Why I Have One of the Best Jobs in America

CNN/Money Magazine lists the 5o best jobs in America. Mine is #3. Here is why:

For starters, major scheduling freedom. “Besides teaching and office hours, I get to decide where, when, and how I get my work done,” says Daniel Beckman, a biology professor at Missouri State University. And that doesn’t even take into account ample time off for holidays and a reduced workload in the summer.

Yes, we professors have it made. But don’t forget that we had to spend the first 5-7 years out of college living as poor graduate students while earning a Ph.D. (Or, as my working class extended family calls it, a “post-hole digger!”).

2 thoughts on “Why I Have One of the Best Jobs in America

  1. Let's analyze the comments from the article:

    “Competition for tenure-track positions at four-year institutions is intense…”

    Really? It is? Ask all of the nervous job-seekers at the AHA or MLA how intense it is. It's horrendous. With postings down even further, I have no doubt that in the humanities most listings will receive 200+ applications for one position. And if you are #2 out of 200? Sorry.

    “…but you'll find lots of available positions at community colleges and professional programs, where you can enter the professoriate as an adjunct faculty member or non-tenure track instructor without a doctorate degree.”

    If you are in a CC, you will work your tail off and receive no respect from the larger field.

    If you are an adjunct, your life will be miserable AND you will not get benefits.

    “Drawbacks: Low starting pay and a big 50% salary gap between faculty at universities and community colleges.”

    Let's revise that to VERY LOW starting pay, that the compensation for the profession has not kept up with inflation, meaning those who emerge from graduate school are 5-10 years behind those who started working with a BA or JD AND they will never have the earning potential to catch up.

    “If the position is at a four-year university, you'll probably have to relocate,”

    The academy is not friendly to localist concerns. Cosmopolitanism has triumphed.

    “…and you'll be under pressure to constantly publish new work to sustain career momentum.”

    Mmhmm. Try doing that at a CC or as an adjunct. For that matter, try doing that at a teaching college with 4 or even 3 courses a semester. Do you know how much academic professional structures really value teaching? Zilch. The only way to get noticed is through publication.

    As an assistant professor, I would not recommend the position to anyone, unless you have a wealthy spouse and are entirely independent of normal human constraints.


  2. Yeah, I envy you professors! GREAT job…one that I'd like to have some day.

    My current job is on the other end of the stress spectrum. Cops rank pretty high in that department.


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