What is the nature of your work?
Lab technician – mainly the job involves benthic and pelagic sample analysis. The job is rather stationary and due to the nature of the analysis also rather restrictive in consideration of the working environment and workplace since speciality equipment is necessary.
A career as a researcher.
I have been a student at the University of Tartu since 2002 and working in the same university since 2004. I got my BSc in biology in 2007 and finished master’s in 2009. All my work has been mainly related to different sample analysis and experiments in the lab. During my doctoral studies, I´ve done more fieldworks and attended various workshops/training aboard, but I still haven’t finished my PhD studies due to family breaks.
Please describe your family commitments.
We (my husband and myself) have three children, a dog and three cats – commitments a plenty. Our eldest daughter is studying abroad at the moment and is thus quite self-sufficient. Our smaller children are 6 and 3 years old and thus require a lot of attention. I´d rather not say how much attention the cats and dog need, but it is a LOT.
Our support system consists of 2 parents and 4 grandparents out of whom 2 live in the other side of Estonia and thus are not that reachable. All of us have fulltime jobs.
My husband is working for the same company as I, but his job involves a lot more fieldworks and thus his working schedule is rather weather dependent – from the beginning of April until the end of November he is nowhere to be found :P.
How do you balance your work and family commitments?
I really try to keep to the work hours and ideally not bring any work tasks home. But since some days the kids are sick or there are some other obstacles disrupting the workflow, then from time to time, the job comes home.
What has helped you?
Understanding colleagues and superiors are key. If it weren’t for them, it would be really hard to balance my job and my personal life.
What has hindered you?
The lack of willingness to sacrifice any family time has hindered me to broaden my horizons as a scientist. Long fieldworks or any postings abroad are out of the question as long as the kids are still young.
What have been the most difficult moments in your career considering family and work-life balance?
When the due date of an important report coincides with children’s illnesses.
What are your experience of sharing family-care: (a) in your everyday life and (b) during field works?
- I am happy that I can share family-care tasks with my husband and my mother if the occasion calls for it.
- Fieldworks take more planning and matching of calendars since all possible caretakers work themselves as well, but if necessary, everything gets done.
Is there anything else that you would like to share on this topic?
Everyone should test all possibilities to find the best match for their family.