Is there any special merit in being productive? Is it important to write many papers (as opposed to good ones)? Let's assume you somewhow manage to write twice as many papers as the average postdoc in some time period - what does that make you? Cheap. The people funding you get twice as much bang for their buck. But it does not make you a genius.
Of course, research excellence is often coupled to productivity and that is why there is a rationale for looking at the length of publication lists etc. But putting in long unpaid hours just to write one or two extra (mediocre) papers is not particularly beneficial. There are by far enough papers produced all the time and there are enough PhDs seeking jobs. So why should one do the work and write all the papers?
Anyway, that is what I tell myself when I start getting stressed out about not working enough. There are in fact two points: First, overworking may in fact lower your productivity. Number crunching all day won't help you if you don't sit back, relax and think about what it all means. Second, what if a successful academic career really requires you to work all day and stress out about things you think are useless? Then, it's time to change to industry and at least get paid appropriately.
The Time of a Postdoc - How long should someone stay as a postdoc anywhere?
1 day ago