1. Who earns more: a tenured professor or a fry cook?
I’m a tenured professor of history of science and mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin. I finished high school 25 years ago. What if instead of attending college I had worked at McDonald’s?
2. How to be realistic about the pre-tenure life.
I’ve enjoyed my seven years as junior faculty tremendously, quietly playing the game the only way I knew how to. But recently I’ve seen several of my very talented friends become miserable in this job, and many more talented friends opt out. I feel that one of the culprits is our reluctance to openly acknowledge how we find balance. Or openly confront how we create a system that admires and rewards extreme imbalance. I’ve decided that I do not want to participate in encouraging such a world. In fact, I have to openly oppose it.
3. And why am I such a pessimist about job market prospects and getting tenure? Because academia acts as a drug cartel.
Academic systems more or less everywhere rely at least to some extent on the existence of a supply of ‘outsiders’ ready to forgo wages and employment security in exchange for the prospect of uncertain security, prestige, freedom and reasonably high salaries that tenured positions entail.
Hat tips: Students of GRAD8101