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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Are you in a career perceived as antithetical to maintaining relationships/marriage?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38980points) November 4th, 2011

So it’s been a couple of months of my PhD program and all I keep hearing is how the work consumes you and you divorce, splat. Aside from the rumor that I’ll ‘never make it’ ‘cause I ‘already have two kids, want a third during my PhD’. And it got me thinking not only whether there are gender differences along who gets that ‘wrapped up’ and gets divorced but what other careers we speak of in a way that makes us think you shouldn’t even get into it if you want to be a ‘family person’.

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

From whom are you hearing those unasked for criticisms. Your partner or the busy-bodies ourside of your family group?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Oh, no this is ‘advice’ from some of the faculty. You know Alex would never say such a thing.

gailcalled's avatar

I didn’t think so. Just tell them to stuff it.

It is a meaningless generality, isn’t it? One (we, I, you- take your choice) needs to review this issue, case by case.

FutureMemory's avatar

How well do they know you?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@gailcalled I don’t pay any attention to it but it is around, in the conversations, in the lounges, etc. It’s not directed at me, just a general ‘yeah, your marriage won’t last if you’re in academia.’

nikipedia's avatar

I’ve never heard any of that as a PhD student.

wundayatta's avatar

Getting a PhD is hard. Any job that requires time will take it away from something else you could be doing. So your spouse is likely to be taking over tasks you used to do. Some spouses will resent that.

In addition, because you are tired and under stress and lots of pressure from your department, most people react to that stress by becoming a less nice person. The spouse and the kids get the brunt of that.

Some people make it easier on themselves by taking ten years to finish instead of four or five—whatever the standard time is in your discipline. Others find ways to be very disciplined and organized so they can do what they need to do and get it all done.

It really helps to be well organized and disciplined. You can be as efficient as possible and you can make sure you work instead of doing other things. Your highest priority has to be the degree and you have to live that, not just give it mouth service.

Most of the people I know who make it through the programs where I work in the minimum time have fellowships and don’t have to work. Those who work take an average of an extra year or two for every year they have to work. Then there are unknown variables like data gathering. If you want to go through fast, do secondary data analysis. Be a statistician. That’s how you get through a PhD fastest.

Qualitative research almost always takes longer. It is also almost always compensated at a lower level when you get a job.

Anyway, these are the kinds of things to work through and some of the issues to think about when juggling a PhD with family and work. It is a lot, but it is also doable.

Cruiser's avatar

I got a lot of “you can’t hack it” flack every step of the way from the Founder of this company to the last owner who eventually sold it to me. Add in my wife who began to resent the time commitment to took to do my job. I now own the business and it was NOT an easy go of it…but I and my wife now know it was worth the sacrifices we made.

If you know you want it, then you know you can do it! Good luck!

Blackberry's avatar

Yeah, military. I think everyone has to kind of “live” at work every now and then. I would be really bored coming home at the same day everyday for decades. Work is fun sometimes.

ucme's avatar

Not really no, although if the wife were ever to turn “bunny boiler” on my randy arse, i’d have no issue with changing the locks…..i’m a locksmith see.

filmfann's avatar

When I was working for the phone company in San Francisco, working maintainence, I immediately saw everyone was working 16 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, and everyone was divorced. Not hard figuring out why.

Mariah's avatar

Ugh. And you just know people wouldn’t guilt trip a working man about his family nearly as much.

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