Balancing Professional and Personal Life

Sarah E. Randolph*, L. Cate Brinson, Valerie A. Cornish, Linda S. Schadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter presents the various ways to balance professional and personal life. It is important to recognize increasing pressures because they can have negative effects not only on the balance between professional and personal lives, perhaps turning younger scientists away, but also on the performance as scientists. Great science depends absolutely on great ideas. These develop best in an environment of spacious calm, with time to think and periods that may appear fallow, but are in fact the wellspring of originality. Traditionally, men have made sacrifices for the sake of their careers, missing out on leisure activities and much of their family life. Now that women are valued for their intellectual contributions to science, the conflict between personal and private lives risks excluding them from science simply because many women are not prepared to make similar personal sacrifices. This chapter addresses many of the general issues about achieving balance that apply generally to men as well as women, to scientists without partner and children, as well as those with family. While it is important for the individual to do what she can to be most effective in the system (as it is now), what is most needed is a transformation of the system. The "problem" of balancing professional and personal life needs to be turned around. The emphasis must be on the "diverse work force"-not just on women-for improvements would benefit all, especially other underrepresented minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSuccess Strategies for Women in Science
PublisherElsevier Inc
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9780120884117
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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