A Professor’s Confession: the Pros, Cons, and Complications of the Job
There are times of rewarding moments, but also times of s*t hitting the fan, like a student from hell — or a student too attractive
What is it like to be a professor? Is it worth it? What are the challenges?
Well, to be honest, there were times I was so pissed I seriously considered leaving academia for good. But after weighing the pros and cons, I stayed.
If you ask me, this job is very unique. Not a lot of other jobs can provide the same level of flexibility and job security. But not a lot of jobs require so much investment either — years of education for a terminal degree in most cases, then another 5 to 6 years of nail-biting wait for tenureship.
Further, none of the other jobs require you to teach so many adults with so many differences. And this can be a source of headaches and problems.
Let me quickly show you the pros, cons, and complications of being a professor.
This job-search website, this career guide website, this professor in a business school, and this professor in a social science field all list a big pro for being a professor: it’s either called freedom, flexibility, or independence. You’re free to conduct research topics of your interest, you’re not stuck in a chair 9 to 5 every weekday, you enjoy a break of 2 to 3 months every year.
If you like doing research to find new knowledge, if you can’t sit still in a gloomy office, if you like winter/summer breaks to do whatever the f* you want, this is a job for you!
When you get your tenure, you know you’re pretty much set for life. Unless you kill or sleep with a student, or do something problematic to the same level, your position is safe and no one can fire you.
This probably depends on whether you do research or not. I’m in a teaching-focus school, but I still either conduct research or mentor students’ research projects. We’ll apply to present the results at different conferences every year, and…