Please don’t be insulted.
When I say that yours is a 9 to 5 job, it is not to say that you really work 9 to 5 every day. It is to say that you don’t work 7am until 10pm.
When I say that you don’t work weekends, it is not to say that you never work weekends. It is to say that you don’t work every second weekend, at someone else’s behest.
When I say that your job is flexible, it is not to say that it is part time, or light weight. It is to say that you can have a day off, and not have to worry about a colleague being sued because she is covering your patients and is unable to cope. It is to say that you can choose to leave early if you have a special event, and not have to stay far beyond your rostered hours to save your patient when you don’t trust the cover resident.
When I say that your job is low in stress, it is not to say that you don’t have the same issues as everyone else. I know you have trouble finding employment, and tenure, and your job can be dissolve by a failed grant application. But stress can be about more than job security. When you have three patients coding, and your pager is beeping, you realise that the failure of an experiment is just wasted time, not stress. When you are visited by the ghosts of your failures in the middle of the night, then you can tell me about your stress.
Please don’t be insulted. I value your research and your contribution to the health of many. But I will continue to advise my medical colleagues to consider full time research to experience a more flexible lifestyle. You will never convince me.