Sunday, December 9, 2012


Here at JLC, I've been mighty tough on routine weekend work before. I feel (and still do) that time management, equipment investment, and clear project goals go a long way towards giving you free time to play on Saturday mornings.

Well, a recent Forbes piece forced me to re-think a bit about my own weekend track record. Bruce Booth wields a mighty megaphone, arguing that equity, financial risk, and personal time investment in biotech startups drive innovation in ways that pure translational research cannot. He drops in a real gem near the middle:
"A great chemist in a drug discovery startup can personally change the trajectory of the equity of the startup with a new lead series.  Working over the weekend actually might change the outcome of a startup."
Found art:
Marshmallow Fluff Pac-Man
Intriguing. Really makes you think, too...does that apply to me? Then it hit me: every major discovery that's come my way has happened on a holiday or weekend. That initial grad school hit? Saturday morning, while boss was out. Postdoc molecule? Holiday weekend. My new intermediate? Came in to check TLCs on a Sunday. On and on we go...

I do have a possible explanation. Weekend work, though it takes away from social and family time, presents an opportunity for your brain to think in different ways. To escape the work week drudgery, break the mold, maybe read that random paper or set up that "this will never work, but hey..." experiment in the back of your hood. Maybe that's where true innovation happens.


  1. This is not an argument for weekend work, rather it is an argument for more freedom and less drudgery in the workplace. Imagine a whole working week of weekend productivity!

    I have found that I am most productive in the lab at weekends because I can hog every single rotovap and machine, and sing along to some decent music on the radio without any complaint from lab mates.