“A professor is someone who talks in someone else’s sleep.“
W. H. Auden, Poet
Pros and Cons of Working as a Professor
You think about becoming a professor but are not entirely sure whether this is the right way to go for you or not? Great!
I show you all the pros and cons of being a professor in this article so that you can better decide whether you still want to become a professor or rather want to work in the corporate sector instead.
Table of Contents
Professor Job Profile
|Professors teach students at colleges. They also do important research and their findings can potentially change the world.
|$92,000 per year on average, most professors make between $75,000 and $105,000 per year.
|Decent since professors often work in their jobs for decades and also have an easy time finding a new job.
|Good if you love teaching and doing research.
|Good since you will not have to work many hours and also have free weekends.
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?
|Can be mentally demanding.
|Decent since good professors will always be needed.
|Many years of college education required. You first have to get your bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degree and still need some additional education for working as a professor.
Advantages of Being A Professor
- Professors have a high social standing
- Professors can make decent money
- You can work indoors as a professor
- You will have decent job security
- Good future job prospects for professors
- Professors can travel the world
- You can switch to the corporate sector
- Professors can do research on important topics
- You can discuss your ideas with people from all over the world
- Working as a professor is not that stressful
- You will not work many extra hours
- Professors don’t have to work in the evening or at nighttime
- Decent work-life balance for professors
- You can make additional money
- You can outsource unpleasant work to staff members
- Your publications will be available for future generations
- Easy to get a mortgage
- You will be able to afford good health insurance
- Working as a professor is more than just a job
Professors have a high social standing
One advantage of being a professor is that you will have a high social standing.
In fact, professors are admired by many people out there since they often know more about a certain field than most other people.
It will also take quite a long time to become a professor and people will often also admire your perseverance.
Consequently, people will often talk to you with lots of respect and will also be grateful for your advice.
Professors can make decent money
As a professor, you will also be able to make pretty decent money.
Sure, most professors will not get rich and will not make as much as judges and people working in many other fields.
Yet, it will often be enough to afford some luxury and a comfortable life, especially if you work in a region where living costs are rather low.
In such a case, you will have lots of money that you can spend on your hobbies or on other nice things you like.
Hence, becoming a professor can make sense from a financial perspective, even though you might still be able to make more money in the corporate sector in the long run.
You can work indoors as a professor
Another benefit of becoming a professor is that you can also work indoors.
While you might take this for granted, you definitely shouldn’t!
In fact, many people still have to work outdoors during rain or snow and those people often secretly wish to work in a protected environment.
As a professor, you will often be able to work in a cozy office where you will even have some amenities like air conditioning or heating to make your life at work as enjoyable as possible.
You will have decent job security
Professors also enjoy pretty high job security.
In fact, once you are a renowned professor, it will be pretty easy for you to keep your job at a college and many professors work at the same university for decades.
Even if you get fired for some reason, chances are that you will be able to find a new job at a different college pretty soon.
You can even work internationally and this means that you can work all over the world.
In turn, your job opportunities will be almost endless and you will not really have to worry about unemployment at all.
Good future job prospects for professors
Not only will you have pretty decent job prospects right now, but you will likely also have pretty good job security in the future.
In fact, good professors will always be needed and if you are willing to work hard and are able to build some reputation, chances are that you will be able to work as a professor for the rest of your life.
Professors can travel the world
Another upside to working as a professor is that you will be able to travel the world.
If you are able to speak the English language, you will also be able to teach at many research facilities and colleges all over the world.
This can be quite nice since you will be able to explore many different cultures and ways of life while making a living at the same time.
Consequently, becoming a professor can also make quite a lot of sense if you want to see the world but still want to have a secure job at the same time.
You can switch to the corporate sector
Due to their expert knowledge and their high reputation, it will also be easy for professors to switch to the corporate world sooner or later.
In fact, once you get tired of teaching and search for a new challenge, you may just quit your job and go for a career in the corporate sector instead.
Sure, this will likely be more stressful and may also require you to work long hours.
Yet, you will still have this high level of flexibility and will not be trapped in the educational space forever.
Hence, by becoming a professor, you will have many options regarding how you want to spend your work life and this gives you a great level of flexibility that people who work in other fields usually don’t have.
Professors can do research on important topics
As a professor, you will also do a pretty important job for society since you will do research on topics that could potentially change the world.
In fact, one big finding can change how we perceive the world in general and if you are willing to work hard, you may be one of those lucky guys who will make history.
You may even become famous and your name might be known by many future generations.
Sure, only a small minority of professors will make those important findings.
Yet, there will still be a small chance to make history for you.
You can discuss your ideas with people from all over the world
Working as a professor can also be quite interesting.
In fact, you will be able to work with many people from all over the world.
Quite often, you will discuss your latest research findings with other experts in this field and you will get some valuable critique on how to improve your research methods.
In turn, your quality of work will improve significantly over time and you can become really good at what you are doing.
Moreover, this international discourse can also give you motivation to keep going since you will see how well other people all over the world do in this field and you may just want to do even better than them.
Working as a professor is not that stressful
Compared to many other jobs out there, a career as a professor will also not be that stressful.
Sure, you may get stuck with your research sooner or later and may lose your motivation to keep going forward.
Those times can be quite difficult.
Yet, you will learn how to deal with those issues and will be able to handle them in a proper emotional manner.
Compared to working in the corporate world, you will just not have the same time pressure and stress level and will therefore be able to work in a more relaxed manner.
You will not work many extra hours
Most professors also don’t work many extra hours. In fact, barely any professor works more than 40 hours a week and there are also some who only work around 20 hours a week.
People who work in other fields would consider this a part-time job since they often work 60+ hours, at least in leading corporate positions.
Hence, as a professor, you will be able to enjoy the privilege to work not as much as most other people do and this gives you lots of time to spend on other things you like even more than work.
Professors don’t have to work in the evening or at nighttime
As a professor, you will also not have to work at nighttime.
Quite often, your lectures will take place in the morning or during the afternoon.
Many professors also have the privilege of only starting their workday around 10 a.m. and this gives them the privilege to really enjoy their sleep.
Moreover, since you will not have to work in the evening, this gives you the opportunity to meet up with your favorite people after work while many other people will still have to work during those late hours to get things done for the next morning.
Decent work-life balance for professors
Since you will not have to work as many hours as most other people do and you will also have free evenings and free weekends, you will have a pretty good work-life balance as a professor in general.
In fact, most people who work in the corporate world secretly wish to change places with you in this regard since they often have barely any leisure while you as a professor will have more than enough time to spend with your loved ones.
You can make additional money
If you are a renowned person in your field, you may even be able to make some serious extra money from jobs you do on the side.
For instance, many professors sit in the supervisory board of big companies and they often earn even more money from those duties than from their actual day job.
Hence, if you are really good at what you are doing, chances are that you will be able to make lots of additional money as a professor with relatively low amounts of extra work.
You can outsource unpleasant work to staff members
Another advantage of working as a professor is that you will also be able to outsource unpleasant work to your staff members. If you have reached a certain status, you will often have a secretary who takes care of scheduling your day and who will also do some annoying administrative work.
In turn, you will have more time for the nice things in life and can also really focus on your research to make important findings that could change the world.
Your publications will be available for future generations
As a professor, you will also publicize many articles and research papers.
Thanks to our modern technologies, your findings will not be lost after you pass away but they will still be available on the internet for future generations.
This can be really satisfying since you will know that what you do will have merit for other people even centuries ago when people will cite your articles.
Consequently, a part of you will live forever and will never go away (at least as long as we have the internet 😉).
Easy to get a mortgage
Since you will be able to make decent money and you will also have decent job security as a professor, it will be easy for you to get a mortgage.
In fact, banks will grant you high loans since they know that you will most likely be able to pay back those loans and this gives you a great level of flexibility when it comes to buying or building a home.
You will be able to afford good health insurance
Due to your decent income as a professor, you will also be able to afford good health insurance.
In turn, while many other people will not be able to get proper medical treatment in case they get sick or injured, you will be the one who doesn’t have to care about those costs but who can rather get the best possible treatment.
In turn, also your overall life expectancy as a professor tends to be higher compared to the average person.
Working as a professor is more than just a job
Many professors are not just in their jobs for the money or for the additional benefits that come along with it.
In fact, working as a professor is more than a job and can become a real passion.
If you love research and want to change the world with your findings, this career can really make you happy in the long run.
As you can see, there are many benefits to a career as a professor.
Yet, it is still not all upside and we should also talk about the issues that come along with working as a professor so that you get a more comprehensive picture of what working in this field really looks like.
Disadvantages of Working as a Professor
- Some professors think they know everything
- You may become arrogant
- Professors don’t earn as much as if they worked in the corporate world
- You need funding to finance your research
- Students may be unmotivated
- You may get bored in the long run
- You need a passion for teaching to become happy in this field
- Teleworking will not be possible most of the time
- You will have a rather rigid schedule
- Students may make fun of you
- It takes a long time to become a professor
- You may have to take on student loans
- Not a good job if you are an introverted person
Some professors think they know everything
One problem with being a professor is that you might think that you know everything.
While you may be a real expert in your field, you will still lack some skills since we as humans are just not complete.
Hence, make sure that you don’t become blind to new and innovative ideas of others.
You may become arrogant
Due to their high social status and their decent income, some professors also become arrogant and just think that they are better than the rest of us.
While confidence is usually a good thing, it can cause serious issues once it turns into arrogance and you should therefore make sure to stay on the ground and not to go in the wrong direction in this regard.
Professors don’t earn as much as if they worked in the corporate world
While professors are able to make decent money, they will still often not be able to earn as much money as people who work in private equity or in other demanding jobs in the corporate sector.
In fact, if you really want to get wealthy or even rich, you should likely not go for an academic career but you should rather work in a leading role for an international corporation since your income prospects will be much better on average.
However, you will still pay a high price for it since you will also likely work much more in the corporate world and you should ask yourself whether those additional dollars are really worth it to you to give up plenty of leisure.
You need funding to finance your research
As a professor, you will also have to actively search for funding from the government or from third parties to finance your research projects.
Without those financial measures, you will just not be able to compete on the international top level since you will not be able to use latest technologies to support your theories.
Students may be unmotivated
Another downside of working as a professor is that you will also have to deal with unmotivated students.
While many students will be grateful for your lectures, others will just be bored of it and some of them may even fall asleep during your lecture.
Hence, make sure that a certain level of disinterest from your students will not bother you as much and that you have a stable mindset to keep going anyway.
You may get bored in the long run
Not only your students may get bored of your lectures, but also you may get bored about working as a professor in the long run.
In such a case, you may really struggle to stay motivated and you may just end up as one of those professors who barely show up to work at all.
You need a passion for teaching to become happy in this field
You also need a real passion for teaching and research to become happy with working in this field in the long run.
If you don’t have this passion and are just in for the benefits that come along with a career as a professor, chances are that you will just not be able to deliver the performance that is really necessary to make the world a better place.
Teleworking will not be possible most of the time
Another disadvantage of becoming a professor is that you will usually also not be able to work from home.
Quite often, you will have to be present in person for your lectures and even though it would be possible to stream your lectures online, many universities still require you to show up in person since it has always been like that and changes are not welcome in most of those facilities.
You will have a rather rigid schedule
As a professor, you will also not have a great level of flexibility when it comes to lectures.
In fact, your timetable will be rather rigid and you will not be able to change your lecture times as much since they would conflict with other lectures.
In turn, you just have to show up at certain times and will not be able to make any changes to your schedule.
Students may make fun of you
If you are not good at presenting things to an audience or if you are a rather nervous person, chances are that some of your students may even make fun of you.
Hence, make sure that you have a stable mindset to ignore those people and that you don’t really care about their opinion.
It takes a long time to become a professor
You should also not underestimate the time and effort it takes to become a professor.
In fact, you will have to spend many years to get your doctor’s degree and even after that, you will still need a certain amount of time until you will be allowed to really teach students at university as a professor.
This can be really annoying since you will have to get additional education while your friends who just got a bachelor’s degree will often make much more money in consulting or investment banking while you are still learning and barely make any money at all.
You may have to take on student loans
Since you will have to get many years of college education, chances are that you will also have to take on significant amounts of student loan debt to finance your studies.
While those loans can make your time in college easier since you don’t have to worry about your finances that much, they can also lead to financial problems later on in your life when you have to pay them back.
Not a good job if you are an introverted person
Becoming a professor also doesn’t make that much sense if you are a rather introverted person who doesn’t like to speak in front of an audience.
In such a case, you would be better off by just working in the back office for a company where you will not have this high exposure to many people on a regular basis.
Top 10 Being a Professor Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Professor Pros
|Being a Professor Cons
|Professors can make decent money
|Most professors don’t get rich
|You can change the world
|Teaching may become boring
|You can become famous as a professor
|You have to teach unmotivated students
|Professors don’t work many extra hours
|Some students even make fun of you
|You have free weekends and holidays
|You can’t work from home
|You don’t have to work at nighttime
|Long years of education required
|Professors can make additional money
|Student loan debt may become an issue
|Professors have a high social standing
|Professors have a rather rigid schedule
|You can afford good health insurance
|Not good if you are an introverted person
|You can afford some luxury
|You need to organize funding
Should You Become A Professor?
As you can see from the previous analysis, there are many advantages and disadvantages of being a professor.
You should definitely take your time and evaluate all the pros and cons in great detail to make the right decision regarding this important topic.
You still want to become a professor?
Make sure to also get detailed information on the salary, prospects, future outlook, work-life balance, duties, educational requirements and job satisfaction of professors.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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