Professors Work Really Hard…Or Do They?

Traditionally, the light at the end of the tunnel for most PhD students included a professorship position at a university or college. A recent survey of PhD graduates from UToronto found that…

~60% found work in ‘higher education’, which is a bit higher than some other recent estimates. An important factor for new grads to consider, particularly if the choice includes remaining in academic post-PhD, is how one’s time will be spent day-to-day.

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m not sure if that was queried, but a recent article in The Atlantic revealed a lot of variability (and emotional responses!) when profs differing in career stages and specializations were asked a basic question: “How much time do you spend working?”

I have yet to add up the hours I spend each week on work-related activities, but the biggest adjustment I had to make was when we started a family. One of the best aspects of being a professor is flexibility, both in what to work on and how work gets done; however, as our family grew bigger, the time available for work decreased, so a major challenge was figuring out how to be more efficient with the time available for work, which included saying “no” more often to new, interesting opportunities….which has been liberating and a (small) source of fomo.


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