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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/quotwhere-the-famous-professor-is-often-abroad-30308518.aspx

Subject:  Re: WSJ: $10K College Degree Date:  10/9/2012  10:58 AM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  867992 of 884975

"where the famous professor is often abroad presenting lectures and papers on their research."

That's tough duty. "let's see, is it Paris, or London today?"


It's not like that. My SIL is invited to speak at a variety of locales at serious conferences and research facilities, in addition to submitting papers himself to present at conferences (he rarely attends a conference at which he isn't presenting) from ugly cities and rural campuses to cool places like Sydney, somewhere in New Zealand, San Francisco, and Honolulu (where Asian, Australian/NZ and American cancer researchers meet most conveniently), Cambridge UK, Amsterdam, somewhere in Germany and Italy for European conferences. I don't think ever London or Paris. The centers of cancer research in Britain are Cambridge and I think Glasgow.

SIL has time to sight-see only if he takes vacation days. Whatever he spends on this travel comes out of his lab budget or personal budget. As a research professor (in pancreatic cancer at a major medical school/cancer research/cancer treatment center), he gets 5 weeks of vacation, including Christmas and spring breaks. And currently manages 15 people in his lab, from undergrads through post-docs, occasionally a visiting researcher from elsewhere for a short-term project, plus determining needs and buying equipment, justifying his expenses, and so forth. He's basically running a small business on an income made mostly of grants--which he has to get on his own. He spends probably 1/3 of his time working on grants, the rest divided among actually doing science (designing experiments, supervising his grad students and post-docs in designing, completing, and writing papers about their related experiments), writing papers and submitting for peer review, giving lectures, recruiting junior researchers (and hiring, managing, training, firing employees just like any other organization), staying abreast of new developments and networking in his field, and managing what is essentially a million-dollar business, including managing its budget. By himself. He works very long hours--except once or twice a week when it's his turn to pick up his toddler from nanny share at 5:45pm, he gets home once a week at 7:3-8pm on the day his parents babysit, and at 10-11pm the other 2 days. And works on the weekends, too.

Like Tom Hanks sez in League of Their Own, "If it were easy, everyone would do it."
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