Academic Tyra

AcademicTyra responds to Forbes

I’m sure y’all heard about this piece Forbes published on January 3rd about the “least stressful jobs in America”. It begins:

University professors have a lot less stress than most of us.

image

My initial thoughts upon reading the first sentence:

image

Susan Adams writes:

Unless they teach summer school, they are off between May and September and they enjoy long breaks during the school year, including a month over Christmas and New Year’s and another chunk of time in the spring. Even when school is in session they don’t spend too many hours in the classroom. For tenure-track professors, there is some pressure to publish books and articles, but deadlines are few. Working conditions tend to be cozy and civilized and there are minimal travel demands, except perhaps a non-mandatory conference or two. As for compensation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for professors is $62,000, not a huge amount of money but enough to live on, especially in a university town. 

image

She continues:

Another boon for professors: Universities are expected to add 305,700 adjunct and tenure-track professors by 2020, according to the BLS. 

image

Then all the academics on social media responded:

image

Adjuncts were all:

image

Tenure-track faculty were like:

image

Post-docs were all:

image

Grad students were like:

image

In reading the various responses, I’m like:

image

This writer didn’t even interview any professors (or the tons of academics who aren’t tenured). #shittyresearchskillz.  To be fair (though UGH), the Forbes writer did respond to lots of profs and update her shitty-ass article, but sans apology. 

As many, many, many people rightfully noted- the article failed to take into account gender and age biases, as well as all the other crap academics get for their/our supposed “summers off”. Whatever- bitches be hatin’. This article sucks the big one. 

Still—

Yes, being a professor is certainly not the “least stressful job”. Neither is being a grad student. I post funny (and sometimes not funny) GIFs about being a grad student, but I’m also aware of my privilege.

image

Especially when I’m visiting my (working-class, immigrant) family over break and seeing how hard they work, I realize that my chosen profession is just that. A choice. And a profession, not just a job. 

image

So let’s all calm down and go back to our chosen professions. This writer was just trying to get page hits and we all caved. Plus, her job sounds WAY MORE stressful, you guys! 

ABOUT ME

Since Forbes hired me in 1995 to write a legal column, I’ve taken advantage of the great freedom the magazine grants its staff, to pursue stories about everything from books to billionaires. I’ve chased South Africa’s first black billionaire through a Cape Town shopping mall while admirers flocked around him, climbed inside the hidden chamber in the home of an antiquarian arms and armor dealer atop San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, and sipped Chateau Latour with one of Picasso’s grandsons in the Venice art museum of French tycoon François Pinault. I’ve edited the magazine’s Lifestyle section and opinion pieces by the likes of John Bogle and Gordon Bethune. As deputy leadership editor, these days I mostly write about careers and corporate social responsibility. I got my job at Forbes through a brilliant libertarian economist, Susan Lee, whom I used to put on television at MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Before that I covered law and lawyers for journalistic stickler, harsh taskmaster and the best teacher a young reporter could have had, Steven Brill.

As Gawker’s Mallory Ortberg notes

Individual stress levels may vary, of course, depending on which of Picasso’s grandsons one sips with and just how fast one has to run to keep up with that fleeing billionaire.

Next time YET ANOTHER ridiculous piece about the easy lives of academics pops up on your radar, just be all:

image