Hey Kate, yes, I have been thinking about the point you made about those decision also being political. I am not 100% sure what you mean by that, (but I loved the comment on your blog about how all of “us” are creating these cultures of pressure on each other) but i can see how institutions exploit workaholic-ness and that our choices set standards or examples for others and become a culture that then make those choices less personal, in some ways. I.e. Robs others of the choice to “be” otherwise. I have that problem at work. I am the person who’s been at our center the longest and this work is my passion so I approach it a certain way that my boss got used to. Everyone else is “other” by default…
But i mean, back to your own situation: would you go back and do things differently, possibly making yourself unhappy while on leave, in order to not exert pressure on others? Isn’t that the same problem in reverse? Like you have to behave a certain way? Shouldn’t we maybe be arguing for “contextualization” of work practices, such that people can choose to balance their lives however they see fit at different stages of their lives? Like it is perfectly acceptable to me not to seek tenure while my child is young but i may want to shift later? Or that it’s perfectly acceptable to put one’s child in daycare a bit earlier than culturally acceptable because someone has a career opportunity they cannot miss? Academia especially can afford that flexibility because of the many roles academics play, the problem is in the inequality of pay, treatment, prestige of the different options between adjuncts and tenure.

I might be missing the point or oversimplifying it (probably), but I will think about it some more, follow the links from your blog, and it also for some reason ties in with something different on Rees’s blog. Will try to make those connections in another blogpost. Thanks for your insightful blogging and commenting, as usual.