Working Life

The measure of success

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Science  01 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6294, pp. 94
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6294.94

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  • RE: Success within the scientific research and academic environment

    To the Editor,

    I read with keen interest Melanie L. Blanchette’s working life article entitled “The measure of success” (1) which provided an account of her journey and the experiences that challenged her view of success within the academic research environment.

    As I read Melanie’s article, I recognized the description of unhealthy work habits often resulting from the prevalent belief that long hours, hard won achievements and a proliferation of research outputs constituted a successful academic research career.

    Also recognisable was the commonly held belief that the relentless pursuit and advancement of an academic research career at all costs might be justified at times, supporting the practice of unhealthful working habits by many academic researchers.

    It was interesting to note how unhealthy workplace practices become more obvious when being exhibited by others, and yet how easily we all succumb to the pressures of striving for academic and research advancement where health laws which would normally promote our wellbeing are temporarily abandoned.

    I applaud Melanie’s efforts to overcome her personal health challenges and continue pursuit of her research career and goals - on her own terms. In addition, I am also in agreement that alternative measures of success within the academic environment need to be considered.

    Respectfully yours,

    Dianne Sika-Paotonu
    Lecturer in Pharmacology/Pathophysiology
    Victoria Univ...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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