Last week, I had a conversation with my students. ‘I am feeling a little stress about my future, particularly, I feel that to be a scientist might be not a good choice for me’ one of freshman said with a sigh of exaggerated melancholy. She gave me a worried glance, and added: ‘As a young researcher, you are (a kind of??) successful. But you have no holidays and weekends whole the year, and disastrously, you even work every night. This is not the life I expect. ‘
She is definitely not the first person to question my working hours. In fact, both Xiaoxiao and Tingting asked me a similar question years ago and they are PhD students in my lab currently. Moreover, Nanyan also asked me the same question frequently in the last seven years. She is one of my classmates and she now is a postdoc fellow at my college.
My answer to the question is quite simple: “This is the life I most favor”. Do NOT take me wrong. I am not saying that I do not have other things important in my life. Actually, I love my family and I do always try to have more time for my kids. But, please keep the truth in mind that life is always hard, especially for adults. I have to support my family, which requires my job/career to have a bright future. It is quite clear that the outputs in the next five years will greatly affect the ‘future’ of my career.