Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Sweat Shop

by Tom Bozzo

One thing that leapt out at me in the Larry Summers debacle is this, from the Boston Globe (via Stone Court*, in turn via Pub Sociology):
[Summers] offered three possible explanations, in declining order of importance, for the small number of women in high-level positions in science and engineering. The first was the reluctance or inability of women who have children to work 80-hour weeks. [Emphasis added.]
Yikes! Would this be substantially true of the social sciences?

It did not completely escape my attention in the grad school days that the more tenurable of the Maryland junior economics faculty were putting in long hours, and that some the tenured folk with the largest total product maybe weren't spending enough time with their kids either.

Even in my putatively more "agentic" single male days, I never worked anything close to an 80-hour week. I'm pretty sure I could count the number of 60-hour weeks I've worked on my digits, with an extremity or two left over. This is not accidental.

While I don't normally blog about work, I think I'm safe in saying that my workplace is organized on the principle that it's not worth burning out the staff — junior or senior — by routinely trying to extract such marginal product as might be available from one's fried brain in the forty-fifth weekly hour of making the clients' numbers into better numbers, let alone the eightieth. Of course, this is an incredibly family-friendly arrangement.

I won't be envying my academic pals tonight.

* Apologies to the Stone Court bloggers. I had absentmindedly typed "Stone Fence" initially. Stone Fence is a store in the mall across the street from the office.
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