When chronic illness decides to get in on the party that should be your PhD, one’s relationship to time and productivity can be challenging. In this post from Tenure She Wrote, Sarcozona asks: How should the academy conceptualise productivity? Does it currently do so in ways disadvantageous not only to researchers with chronic illness and disability but to other groups too? And if the academy isn’t going to budge any time soon, what can students with disability or chronic illness do – within things as they currently are – to support being as productive as possible?
Today is the 255th day of the year and I have been sick for 110 of them. When I am well, I do work so cool, funding agencies throw money at me.* When I am sick, I am lucky if I am able to brush my teeth.** Being sick so often can be a wee bit depressing. Of course, Darwin was ill most of his life, but still managed to do some pretty important work. That’s inspiring – and comforting!
Less comforting is the overwhelming importance of “productivity” in academic science.
I love doing science and I’m good at it. But my illness takes away about 3 days every week, and I get less done than many of my peers because of it. I don’t know if my illness will improve, and I worry that I won’t be able to compete for a job.
I am afraid that because I lose some days to illness, the things I do on days that I’m well won’t matter.