Dr Dani Barrington is a Research Fellow jointly appointed by Monash University and the International WaterCentre.
Her work focuses on water and sanitation in developing communities, meaning she is often referred to as ‘The Toilet Lady’ by strangers and ‘Sani Dani’ by at least one of her friends.
She tweets at @Dani_Barrington.
The water clock, by Jonathan O’Donnell on Flickr
Put your hand up if you feel guilty leaving the office at 5pm.
Keep it up if you feel it makes you a ‘bad’ academic.
I realised a few weeks ago that I consider myself a ‘bad’ academic for having a healthy work-life balance. And this really p*ssed me off.
I made a deal with my supervisor when I decided to apply for a PhD: I was over the undergraduate student lifestyle, and I would only do a PhD if I could treat it as a ‘real’ job, where I worked normal hours and took normal holidays.
Otherwise, I was going to accept a graduate position in an engineering firm (the fact that professional engineers may not have a healthy work-life balance was not apparent to me on graduating in 2007, pre-Global Financial Crisis, especially when taking an engineering position in Perth seemed the ‘safe’ option).
I LOVED studying for my PhD – I was making a fortune (well, compared to my previous casual income of $100 a week plus Youth Allowance), I got to work on stuff I was interested in, and I travelled overseas to conferences.
Yet, throughout my PhD, I kept attending seminars where I was reminded that if I wanted to continue in academia I was going to have to dedicate my entire life to the cause, including working weekends and potentially neglecting family obligations.
As a result, I wasn’t that interested in staying in academia when I finished my PhD.
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