Work & Life Children & Career Academia & Family
“I heard about the workshops with a researcher about work-life balance. I didn’t have time to go, of course – I’m too overwhelmed. Did she have a solution?”
Dr. Rachel Connelly visited campus in May bearing tips for parents in academia – particularly for women. Co-author of the book Professor Mommy: Finding Work-Family Balance in Academia (Rowman & Littlefield), she presented research and international examples of the problems– and strategies to address them.
She also offered personal stories from raising four children while succeeding as a professor of economics and of gender studies. “Having achieved tenure, I feel the obligation to give back,” she said. “There are things that individual women can do to adapt, but we also need to change the institutions.”
In workshops for students, post-docs, faculty and staff, and a lecture open to the public, Connelly addressed feelings such as guilt (“for not doing more in mothering / for not doing more in teaching and research”) , offered reassurance (“ it gets better”) and got down to practical tips – for work as well as home life.
Here are her ten on-the-job tips for academic researchers (For full explanations, refer to her publications)
1. Figure out when your best research time is and use it for research.
2. Always have a plan for the day and one for the month
3. Don’t prepare for teaching until the last possible moment.
4. Go to conferences every year even if you don’t have something new to present
5. If you really don’t like your position, go find a new one. This can be inside the university or at another institution
6. Apply for grants even if you don’t think you will get them
7. Don’t be afraid to take on a new branch of research.
8. If you know you are going to have to do some committee work, try to insure that it is work you want to do.
9. Don’t answer every email immediately
10. Think of ways that will make you happier with your teaching.
Connelly’s area of research is at the intersection of demographics and labor markets. She has published articles on the effect of broad demographic trends on the labor market decisions and on the economics of child care.
Connelly’s visit was hosted by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, as part of the President’s Lecture Series.
For those who did not have time to attend, here are resources:
President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Oregon State University http://oregonstate.edu/leadership/pcosw/
- Jana Zvibleman