We have a lot of expectation on professors. They are knowledgeable, creative, smart, patience, kind……
No! What our university or society expect the professors to be?
They have to be good in research, teaching, mentor students, university administration, managing their research fund, forge collaboration……
Long time ago, when I read a “book” about how to run your lab, the first thing every professors told you was, you were asked to do this and that and you have never learned that. One later learned everything themselves because those are important to be a successful professor and they get used to that sooner or later.
Seriously? Does it make sense?
One was trained to work in laboratory and writing paper, then they were shifted completely into something else and worked as a manager.
It is understandable….but according to Peter Principle, promoting someone good at what they are doing would ultimately promote them to the position of incompetence. That is, as one advanced the career by promotion, one would get promoted to a position which one was not good at and stuck there forever.
What do we expect a professor could do? Research, teaching, managing people, managing funding, getting funded, forging collaboration……
If you failed in one single thing, you are very likely to be a bad professor in someone’s eye and probably, stuck in the position of incompetence.
Our world wants a omniscience and omnipotent hero to be a professor, not a human being…..
Meanwhile, it is ONLY a career! One has other goals in one’s life! Have a family, spend time with partner, kids, and family, and probably have one’s hobby. Even if you were a good scientist, you might be not a good professor. If you had a good career, you might be not have a good family. If you had a good career and good family, you might be not have a good life. The problem was, being a professor consume most of your time in your career. How could it be possible to be a perfect human being?
I have seen one perfect human so far. He is a very good professor, being very kind to me and to his students. But, how many perfect human being are out there? Am I a perfect human being?
A professor is a in fact running a business, the business of publication. They get funded for generating publications, which is the product.
If he was good in the career, what was the reward? More funding and more people to join his group. More people to carry what the idea he wanted to carry out or he supported. So at the end, he got more publications, possibly an important one which might lead to a useful patent.
This was the best case scenario.
The worst case scenario was, I tried to work as postdoc and after five years or so, I cannot get a faculty position.
Given all the stress and hard work one has to put in, was the return on scale?
I would rather get the money myself and do whatever I wanted to.
What is our society expect us to be as a professor? Do research and teach students! What if I somehow got tired of either one? I would be a highly knowledgeable teaching/research labour struggle to make a live in academia and at the same time, because of the fame and expectation of the society, I pretend to like the teaching or research and lie to everyone. At the same time, I have to spend so much time in something I do not like to earn a living. Would other careers have similar problem? Probably no…..everyone knows people work in government is slow and inefficient and they have all the excuses. Everyone knows people work in business want money and their hard work is often paid off. But what do people expect a professor does? The pursuit of knowledge on behave of human’s welfare. It would be a moral crisis if one worked as a non-productive professor, which according to what I know about myself, someone who does not like to get stressed and wanted to take breaks from stuff. I believe it would be the case (if and only if I got a faculty position).