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Forbes 2013 Career List Flamed By University Professors

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the if-you-think-it's-easy-then-do-it-yourself dept.

Education 370

An anonymous reader writes "The Forbes list of 'least stressful jobs' for 2013 is headlined by... university professors. This comes at a time in which the academic community has been featured on controversies about 100-hour week work journeys, doctors live on food stamps, tenured staff is laid off large science institutions, and the National Science Foundation suffers severe budget cuts, besides the well known (and sometimes publicized) politics of publish or perish. The Forbes reporter has received abundant feedback and published a shy, foot-note 'addendum'; however, the cited source, CareerCast (which does not map to any recognizable career journalist, but rather to a Sports writer), does not seem to have had the same luck. The comments of the Forbes reporter on the existence of a Summer break for graduates ('I am curious whether professors work that hard over the summer') are particularly noteworthy." Here is the CareerCast report the article is based on, and a list of the "stress factors" they considered. The author of the Forbes article passed on a very detailed explanation of how tough a university professor's job can be.

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they seem to go crazy (2, Interesting)

rjr162 (69736) | about 2 years ago | (#42489419)

My wife works at a rehabilitation/nursing home and there are so many college professors in there that have gone Looney. Some think they are aliens and others have gone Looney in other ways

Re:they seem to go crazy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489513)

Ahh, I understand your confusion there, your wife accidentally stumbled into the Philosophy department. It's a completely understandable mistake to make, the average university philosophy department is filled with senile, tenured professors and hipsters who spent more on their iPads then they did on toothpaste that semester. If you tried to talk to any one of them you'd be hard pressed to believe you _weren't_ in a retirement home.

Easy test to keep her from getting mixed up again; if she walks into the building and is immediately hit with the stench of patchouli, body-odour and hashish, she's probably wandered into the local college again. If on the other hand it's just the usual potpourri of soiled beds, Old Spice and death, then she's going to have a wonderful day at work!

Re:they seem to go crazy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489583)

hipsters who spent more on their iPads then they did on toothpaste that semester.

What the hell? You spend $600 on toothpaste per semester? As in $100 of toothpaste per month? And you find it strange other people don't?

Re:they seem to go crazy (5, Funny)

immaterial (1520413) | about 2 years ago | (#42489695)

One month's worth of toothpaste: $100
One month's worth of toothbrushes: $175
One month's water bill: $315
A smile bright enough to woo a female into a slashdotter's basement: Priceless

Re:they seem to go crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489651)

Very entertaining jest. And, while all stereotypes are based on some truth, yours is not.

In most colleges, you might find one or two ungroomed hippies in the philosophy 101 class, but that is where they stop. The higher level philosophy courses require far too much in terms of writing and analytical ability for most people to make it.

The popularized "out-there ideas that don't really make sense" side of philosophy tends to be more famous than the rigorous analysis side of the discipline, leaving the uneducated with a very incorrect understanding of what philosophy is all about.

Re:they seem to go crazy (3, Funny)

ark1 (873448) | about 2 years ago | (#42489565)

My wife works at a rehabilitation/nursing home and there are so many college professors in there that have gone Looney. Some think they are aliens and others have gone Looney in other ways

As the saying goes, there is a fine line between the genius and insanity.

Grad students? (2)

tanujt (1909206) | about 2 years ago | (#42489445)

Hey, what about us drones, man?

Re:Grad students? (5, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | about 2 years ago | (#42489611)

Hey, what about us drones, man?

Don't worry, you are Forbes' target audience: the under $50K/year crowd that needs to be taught how capitalism is good for you in the long run.

As always, they'll run an article next year about how you are on a great track and maybe one day will be earning $120K/year. So please don't join Occupy Wall Street, just concentrate on not getting drunk at your next Christmas party or something.

Re:Grad students? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42489653)

So please don't join Occupy Wall Street,

Because OWS is going to change anything?

Re:Grad students? (2)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about 2 years ago | (#42489733)

In my opinion, they definitely shifted the politics of the country more to the left.

Re:Grad students? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42489753)

In what way? That sounds interesting.

Re:Grad students? (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about 2 years ago | (#42489907)

IMO By just being in the news so much, their ideas get absorbed over and over again in the public consciousness. The same principle as used in advertising. Repeating an idea over and over again is nebulous force, difficult to fight against with a logical argument, but definitely present and can be extremely powerful. Especially the way they did it, showing mobs of people all in agreement of *something*, which provokes the "me too" instinct. Even if that *something* is not logically consistent, or even completely definable, it still puts beliefs into peoples minds, or makes certain ideas appear more socially and therefore readily acceptable.

Just ask why beer and soda companies advertise so much, even though 99% general public would still understand what their product is and what it does if they did so far less.

Re:Grad students? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489963)

OWS really got two phrases into popular vernacular: "the one percent" and "income inequality." Believe it or deny it, at least the discussion crops up. It's not a big shift to the left, just a few more people thinking about the consequences of sequestering all of the country's wealth in a tiny slice of the population.

Re:Grad students? (5, Insightful)

Gorobei (127755) | about 2 years ago | (#42489861)

So please don't join Occupy Wall Street,

Because OWS is going to change anything?

I doubt they'll change anything. But Forbes seems to prefer you don't think about changing anything beyond having a better relationship with your boss.

Choice (-1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42489455)

The thing is, in the academic career your life may be as stressful as you choose it to be. Those that live a stressful life are those that choose to do it this way. That is a lot more freedom of choice than you have in about any other career.

In this sense the article is very accurate. If you are looking for a low stress profession you may as well choose the academic career and opt to avoid any stress within it. Chances are you will succeed, which cannot be said about mostly everything else you decide to work at.

Re:Choice (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489599)

Bullshit.

Suppose you choose not to make your academic career stressful. Here's what happens: if you're a grad student, you won't graduate and will have wasted your twenties. If you graduate, you can relax and take a cush job at a cash-strapped community college where you will earn peanuts and always be on contract. But say you keep working: if you've busted your ass as a grad student (say published a few papers a year in top venues), you can compete to be in top 5% that manage to get tenure track jobs. If you relax after getting the tenure track job, you can rest assured you'll be looking for work once your tenure is denied after a little more than half a decade (this means you're fired). Suppose you kept on working and now have the tenure track job-- that's great, except universities are cutting tenure positions so you better hope your department isn't on the chopping block. Oh, and you still have to write grants or you won't get funding. So after fifteen to twenty years of running yourself into the ground and relying mostly on luck, the job becomes as stressful as a NORMAL job. Oh yeah, I forgot to include working as a post-doc while waiting for a tenure track position; it's becoming much more common to pursue several post-docs.

In conclusion, you are an unrepentant moron who is ultimately detached from reality.

Re:Choice (-1, Troll)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42489623)

Nope. I just know what I am talking about. It is natural to try to sell what you do as hard work, but it simply isn't compared with us who live from deadlines. The academic career is by far the easiest way to earn money doing very little, and using the work of others. The only problem is to enter in it, which requires a considerable amount of time and politics.

Re:Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489699)

OK, but "fred prado" turns up nothing under google scholar. It's pretty clear that you do not know what you're talking about, but like to pretend that you do.

Re:Choice (0)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42489715)

Neither does Anonymous Coward. ;)

Re:Choice (4, Insightful)

Xner (96363) | about 2 years ago | (#42489701)

I note that you have offered no rebuttals of the parent's points save "I know what I am talking about". I'm not sure you do. Would you please expand on how and why you think the parent is wrong? Note that if by "getting into an academic career" you mean "getting tenure", the I suggest you re-read the parent post carefully.

Re:Choice (1, Troll)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42489741)

There is no rebuttal to offer save saying he lies, as everything he is saying is overblown. He exaggerates basically about every difficulty he lists. Furthermore nothing he says disagrees with my statement that you can relax and keep your job if you don't care too much about career.

Re:Choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489781)

Yeah, working for two years straight with no weekends or vacations is an exaggeration. Sub-10% acceptance rates are an absurd liberal myth. Underfunded labs don't exist. There is no competition nor backstabbing. Living on a diet of rice, caffeine pills, and vitamin supplements surely must be impossible. Plus, my academically minted anxiety disorder is made up too! Get fucked, Fred.

Re:Choice (1, Informative)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42489815)

And as I said, if you are competitive and decides to be a career academic you will indeed have a stressful life, but then again it is your choice. You can still live relatively well with no stress if you do not, though.

Re:Choice (2)

savi (142689) | about 2 years ago | (#42489797)

We don't have deadlines? Hahahahahahaha. Oh my.

Re:Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489799)

Having worked both industry and academic jobs, I don't think there is much difference in many engineering fields. You can get a crappy pay for not doing much in academic and some job security if you are lucky with there being no incoming cuts or limits. You can also get by if you are lucky with little to no work in some industry positions by letting other people cover for your faults and lack of work. I've seen people pull off both, but also know that doesn't work for most and is hell of a gamble to take if one is going go through the effort needed to get some of those positions (although with some connections, cushy industry jobs can be had with a lot less effort).

"I just know what I am talking about." Having seen both sides of the fence first hand, I don't find that very convincing.

No deadlines? (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#42489985)

You're crazy if you think the job has no deadlines. There are many hard and fast days where stuff begins and ends - semester start, midterm, and semester end, to begin with - as well as deadlines for any paper submissions for publication. At the end of the semester, grades are due at a specific date and time, and if you haven't turned them in by that deadline which is set by the institute, you're in serious trouble.

Re:Choice (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#42490033)

Do you think you can submit a publication to a once a year conference any time you want? Government grants also have specific timetables both for when you can ask for funding and for how long you have to conduct your research. It's common for people in research to pull all-nighters working on finishing this stuff.

Re:Choice (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#42489875)

In conclusion, you are an unrepentant moron who is ultimately detached from reality.

Then you get a job on Wall Street or run for a House seat in Congress.

Re:Choice (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#42489891)

Suppose you kept on working and now have the tenure track job-- that's great, except universities are cutting tenure positions so you better hope your department isn't on the chopping block.

Please provide examples of a university cutting the position of an existing tenured faculty member for financial reasons (without cause, in other words).

What they generally do is not allow OPEN/VACATED faculty lines to be filled - but that's not remotely the same thing.

Re:Choice (4, Informative)

savi (142689) | about 2 years ago | (#42489639)

Ridiculous. Around 70% of all college courses are now taught by contingent faculty. These faculty have no offices, no long term contracts, and no support. The average pay for these courses is $2k to $2.5k. Speaking from a humanities viewpoint, a majority of the phds we produce will never land a job as a professor. In my particular discipline, it is common for there to be 6-10 jobs per year in any given subfield with 100-300 applicants per job. "Chances are you will succeed" is not the phrase that should describe the situation. Chances are very grim indeed. I advise all of my undergraduates not to go into academia and I give dire warnings to those that do.

Once an academic has a job, they can then expect to work 60-80 hours per week for the first five to six years. This will decrease over their career if they get tenure and take their foot of the gas, but with budget cuts and cut-throat competition for funding, that's not a wise idea. Quite simply, you have no idea what an academic job entails.

Re:Choice (0)

cirby (2599) | about 2 years ago | (#42489863)

"Once an academic has a job, they can then expect to work 60-80 hours per week for the first five to six years."

Sorry, but no.

You do realize that you're claiming that a new college teacher would be working 12 hour days, five days a week, at minimum? Up to almost seven days a week at the high end?

I spent a lot of time in college (attending and working), and the sight of a teacher - of any sort - working on campus during nights and weekends was rare indeed. Unless they were "counseling" a coed to improve her grades...

Re:Choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489899)

That's because most academics bring their work home with them so they can work until they fall asleep and then immediately begin again once they wake up.

Re:Choice (4, Informative)

savi (142689) | about 2 years ago | (#42489945)

That sounds right. I work at least 5 hours every Saturday and Sunday. I get to my job between 8-9 each day and leave around 5. I then do about 3-4 hours of work at home each evening, except Fridays.

Re:Choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489641)

Chances are you will succeed, which cannot be said about mostly everything else you decide to work at.

Depends on your definition of succeed. You can choose to do nothing more than the minimum required teaching once you get tenure. I've seen a few professors go down this path over the years at the various places I've worked. They end up making very little money as they get no raises without contributing to the department in some way, get the crappiest teaching assignments, and get ignored in other ways if perceived as being lazy. It didn't take long for several of them to end up with salaries below that of newly hired, non-tenured professors as everyone else's salaries & inflation progressed. In one case, there was one making less than a full time, temporary hire instructor, which is a position that occasionally gets filled by graduate students if in extreme shortages of instructors. It would be probably stress-free, but when the place is trying to get rid of you, would require the stuborn resolve of George Costanza.

The stress comes from those trying to get things done, and to get research done, which also contributes quite a bit to their salary. Or from being non-tenure, which at some places can take a long time to get past, especially when funding is tight.

Re:Choice (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42489665)

If you are looking for a low stress profession you may as well choose the academic career and opt to avoid any stress within it. Chances are you will succeed

No, chances are that you'll fail, because you will never get tenure if you take a low-stress, laid-back approach to the job, unless you're at a community college perhaps. The academic career is completely organized around deadlines and management: the NSF grant application deadlines, conference paper deadlines, hiring grad students and postdocs, etc. In CS at least, if you don't bring in substantial funding, crank out many publications, and support a large-ish lab of students and postdocs (who you have to pay for!), you won't get tenure, and therefore won't have a job very long.

Re:Choice (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#42489777)

It's forbes. Of course they would not choose the actually least stressful job, the executive. In this job if you bankrupt the company, you get a bonus. If your decisions kill people, you get to go free.

Here are the actually stresses in a job. Will I be working tomorrow. If I don't work tomorrow, am I getting paid enough so I can save money, or will I get a severance of unemployment sufficient to get to me to the next job. Before the wingnuts go off on me, I am not saying that anyone deserves these things, only that these things do lower stress.

One way to get a lower stress job is to get the education and training so that one can get a job that has less competition. Fo instance, we expect teachers to have college degres and most of the time no felonies, and an ability to not kill the children who have nothing better to do than to attack teachers. This is a very large pool of people, but not as large as say an office manager. An office manager is a very important job with it's own set of requirements that limits the pool, but an office manager will likely start at less of a salary than a teacher, and will be more likely to less job security.

This is why we have all these people getting MBAs, so they can enter what is a much smaller pool of people who can be executives. What is interesting is that all these people are buying MBA, but hardly anyone goes into a wekkend doctoral program. I do not see many people who want to be a professor because the money is good and the work is easy. I mean I know many managers who have an house and an expensive car and get home before 5pm. Professors OTOH may be teaching classes at 7. I am in a univeristy class where the professor teaches from 7 to 8.

It is true that a professors schedule can be flexible, and they can make it harder or easier. What I don't agree with is that as a group, those with masters or higher do not often have the same flexibility. I don't have the flexibility to take just any day off to get errands run, but many managers I know do.

As I said, this is Forbes, and anyone who is not pushing papers is going to have an easy job. I am sure they would say that wprking at a car wash is easy, simply because they have no conception fo what real work is. That is producng a real product that will drive profit, not just taking a percentage off a trade, or leveraging the arbitrage.

Re:Choice (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#42489831)

Assistant professor is a very busy, very stressful position. Once you reach Associate, though, you've got a guaranteed paycheck for the rest of your life. "Stress" regarding how you're remembered and whether your latest venture will be successful and bring you wealth is NOT equivalent to what people in the real world are feeling - will I have a job next year, how am I going to pay for rent and food after this month's medical bills, etc.

Good grief, at our university faculty were angry that their annual salary increase for 2012 was too small! Meanwhile, staff haven't gotten a raise in seven years and there are 20% fewer of us...

the least stressful career (per dollar) is (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489463)

Judge on the state bench. They get fat salaries (usually well over $100K), pensions, the usual perks of state employees (vacation and sick day carryovers etc), and many have lifetime tenure on top of that.

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489627)

Funny how what was once normal for all American workers - paid time off - now only largely remains in public sector jobs, but instead of the public asking why their paid time off was taken away or how they can get it back, the public is asking how they can take it away from the last remaining jobs that still have it.

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489683)

Dear God, my neighbor has a cow. I have none.

Please kill my neighbor's cow.

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (0)

sideslash (1865434) | about 2 years ago | (#42490029)

Dear God, my neighbor has a cow. I have none.

Please kill my neighbor's cow.

FTFY: Dear God, my neighbor has a cow. I have none. Please help me to find a way to stop personally paying the bills to feed my neighbor's cow.

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (0)

sideslash (1865434) | about 2 years ago | (#42490015)

You know, if we just passed a law that said that every job has to have a decent minimum wage, a bunch of paid time off, and a generous pension, the world would be a happier place. /dripping-with-sarcasm

The reality is TANSTAAFL, the private sector is hurting, and the public sector needs to tighten its belt accordingly.

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (4, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#42489747)

Judge on the state bench. They get fat salaries (usually well over $100K), pensions, the usual perks of state employees (vacation and sick day carryovers etc), and many have lifetime tenure on top of that.

Except that once in a while someone is screaming that they want to kill you.

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42489869)

Except that once in a while someone is screaming that they want to kill you.

That seems to be a perc of pretty much any job in the US at least.

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#42489967)

I think you can take any job where you have to deal with the public and toss it into the "stressful" heap. I worked at a refreshment stand one summer and hated people by the end of it. But I think a job where you sentence people with fines or jail time will get more than it's share of stress.

Maybe engineers should be in the non-stress category. What's the Douglas Adams quote? "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

Re:the least stressful career (per dollar) is (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42489857)

but some Judges can be voted out.

As a college professor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489465)

I'd say its pretty accurate. We follow a planned path for classes, and don't have to take crap from students and parents. When you're tenured, then you're really on easy street.

As for examples of it being hard for some, well, there are always examples of that for any job. The reality is that it's not stressful at all.

Re:As a college professor... (0)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 2 years ago | (#42489479)

I'd think that talking about stuff you already know about would be.... a pretty easy way to make good money.

I don't say that to minimize all the work that it took to get to that position though. Unless we are talking about sociology.

Re:As a college professor... (1)

savi (142689) | about 2 years ago | (#42489729)

There's a difference between knowing about a topic and delivering 30-45 detailed lectures on it, tailoring it to the learning needs of students, etc. It IS easy to be a bad professor, but it's easy being bad at anything. "Programming is easy. You just learn a few programming languages and then it's all just retyping stuff you already know. Pretty easy way to make good money."

Further, "good money" is a questionable statement. Putting aside the 70% of faculty who are contingent (making $2k-$3k per course), you'll find that most faculty are making in the $40s-$50s. Doesn't sound so bad for a starting job, but then you have to remember that they've been earning nothing for most of their 20s. Keep in mind, they're also working most evenings and weekends (endless grading for some fields), not to mention required service on university committees, being a reviewer for journals, etc.

I love being a professor, but it is not easy money and it's usually extremely stressful until your 40s (at which point it begins to be more like a "normal" job). So yes, a lazy, tenured professor at the "peak" of his or her career may have it really good. But that's not representative of the field and, even then, it usually requires immense sacrifice and stress to get to that point. One might as well say that CEO of start-ups have jobs that aren't stressful because "they're rich and get to order employees around and set their own schedule." Sure ... but that doesn't describe most CEOs and it doesn't give any sense of what it takes to get to the "easy" stage.

Experiece: Lecturer Point of View. (1)

Faisal Rehman (2424374) | about 2 years ago | (#42489473)

If you want to be relevant, do something really good for your society, justifying your course, working on it the level it deserves, keeping your senior professors happy, doing projects and research then this is full time 24/7 stressful job.

Bullshit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489481)

This is total bullshit. If university professor is the least stressful job, the rest of the country must be raging mad. Apparently they didn't talk to any of the university professors i know. Particularly in the biomedical sciences with funding shrinking and pay and job security linked to extramural funding this i extremely stressful time to be a university professor.

Re:Bullshit. (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42489525)

So according to you......being a professor is more stressful than any other job because pay is going down and they are worried about losing their job? Really?

Re:Bullshit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489587)

No, it is most stressful because you typically work 12-15 hour days, including weekends and holidays and this apparently is not enough to earn your salary.

Re:Bullshit. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42489691)

it is most stressful because you typically work 12-15 hour days, including weekends and holidays

This doesn't match any professor I've ever met.

Re:Bullshit. (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42489591)

Nope. I mean exactly the opposite. It can be less stressful than any other job, because if you do not worry too much about career you need to do very little and will have almost no pressure over you. You just have to go there and give the same class forever and grade your students once in a while.

If you want to overwork yourself, take lots of research projects with deadlines, and go intop university politics it can become a very stressful career, though. It is a matter of choice. A choice you often do not have in most professions.

Re:Bullshit. (1)

savi (142689) | about 2 years ago | (#42489759)

Good luck getting a decent job in academia with that attitude. If you want to qualify "being a professor" as "being a lazy professor with a low salary at a crappy school that doesn't care about teaching or research," then sure, it's easy. But couldn't that be said for any career? "Being a lazy programmer at some low level company that doesn't realize how shitty you is really not stressful at all. Therefore, being a Programmer is one of the least stressful jobs possible."

Re:Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489833)

You just have to go there and give the same class forever and grade your students once in a while.

Must not have seen the departments I've been around. Those that couldn't teach and didn't try to fix problems got quite a bit of pressure. The department found ways to make their work either hell or to force them into retirement.

These guys should try working in a video store (1)

RiotXIX (230569) | about 2 years ago | (#42489487)

Randal Graves: Some guy just came in refusing to pay late fees. Said the video store was closed for two hours yesterday. So, I tore up his membership.
Dante Hicks: Shocking abuse of authority.
Randal Graves: Hey, I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class. Especially since I rule.
--Clerks

how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489497)

How do they find the time to sleep with the grad students that need the extra credit?

I don't understand this world (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489519)

In the 19th century we managed to get the workweek from 100 hours to about 50 hours thanks to the industrial revolution and energy sources like coal and oil. Now I keep hearing about how "productive" everyone is and how advanced our technology, and yet people work longer hours than ever and households now require both parents to work just to get the same level as single income families in the 1960s.

So, if we are so productive, what are we producing and for who?

If our technology is so advanced, why do we need to work so much?

What happened to the leisure society concept?

Re:I don't understand this world (0)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 2 years ago | (#42489689)

housing will be always expensive, because its price is relative to productivity (bid up war of interested parties because you have only so many good locations)
gizmos - you can afford much more today than back then, don't delude yourself. Appliances are dirt cheap and every ghetto nigga can fancy himself the latest iphone with no problem.
Also people didn't have the govt eating a healthy chunk of your income with various taxes: federal income tax, state income tax, payroll tax, sales tax, property tax, ... so the bureaucrats can make life of brown people half the world away a blast and otherwise justify their existence full of shuffling paper nobody needs.
Oppressed masses in feudal middle ages didn't have to pay as much as people today.

Re:I don't understand this world (1, Insightful)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#42489787)

In the 19th century, surprisingly few people had iPads, flat screen TVs, two cars, and, heck, indoor plumbing.

They could also look forward to yellow fever, polio, dying before the age of 50, no warning on hurricanes, and nobody caring about your civil rights if you were female, colored or non-Christian.

Other than that, it was heaven.

Re:I don't understand this world (-1, Troll)

Flentil (765056) | about 2 years ago | (#42489903)

You might have been modded insightful if you hadn't posted anonymously. Either way, some people must hate what you said since you're modded down to zero.

Re:I don't understand this world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42490025)

Right now I'm at 2 insightful. I don't understand the reply about iPads either. What does a computer designed by maybe a thousand people worldwide and built in almost fully automated factories have to do with the fact that everyone has to work more?

Can't be true for all institutions, can it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489529)

I'll grant that life is incredibly stressful for tenure track professors scrabbling for grants and publications at the big name / big bucks research institutions. However, at smaller, more teaching oriented institutions or community colleges, surely life is more relaxed?

Comes down to metrics used (4, Interesting)

ark1 (873448) | about 2 years ago | (#42489533)

I appreciate all of the comments and encourage you to read them. My intention here was to relay an intriguing list put together by a career and job listing site, CareerCast, that surveyed data on 200 jobs and drew up a list of professions it deemed least stressful, according to metrics I describe above, which are weighted toward categories like physical demands, environmental conditions and risking one’s life. CareerCast didn’t measure things like hours worked and the stresses that come from trying to get papers published in a competitive environment or writing grants to fund research. Does not look like any reputable source was used to elaborate this study. No wonder it turned out botched.

Re:Comes down to metrics used (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489637)

I'm not so sure the study was "botched." I think you just have a lot of butt-hurt professors that are lashing out.

Re:Comes down to metrics used (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489971)

You know that light at the end of the tunnel? yeah, the rest of us get screwed in similar ways but there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
The real world is harsher that any university bullshit.

Since when.. (2)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 2 years ago | (#42489543)

..is "drill press operator" a job all its own? I haven't been to a single machine shop or factory where they have one person who's only job is to run the bloody drill press. If there was such a person he would be forever in the way of everyone else who had work to do.

Re:Since when.. (2)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about 2 years ago | (#42489595)


Production environment, with people using drill presses to pop holes in using pre-built drill jigs and possibly fixturing to hold down the work depending on the size and other factors.

It has died down in recent years due to lower volumes being produced in North America, combined with CNC machines making drilling part of the same process instead of a additional step, but some higher volume items are still done this way in this part of the world.

Re:Since when.. (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42489631)

I believe these people operate drill presses in an assembly line. Do a search online for 'drill press operator' and you can find job openings.

Re:Since when.. (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#42489911)

..is "drill press operator" a job all its own?

It's code for male porn star.

Professors (-1, Troll)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42489557)

Professors often are the type of people who stayed in college because they were afraid of going and getting a job in industry (and lets be honest, finding a job in industry is hard if you have no experience, so I don't blame them).

After I graduated, I worked for a while as a student teacher at the university. When I'd been doing it for a while, a professor came up to me and said, "Isn't this great? It's such a nice job and you get 4 months of the year for vacation!"

So yeah, there are definitely professors who are there because of the low stress, and they think their job is most stressful because they have nothing to compare it with.

Re:Professors (3, Insightful)

savi (142689) | about 2 years ago | (#42489785)

Speaking as a professor in the humanities, you have no idea how awful the job market is. In my discipline (history), you can expect 6-10 decent jobs per year to come open in each subfield. There will be 100-350 applicants for each of these. Getting to the point where life as a professor is "easy" requires either very low standards (you don't care how much you're paid) or going through a few decades of grueling, underpaid, 60+ hour work weeks. It's a great job, but anyone who declares that, as a profession, being a professor is "easy" and not stressful has zero understanding of academia.

Re:Professors (1, Interesting)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 2 years ago | (#42489791)

Mod parent up - professors complaining that their jobs are more stressful than others are doing so without any rational basis for comparison if their academic career didn't have any gaps while they did other jobs.

Re:Professors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42490045)

Doesn't the same criticism apply to phantomfive's comment? He never worked as an academic (no, a "student teacher at the university" doesn't even come close to being similar), so how can he possibly have any rational basis for comparison?

Stockholm Syndrome (1)

bdemchak (1099961) | about 2 years ago | (#42489571)

OK ... so how does somewhat get to be a professor?? By being a grad student first ... meaning slave-heading-for-Stockholm-syndrome. There is *no way* that Forbes is right on this. I wouldn't want that job ... these are very hard working, dedicated people!

Profs these days don't know how good they have it (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#42489573)

When I was a prof, we taught in a cardboard box by the side of the road . . .

Re:Profs these days don't know how good they have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489711)

You had a BOX!?!? Luxury...

Re:Profs these days don't know how good they have (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 2 years ago | (#42489763)

you had capitals and punctuation luxury

Re:Profs these days don't know how good they have (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42489915)

ALL WE HAD WERE TELETYPES AND PAPER TAPE

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

If this were to be done in a meaningful way... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#42489575)

This article is nothing but storytelling, which is effective in stirring the pot but not informative. An actual study on career stress would be so much more interesting. Even following a simple protocol, such as randomly querying a large selection of people throughout the day, could generate interesting data. Or you could randomly take saliva swabs and measure cortisol concentration. Or you could continuously measure heart rate, and sample blood pressure.

It just bothers me to see people spinning up myths and expending so much energy in debate that is so fact-free.

Tonight at eleven! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489589)

Jock uses BS study to say playing sports is stressful, nerds are butt-hurt! Also, turns out some reporters are terrible at their jobs!

Doctor living on food stamps (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42489607)

The complaints in the summary are somewhat sensationalistic.

The story in the link of the "Doctor living on food stamps" is about a Ph.D. in medieval history who is an adjunct professor at a community college teaching only two courses.

This isn't exactly a normal professorship, she's not even working full time.

The other story about '100 hour work weeks' isn't talking about professors at all, it's talking about grad students. If you want me to feel sorry for the stresses of being a grad student, yeah I do, but once they become professors it's not the same.......

Re:Doctor living on food stamps (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42489923)

What are you going on about pointing out issues in TFA? You're not going to get anywhere arguing about points in it.

As an academic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489615)

Academia is hard. Those who coast through grad school usually don't finish. You have to love it to do it, it's the only way you can survive it (and I did a few years in the real world after college--- that I could not survive).

On the job market there is a lot of supply and not much in the way of jobs. Want a job? You better have a publication or two and be willing to move to literally anywhere. In the rare event a coaster does get a job, they usually won't get tenure, and have to start all over again.

Sure, there are some senior faculty who have tenure who coast- deadwood we call them. Those are the exception and not the norm.

As for large break periods- over Christmas break I've been in the office every day- for up to 10 hours. Publications are much easier when you have no students milling about. 50-60 hour weeks are my norm.

Funny.... (0)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | about 2 years ago | (#42489621)

Only people claiming to be professors had the time to actually flame Forbes and say their jobs were stressful.....

There are 2 ways to actually interpret this, you all know. Considering my wife's profession is on the list, and I know how busy she actually is, and the stresses she has, I find it funny that only #1 on the list has enough time to solicit thousands of comments, prompting an addendum to the article.

Forbes - a joke magazine. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489657)

They have this air about them like a respected news source... But they're Tiger Beat.

fundamental misunderstanding of what academics do (5, Insightful)

jfruh (300774) | about 2 years ago | (#42489677)

The problem is that many non-academics believe that the primary job of college professors is teaching undergraduates, and so they see any time not in the classroom as "time off" (never mind that the ratio of classroom prep time to classroom time can approach 1:1 if you really care about doing it right). In some institutions this is much of what college professors do, but in most schools that have any pretentions of being a research institution, academics are expected to produce publishable scholarship. Scientists and engineers spend much if not most of their time in the lab; humanities profs tend to work less collaboratively, but still spend a lot of hours reading, researching, and writing in whatever their field is. Most schools will give lip service to the idea that working with students is the most important thing, but in reality most of the incentives are geared towards producing quantifiable amounts of research (so many books, so many published articles, etc.). Far from having semester breaks "off," professors often use this time to focus more intently on their research, and sabbatical years are generally used to polish off major works of scholarship. On the surface, it can seem like this is work you're doing for you rather than for your job -- after all, it's your name on the book, and you take your reputation with you if you jump to another school -- but this work is one of the university's primary missions, and it's what they're paying you to do, as it reflects back on htem.

It's also worth nothing that in those schools where teaching undergrads really is the primary mission, professors spend much more time in the classroom than the stereotype discussed in the Forbest article (i.e., 3 or 4 classes a semester as opposed to the two typical of a research institution).

Finally, there's an awful lot of diversity within academia as to what professorial workload is like. In particular, more and more academics are being hired on interm or adjunct bases and end up spending a lot more time in the classroom for a lot less money than what tenured and tenure-track profs get. The irony is that the way to get onto the tenure track is to publish impressive research, but the lower-level jobs often don't allow you the time to do it.

Re:fundamental misunderstanding of what academics (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489755)

This exactly. I am frankly not surprised that a Forbes article is being promoted as "authoritative" on slashdot, a site that leans libertarian and as such is *heavily* anti-intellectual.

Re:fundamental misunderstanding of what academics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489919)

never mind that the ratio of classroom prep time to classroom time can approach 1:1 if you really care about doing it right

That's optimistic. If you're teaching a grad student course on a new subject, it easily takes 10 h to prepare a single lecture hour.

Re:fundamental misunderstanding of what academics (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#42490023)

"On the surface, it can seem like this is work you're doing for you rather than for your job -- after all, it's your name on the book, and you take your reputation with you if you jump to another school -- but this work is one of the university's primary missions, and it's what they're paying you to do, as it reflects back on htem."

And most universities own everything created by their professors.

Must be really stressful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489737)

Trying to find the MOST expensive option for text books, lab fees and classes every quarter. Then hand the class off to some caffeine junkie intern.

Yeah, real stressful. Those fees don't set themselves ya know.

Bad writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489779)

Plus profs have to deal with woeful writing:
 

This comes at a time in which the academic community has been featured on controversies about 100-hour week work journeys, doctors live on food stamps, tenured staff is laid off large science institutions, and the National Science Foundation suffers severe budget cuts, besides the well known (and sometimes publicized) politics of publish or perish.

Combines: 1) noun phrase (work journey?) 2) clause 3) clause (by large institutions 4) clause...

"How tough a university professor's job can be." (-1)

cirby (2599) | about 2 years ago | (#42489795)

That final link is hilarious - if you think about the claims that are made in it.

He makes a big point of the "free" work he has to do prepping for the class (preparing the syllabus, et cetera), then adds in extra time during the semester for coming up with the tests - which should be part of preparing the syllabus.

Of course, for most college teachers, "preparation" is "what book do I read out of each week?" Total real time? About an hour.

He then talks about office hours - 8 hours per week, just sitting there waiting for the students to come bask in his knowledge. Never mind, of course, that most professors only get a few students per day, and they never spend more than a few minutes on each. Most of the rest of the time is spent doing that class prep he moans about.

In other words, he double counted most of the things he pretended that he does each week.

Let's look at this realistically...

Monday- Wednesday-Friday:
8-9 class
9-10 kill time until office hours
10-12, office hours (Two students drop in for ten minutes each, do all actual paperwork and class prep during this time.)
12-1 lunch
1-2 second class
2-3 office hours (One student, maybe. Grade papers until four if tests that week)
Go home

Tuesday-Thursday:
9:30-11 third class
11-12 office hours (One student, maybe. Take early lunch if bored)
12-1 lunch
2-3:30 fourth class
3:30-4 office hours (Nobody shows up, go home early most days.)
Go home

Here's the funny part... he pretends he has MORE work the second year. This assumes he lost all of his tests and prep paperwork from the previous semesters, and has to completely rebuild his syllabus from square one every semester. Um... nope. Hell, in a lot of cases, new professors get "hand-me-down" course outlines and support materials from the guys who had to teach the class in previous years.

Re:"How tough a university professor's job can be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489955)

You have apparently never had to teach before.

Special snowflakes (0)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 2 years ago | (#42489823)

Hey guyz guess what? I've worked *plenty* of 50-60 hour workweeks and holidays. Deadlines all over the place. Pressure to perform. Stress levels off the map, schedules, budgets, and meetings.

At a construction company. As a labor crew leader.

Note to professors: It's called "the real world", deal with it.
.

Re:Special snowflakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489973)

Professors are merely objecting to having their profession rated as the #1 least stressful profession.

With jerks like you, one can't win: either has to acquiesce in the face of unfounded accusations, or one is accused of being overly sensitive. Go to hell.

I worked in the possibly worst french university.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42489835)

..called Paris 8 Vincennes St-Denis, and i can tell you that this study is true according to my experience.

Welcome to Big Data Research (1)

BaldingByMicrosoft (585534) | about 2 years ago | (#42489881)

Welcome to Big Data Research, where the algorithms can't lie. Actually evaluating the stressors of real jobs using scientific methods is so old-school. And if the outcome appears incorrect we just need a bigger database...

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