Friday, February 20

12 Hour Weeks and Summers Off?

I am on sabbatical this semester. Sabbaticals are designed to allow academics to immerse themselves in their scholarship without the distractions of the classroom, committee work, etc. Today I met with a student who wondered why I needed a sabbatical when I only work 9 to 15 hours per week (his math was based on the time I spend in class and class-based labs). Such comments usually start me on a 15 minute diatribe, but someone just sent me this link and I think I will now use it and save my breath: What Does a Professor Do All Day?. The author does a good job of describing how academics spend their time. In my case, you can replace his discussion of books with a description of work in the laboratory and the writing of articles for peer reviewed journals, and at my institution undergraduates get the attention he pays graduate students. Overall, though, he hits the nail on the head.

No doubt I have a sweet deal. The students are a pleasure to interact with (for the most part), the institution is self-governed meaning you can make very valuable contributions if you’d like, and I am well paid while allowing me to spend time thinking and helping others develop their ability to think. As good a deal as it is, I am not, however, working 12 hour weeks. And I DO work summers (just not teaching).