1) Being unemployed. Not that other people don’t hate being unemployed, too. But unless you’re a lucky person who has already secured that coveted mirage of a tenure-track job — and even then you’ve only got six years to get it together — being in academia means that, at some point, you could be an unemployed person with a lot of degrees!
3) Ratchet departmental politics. There are always office politics in any career. But in academia, everybody’s heard the story about how so-in-so didn’t get tenure because the department chair kind of hates her or thinks her research is silly. Or has been on a search committee where somebody thinks a candidate who works on anything after 1832 is totally irrelevant. Or how about why we can’t have the department holiday party at Stephanie’s house because Stephanie and Blake do NOT get along.
4) Being in debt — credit card debt — from all those broke ass years in graduate school.
5) “The Administration,” because it seems like they get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to make things as complicated as possible, for everyone, at all times.
6) The “heterosexual matrix” and/or patriarchy.
7) When people ask how the dissertation/book manuscript/article is coming along and you honestly don’t know because you haven’t touched it.
8) Formatting academic articles to the exact specifications the journal requires. And you thought academia was just about ideas — HA!
9) When Word freezes when you’re in the middle of a streak of brilliance and you forgot to save your stuff.
10) Feeling anxious about every interaction with a senior scholar, because senior scholars are the GATEKEEPERS. Do they like me? OMG do they think I’m an idiot?
11) When someone asks a long-winded question during the Q+A that has absolutely nothing to do with what your talk was on, so now you have to maintain your composure, smile and respond WITHOUT seeming like an A-hole.
12) When student papers begin with sweeping claim like “since the beginning of man.”
13) Going on the job market.
14) Tenure reviews.
15) Being underpaid for the amount of work you do. You’re teaching four classes a semester, plus you’re on 12 committees and you have a book manuscript to work on. And if you don’t find the time to finish that, you’re gonna get fired!
16) Overly negative reviews from blind, peer review publications. Because the reviewers don’t know who you are, that means they get to be even meaner.
17) When students email you about the grade they got at the end of the semester, instead of putting the work in DURING it.
18) Anxiety and the diverse medical issues associated with it.
19) When someone has ripped several key pages out of a library book.
20) If someone says that academia isn’t a “real” job.
21) BEING TOLD THEY HAVE THE #1 LEAST STRESSFUL JOB IN THE COUNTRY.