Recently, I wrote about how fertility-wise it might be a smart idea to try to have a baby while you’re a post-doc or a grad student but how career-wise it may be smarter to postpone having a baby until you have landed a tenure track position (or any other type of higher-income and securer job).
The past week I came across two interesting articles that talk more about how much a baby is worth in terms of career perspectives:
The first one is an article that asks “how many papers is a baby worth?” which is an interesting question for example for funding agencies if they want to compare publication output compared to opportunity (a euphemism for having a baby for example). I have thought about how many papers BlueEyes may have cost me and decided it’s impossible to answer. If I would have been sure I didn’t want kids or was sure that I wanted them much later I would probably have chosen a different lab to do my post-doc in. From the offers I had one lab was very high pace and published a lot higher than the laid-back lab that I decided to work in. I made that decision with the wish to have a baby in the back of my mind. So did that cost me papers? Probably.
The second article was discussed by Nicoleandmaggie and talks about how delaying having a baby leads to higher income. Nicoleandmaggie nicely discuss whether this is a true effect or whether this is caused by something else. Go there and check it out, because they can explain it way better than I can!
And thinking and talking about these kind of things always makes me realize that as much as you can try to plan having a baby, it’s never a given that it will actually work, and that it will work with the timing that you had wanted.