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tough love from jason brennan

Jason Brennan, professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, has some tough love for academics who don’t get a lot of stuff done or burn themselves out from work. From the The Philosopher’s Cocoon blog:

I have a dirty secret: I generally work under 40 hours a week. Despite that, I made full professor at age 38, publish a bunch, and receive great merit evaluations every year. I also am actively involved with my kids, play in two gigging rock bands, cook dinner, do the laundry, take multiple vacations every year, and have, if anything, far more of a social life than I’d like to. How?

It’s simple:

  1. “An academic job will take as much time as you give it.”  Translation: You can cut back hours and it will be fine.
  2. “Your job is a job.” Translation: This isn’t your whole life. Stop working.
  3. “Set a time budget.” Translation: Budgets matter, especially this one.
  4. “Stop Working when MB = MC.” Translation: MB = marginal benefit, MC= marginal cost. You definitely need to work at your job, but too much is counter productive.
  5. “The Cult of Busy.” Translation: There is no honor or benefit from just doing lots of stuff.
  6. “Self-discipline.” Do you really need this translated?
  7. “Say no.” Ibid.
  8. “You Can’t Have a Good Work-Life Balance without a Life.” Translation: Get a family, make friends, do non-academic stuff.

It’s really hard to argue with much of Jason’s advice and I already follow much of it. I’ve seen people slave away for weeks on a book review or burn the whole weekend writing a multiple choice exam. Bad choices. Just don’t.

Satisficing is the key to life. Doing enough to do well, but don’t kill yourself. Get a life and enjoy it.

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Written by fabiorojas

September 30, 2019 at 4:51 pm

Posted in uncategorized

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