Things nobody has ever said to me

Feb 18 2017 Published by under new job, postdoc, science, women in science

"Thank you for not taking a vacation but coming in to do extra work".

"Wow such impressive work that you submitted a fellowship application 3 weeks after giving birth" (even though I did not get this grant in the end).

"Thanks for checking your email continuously on the day in the week that you're not working (and hence are not being paid)".

"What dedication that even though you have quit your post-doc job and have 3 weeks of vacation days left, you're still coming in to finish these experiments that you're doing".

Just a selection of things that nobody has ever said to me, ever. And this is (finally) making me realize that whenever you go this extra mile for work, you should do it for you and not to get external validation or praise. Because people tend to not see this effort that you put in in these invisible moments, while at the same time this effort may seem very large to yourself.

5 responses so far

  • potnia theron says:

    Good thoughts. But in general, if one is doing scientific research for external praise, one will be unhappy in the end. If the motivation isn't there on the inside, IME, one will not be able to sustain the effort.

    • babyattachmode says:

      Yes, and not just scientific research but most jobs I think. But it took me until very recently to figure that out.

  • Nat says:

    Although I agree that intrinsic motivation is terribly important, the role that extrinsic factors can play in supporting that effort shouldn't be discounted. A supportive environment, where obstacles to keeping people's motivation flowing, is a wonderful thing.

    Now, if you're saying that the realities of scientific research as it is constructed will never really reach that level, then I probably agree with you. But I don't believe that it's always intrinsic to research; instead it's a function of how we have constructed the endeavor.

  • peirama says:

    I agree with Nat. It is important to have a supportive environment to compliment intrinsic motivation. That is not always available, but I don't that it should be dismissed as a goal.

    • babyattachmode says:

      Yes I definitely agree with that. Odyssey had a good post about that the other day here on scientopia. My point here was that expecting that recognition often leads to disappointment - at least that's my experience.

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