I rescued a comment from the spam filter which addressed an older post on Scott Kern. As a reminder he's the researcher that published a long commentary wondering why kids these days weren't devoting insane hours in the lab anymore. He intimated that if you weren't spending your every working minute trying to cure childhood cancers you were a bit of a heel.
But, in the spirit of Rhomann Dey I think it is important that you review the comment offered up by Jessa:
I spent years training with Scott in his pancreatic cancer lab at Hopkins. He was an incredible mentor and a natural ability to see things from odd angles that the rest of us overlooked.
Sure, sure. I'm willing to believe a dude comes across in a random, one-off frustrated rant as a bit more of a jerk than he really is to those who know him.
But, more than any other feature of my time with Scott, one thing stood above all. He is a fantastic Dad. He was OUT of there at 5:30pm. Granted his day started at 4am (I remember that he always joked that he woke up at 4am, once the coffee from 3am kicked in). He was at the dinner table every night, he made it a priority.
With such a great example and mentoring from such a swell guy, one might wonder why this person is no longer in science?
I have since left science in favor of being a stay at home mom. One thing I noticed while I was training is that the women mentors in the field were not home tucking in their babies. I distinctly remember standing on the dark sidewalk looking up at a bright lab window and seeing a woman faculty member in the lab. I thought "what are her little girls doing right now" I thought--I can't be like that.
Interesting. Look, I'm not going to question the way people choose to organize their lives and if 100% every night at home tucking in the tykes was the priority for this commenter, so be it. But she knows jack squatte from looking in a window at one faculty member. Maybe this person had a sharing arrangement with her spouse and on the next night would be home doing the tucking. Maybe this was a rare crunch week before a grant was due, a paper re-submit was coming together or she had a high profile talk to prepare for. Maybe tenure was fast approaching. Point being that many modern two-professional (yes even two-academic) parenting couples make a more balanced approach work. A more shared approach. Where both parties do some of the dinner making, some of the getting the kids out the door to school, some of the soccer practices and, yes, some of the reading of Goodnight Moon, and other classics.
This is a convenient time to review my observation from the original post on St. K3rn.
This sums up all that is wrong with these jerks (Kern is not alone in this "kids these days should spend more time in the lab" nonsense). Their obsessive vocational approach to science was made possible in many cases by a spouse who picked up the pieces for them at home. In sadly too many more cases, Obsessive Vocational Scientist Man operated at the expense of children who had a Dad who was never around, couldn't make the weekend soccer game, was constantly out of town on business and had to hide out in his study when he did manage to stay at home for a few hours.
The younger generations have chosen a different path. Deal, old grumpy dude. Deal.
Out of the house by 4am? And he managed to make it "at the dinner table" at 5:30?
Sorry but this evidence rather supports my presumption that Saint Kern has a stay-at-home spouse, or at least a spouse that picks up the vast majority of the workaday duties.
And his blathering about obsessive vocational behavior is rooted in the fact that he's bailing on so much of ACTUAL life. Screw that.
Sarah Damaske, Elaine Howard Ecklund, Anne E. Lincoln and Virginia J. White Male Scientists’ Competing Devotions to Work and Family: Changing Norms in a Male-Dominated Profession, 2014, Work and Occupations, doi: 10.1177/0730888414539171