By my estimation, it took about 13,507 hours of work to get my Ph.D. Six years. September 2007 until April 2013. By Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule, that definitely makes me an expert in... getting a Ph.D.
But seriously, that's a ton of work. How did I get to this number? Since 2010, I've been keeping careful track of how much time I spend working using a program called Time Tracker. I have breakdowns for different tasks and I can export all of the data as a .csv so then I analyzed it in R. Honestly, I've been excited about doing this for months. I know, I know, sometimes I'm too nerdy for myself.
In 2010 I worked 2,373 hours. That's about 46 hours a week across all 52 weeks of the year. In 2011, I worked an insane 2,829 hours, which is about 54 hours per week. I was in the field for 6 months of 2011, including my most intense field season and my last field season, so I was hardly doing anything other than working during those times. In 2012, I returned to a much saner 2,239 hours (43 hours/week). For 2013, I only counted until the end of April. In those first four months, I worked 954 hours. That works out to an insane average of 56 hours per week. If anything, that's a bit low because the time I spent reading on my iPad before I fell asleep wasn't usually counted. That was the home stretch, and boy did it feel like running a marathon. Every day. Pregnant.
I only occasionally kept track of my working hours for the first 2.5 years of grad school, so I'm estimating that 2008 and 2009 were probably something like 2012 (not 2011 because it was my year of intense field work, and 2010 had a fair amount of field work too whereas 2008 and 2009 did not), so I used the data from 2012. For the fall of 2007, I used the data only from Sept-December 2012 as an estimate (634 hours). I started in August, but for simplicity I've excluded that month since I didn't start at the beginning and was just getting settled in.
I might not have worked quite as many hours in 2007-2009 as I did in 2012, but overall I think this is a good approximation. I taught 2007-2008 and took classes 2007-2009, and I applied for a ton of grants during that time. Keeping track of my working time for the last 3 (nearly 4!) years has helped keep me accountable and on task, and it also helps me feel justified when I'm done working, which is a graduate student conundrum that was wonderfully articulated over at GradHacker.
All these data mean I can calculate my hourly wage. I haven't yet, but it's probably going to be depressing. Stay tuned, because I'll write about that and show some pretty graphs of my work habits later this week.