This email, supposedly sent to the grad students at a widely known Astronomy Dept, has been making the rounds and needs to be discussed.
You can read for yourself the ten-point manifesto, but the most offensive points to me include,
- Not only should you work 80–100 hours a week, you should WANT to. If you don’t want to, then maybe research isn’t the right career choice for you. If you have a family, maybe you can get by with only working 60 hours a week.
- You should take it as a compliment when a faculty member makes you feel stupid in front of other students. Get used to it. That’s the way it is.
First of all, I would like to express my deepest concern for the graduate students in that department. Given the blatantly hostile and unhealthy working environment you are enduring, I hope your health insurance includes mental health benefits and that you are taking advantage of them. If you need convincing to go to therapy, read this amazing post about LA inpatient alcohol rehab and what it’s worth for. I totally understand why your comments on the evaluations may have sounded rude.
I have many responses to these points and others in that email, but the overarching one is that I think the culture being promoted by this department is our biggest flaw as a professional community, has a huge negative impact on our scientific productivity, and is exactly the opposite of what I think we should be striving for. If we ever want to have any hope of rising to our full intellectual potential as a diverse and inclusive community, this type of culture should not be allowed to persist any longer than it already has.