According to a CNN/Money Magazine rating, being a college professor is the second best job you can have. Sounds great, right? Well, sorta.
As I have mentioned many times here before, I think being a college professor is a great gig, and when people complain about being in academia (which is the subject of so many academic blogs, especially the pseudoanonymous ones), my basic reaction is always the same: this beats the heck out of most jobs, hands down.
However, I think the CNN/Money Magazine ranking is a bit problematic for several reasons. Let’s start with the first three paragraphs about “why it’s great:”
While competition for tenure-track jobs will always be stiff, enrollment is rising in professional programs, community colleges and technical schools — which means higher demand for faculty.
It’s easier to break in at this level, and often you can teach with a master’s and professional experience. Demand is especially strong in fields that compete with the private sector (health science and business, for example).
The category includes moonlighting adjuncts, graduate TAs and college administrators.
So, in sum, it’s “great” for a)people teaching in “the professions” (as opposed to, say, English or writing or that vast space called “the humanities”); it’s easy to “break in” as long as you are in a field where you could make a lot more money in the private sector; and, by including adjuncts, TAs, and administrators, they are lumping together several very different kinds of jobs.
I do agree with them that what’s “cool” about the job includes “Professors have near-total flexibility in their schedules. Creative thinking is the coin of the realm. No dress code!” But obviously, they are minimalizing the ease of getting into the college professor racket, and I wish I made close to the quoted “average” salary of $81,000.
By the way, this “study” claims that best job is “software engineer.” That is clearly wrong. I think the best job one could have is “wealthy philanthropist” and/or “man/woman about town.” But maybe that’s just me.