A grad student acquaintance posted this to Facebook this morning. The ensuing comments all noted how hilarious it was, and how "totally true!"
I admit that I laughed at a few of them (I am startled when I meet people who don't like to read, and I have brought work to a bar a few times).
But, really? Most of it is kind of terrifying, IMHO. Look at how many of the reasons involve the normalization of working constantly. Look how many of them involve the idea that it's totally normal to never take breaks/vacations, and of how feeling guilty if you do is "an inherent feature of relaxation." Look at the one about popping ibuprofen like they're vitamins.
So you're working constantly to the point where you work twenty hours a day and are racked with guilt if you take a break to do laundry, and you've having head and body aches ...... but it's not a sign that you need to slow down and relax and get some balance in your life? Instead, it's a joking sign that "you might be a grad student?"
I call bullshit on this unhealthy lifestyle that grad students normalize and joke about. I call bullshit on the idea that it's perfectly normal (and even funny) for people to work themselves to the point of physical aches and pains, or to be unable to allow themselves time off of work without guilt.
And I seriously, seriously call bullshit on the idea that the work of grad students - writing papers to be published in obscure journals or presented to audiences of 5-10 people, and teaching mostly apathetic students - is so critically important that it justifies this kind of workload and stress and guilt. As I've said before - you're not saving someone's life. You're not being paid overtime. So take a freaking break!! (A real one - not one of those "free hours" where you do your laundry and cook some dinner and pretend that that's an actual break).
Sure, the work grad students do is work. And like any other type of work, it can eat up your life. And if you love the lifestyle of working constantly and wouldn't have it any other way? Then, great. There are people in all fields who love their work and choose to put in an inordinate number of hours doing it.
But let's not pretend that this is the way it *should be* ... especially not for people who don't feel fulfilled by it, but instead feel inordinately stressed out and guilty. And especially not for the type of work that is done by grad students.
No one's life is riding on whether you analyze that last passage of text or run ten more statistical analyses by the end of your weekend. Your career won't be made or broken by whether you get that article revision finished on Thursday at midnight or Friday morning at 10 AM. Your career and your discipline are not going to stop moving forward if you take a weekend off to visit a friend in another state.
So quit killing yourselves over work and quit feeling guilty if you take a break.
And most of all, directed to all academics? Quit joking around about this kind of thing as if it's normal or as if it's a healthy way to live!!