Thanks to Ana for pointing out a great article -- you have great taste!
And thanks to Dave for hitting a subject we don't always talk about, internal motivation. I don't know what that is; too many introverts? Too touchy-feely for people who thrive on facts and figures? It's also a hard question, existential even.
At my current company we had a similar dialog when a VP brought up Simon Sinek's "Start with Why?" style of doing business. (I apologize for the business-speak that might make your eyes roll; it all started with a TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA
). WE were asked: why do we do what we do? What are our beliefs? Nobody had a good answer, except "to make money," which is a result, not a belief. Similarly, I don't think scientists really give a thought as to their career motivations. "It seemed interesting" is the one I hear most often -- that's not much of a path to success in my mind.
I think I side with Dave's colleagues regarding time put in: the numbers themselves are irrelevant, and are too easy to focus on over actual job performance, as Rich and DX point out. If anything, a scientist knows extremely well how much time it takes to succeed -- you have to physically be in
the lab for hours to do experiments. They know it takes a lot of time; the issue is that they are not motivated
. Reasons for this are varied.
Finally, I want to once again suggest that the "career treadmill" in academic science discourages career development. It's a well-worn path between graduate school, post doc, tenure-track professor, full professor. If you live in a system like this long enough, I think it starts to seem like the only way to succeed, and makes it mentally much harder to "own" one's career.
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder