What did you give up for the sake of having an academic job?
Money (salary, savings)
UP: I was not raised to hope to support myself, and I do.
DOWN: This is even less well paid than I expected. Actually, it is quite frightening how poorly it is paid and that is a main reason why I do not recommend it to people who are not independently wealthy or are not married to someone who earns well.
DOWN: Not making tenure is a major hit financially. This is the reason to make tenure, not prestige, pride, and so on. Had I understood that at the time, I would have made every effort to get tenure on my first attempt.
Choice of where to live
UP: I knew we would not choose where we lived, and I was threatened with the Midwest throughout graduate school; I researched it therefore and learned how to live there, information that served me well during a Midwestern visiting appointment I thoroughly enjoyed. I have lived in four other places I would not have chosen otherwise and I enjoyed getting to know them all.
DOWN: I had not planned on not being able to afford, or organize ways to finance long summer stretches in California.
DOWN: The real issue is not where to live, it is what kind of institution to work for, and this is the issue I think people are repressing by scolding each other about not having adapted well enough to their geographical locations.
UP: I was not raised to want a long term relationship, but to see these as onerous requirements. Not having one because of academia (you cannot meet anyone here in Maringouin, believe what I am telling you) is thus not a sacrifice and if I were not in academia I would not necessarily want one, or would not necessarily want a full-time one.
DOWN: If you live in places like Maringouin, the only way to actually enjoy life is to be in a happy, long term relationship (in this culture, one does not have groups of friends as one does elsewhere; I have to travel to see friends so I am quite isolated on this bayou). This is why I now recommend that people get married in graduate school.
UP: I was not raised to expect to have children and I am neutral on them myself (i.e., I am not one of those who ever felt they must have children to be complete or to have a complete life), so not having them due to academia is not a sacrifice.
DOWN: I had an abortion the semester I was up for tenure the first time because I foresaw not making tenure, having to move, and so on. Otherwise I would have had the child.
UP: In Maringouin there are waifs, so I have 2 adopted children who are very nice.
UP: My health is excellent and I do not think it has suffered from academia. It may have benefited, since I have always had a job and have thus always been insured.
NEUTRAL: I have suffered emotional trauma and depression from academia, caused by my first job and this one, and even more by bad psychotherapy which was not the fault of academia. Somehow, though, I have the impression I would have suffered emotionally at some point no matter what. And the score is even anyway, because graduate school was very good for me in terms of health.