Monday, November 8, 2010

Work and Life Balance Panel at INFORMS in Austin

In my previous post I wrote about the social networking panel that I was on yesterday morning at the INFORMS Conference that is taking place in Austin, Texas and provided some highlights of the discussions that took place. Thanks to Professor Laura McLay for organizing it!

My day "ended" yesterday by being on the Work and Life Balance panel at the conference which was organized by the JFIG and WORMS groups and spearheaded by Professors Sadan Kulturel-Konak and Burcu Keskin.

Joining me on the panel were: Professors Marty Wortman of Texas A&M, Larry Seiford of the University of Michigan, Professor Cindy Barnhart of MIT, and Ariela Sofer of George Mason University.

Some advice offered by the panelists:

Time management is extremely important but different people react differently to deadlines and managing stress so you should know what works best for you.

Throw money at the problem, if you can, from getting household help, to babysitters, etc.

Advocate at your university/college if it does not have proactive policies to support having children, etc. Work with the administration, other groups, and a faculty union, if relevant.

Rather than work and life "balance" it is more about "integration." One should have one's priorities, make lists, if that helps, and spend time on what matters to you. You should think of not only how to best allocate your scarce resources of time but also how to minimize regret. Spending time with your family is very important.

In terms of additional professional advice to junior faculty, do concentrate on research and prepare your teaching ahead of time. You can't afford to have a few years pass by without any research output and publications.

Make sure that you have single=authored papers before you are up for promotion and tenure.

Do enjoy the process -- our lives as academics are very full and take advantage of support networks!

Plus, go to conferences -- exchange ideas and meet new colleagues and make new friends!

Professor McLay who was in the audience for this panel was pleased that there were quite a few males attending this panel session. In contrast, and as we had noticed at our morning panel, there were only males in our social networking panel in the audience. Time for more females in technical areas to be blogging!