 3 months to 8 months.

Job interviews during pregnancy and breastfeeding were a real challenge for me. I found morning sickness and job interview stress to be a bad combination, and in the early stages of pregnancy it made me nervous not knowing whether I was “showing” yet. As for job-interviews during breastfeeding, leaving the baby at home for more than a day or so becomes a challenge; plus, I didn’t have the maturity to ask for a pumping break during a full-day interview, so was uncomfortable and risked leaking through my nursing pads.

I am a firm believer that postdocs who are new parents should be able to convert a 2 year full-time postdoc into a 3-year, 66% time postdoc. Has anyone tried that?

How about your story?? Comment or post!

Comments on: "A case for kids during your postdoc" (2)

  1. Christina Othon said:

    Worked for me as well. Having a child during the postdoc was ideal, and if you time it right you have a lot of time to write papers while the newborn sleeps. It is much easier to bring an infant to work with you during a postdoc than as a junior faculty.

  2. […] should you have kids (see these blog posts: flexibility, grad school, pre/post tenure, postdoc)?  Should you take a job when you don’t have one for your spouse (see our posts on two-body […]

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