Your exercise for the day: fisk this piece mercilessly. Here are two whoppers in the space of one paragraph to get you started:
Faculty members decide what they want to teach and when they want to teach, if, indeed, they teach at all. This is particularly true regarding undergraduate instruction, which is something of an afterthought on many campuses. Faculty members typically spend fewer than 200 hours a year in the classroom. That amounts to just five 40-hour weeks.
Let’s see… in my current job, I get to decide exactly a third of what I teach (in previous jobs, it was even less, and I’ve been offered jobs where I would have had no choice whatsoever); nobody asked me when I wanted to teach; and nobody gave me the option of not teaching. I spend well over 200 hours a year in the classroom, time that doesn’t count office hours, responding to student phone calls and emails, class preparation time, research obligations, department meetings, service obligations, and attending co-curricular and extra-curricular student events. I don’t actually get paid for one quarter of the year, during which I am essentially unemployed but am expected to work on research anyway. A whole month’s salary went out the window to pay for my move to Missouri. My future employability is largely determined by whether or not three other individuals’ letters of recommendation say better things about me than other peoples’ letters. It’s really cushy.
I could easily double my salary in private industry, with the sole disadvantage of being stuck behind a desk for an arbitrary number of hours per week. Instead, for some reason I cannot fathom, I have spent the last three years competing with other people who—to a person—have a more prestigious doctorate than I do to find a job that is exactly like the one described in the previous paragraph but has slightly more job security—although not near as much as the typical corporate white collar position, at least for anyone who is at least mildly productive.
The really insane part is that I wouldn’t trade what I do now for the world.
þ: Margaret Soltan.