- The huge time commitment.
This is probably my biggest qualm with academia. After a long day of lesson planning,teaching in the classroom, meeting with students, answering their emails and grading assignments, then you gotta read that article. Or go to the library and check out that book. Or outline that chapter or article. Or compile that data. I love teaching; it’s already time consuming. I don’t want to take additional time away from other things in life by doing research.
2. Lack of jobs.
Every academic knows there’s few tenure track jobs out there. There are full time jobs that are not tenure track, but those have stiff competition as well.
The tenure system has been dying a slow death for the last 30 years. Maybe even longer. Wisconsin got rid of tenure. Missouri and Iowa want to. It’s only a matter of time before other states follow suit. Tenure is a relic. Academics could benefit from reading the book Who Moved My Cheese because they have adapted to this change by doubling down on tenure instead of moving and finding greener pastures.
4. Low ROI.
You can spend your own money to attend conferences, spend your free time researching and publishing, spend time and money sending in all the documents required for only the initial application review for a job (cover letter, CV, letters of recommendation, teaching statement, research statement, diversity statement, writing sample, sample syllabi, etc.), but chance are you will see very little return on your investment. Because the hundreds of new PhD graduates are doing the same thing as well as those whose PhD isn’t so new, but still haven’t found a job. Or those who are looking to switch jobs.
I’m not knocking academia. Every industry has its unique hiring and industry practices. So the answer isn’t for everyone to leave. The answer is to read up on higher education as an industry, recognize the trends and learn the skills that will make you competitive in this job market, not the market of 10-20 years ago when your advisor was hired. Not even last year’s market.
So I could go through the process; I’d probably be competitive. The problem is, so is everyone else. I’ve seen professors go through the tenure process and none of them came out unscathed. It had profound effects on their life and health. As in now they have diagnosis and diseases they didn’t have before. So no, thank you.
I’ll teach, but not on the tenure track.