In the pressure of the publish or perish mentality, an insidious culture has emerged where a work-life balance is frowned upon, working a 40+ hour week is celebrated, and supervisors keep any semblance of hobbies, interests, family or a life very, very quiet. This is detrimental – to the academic, to their colleagues and to their students. This has worsened during the pandemic – in a time when people are having to juggle work, family and their homes more than ever, academic burnout is on the rise. Increasingly, there has been push back to academics taking pride in overworking, and more importantly, in encouraging their students to follow these toxic work habits.

To normalise academics and postgraduate students embracing a work-life balance and celebrating their non-work-related topics, this month in the SAYAS blog we are celebrating the things that our bloggers do outside of their research and postgraduate studies. To kick this off, the SAYAS blog co-editors discuss this problem, and re-introduce themselves without discussing their academic titles or accomplishments. Watch our video below:

This conversation started in January, during our first meeting with the 2021 bloggers. We each introduced ourselves to the group, and then realised how narrow and repetitive those introductions were. These themes emerged again and again as we worked together as co-editors, sharing voice notes between walks in the park, dance classes, and those last few edits on a paper. Recording this is a reminder to ourselves not to glamourise a toxic work culture, and to share our multi-dimensional lives with our students.

Jennifer and Roula

One thought on “We are academics, but we are also…

  1. Yay! I’m also looking forward to seeing more of these from the bloggers. This is really interesting and has got me thinking about how I need to work on my introduction going forth. From a real life experience, my career as an academic (which has always been my everything) was kind of “taken away” from me over the past couple of years. I’ve been officially at home for a year now, after my last postdoctoral fellowship contract ended. As a result, I’ve been struggling to find my identity outside that. Because I am no longer Dr Njisane, who is affiliated to this/that institution, I often feel like such a failure and prefer being in hiding from anything else I’ve ever been involved in. Forgetting to appreciate and embrace all these other things that make me human and worthy. Yes! I have a good academic profile so far and so much potential at it. But I’m also a great mom to my very own 4 year old monster 😂 I am a sister, a daughter, a friend. I love music and singing, writing (I was one of the very first bloggers by the way), taking walks, going for a drive on quiet roads, seeing nature, animals (except for reptiles and amphibians, sorry), great conversations, and so much more. And all this is okay.

    May more academics find and nurture who they truly are, outside of their work. It’s worth it, for your mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

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