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Friday, December 19, 2014

Professors and stress

Last January I posted a note about how stressful the job of university professor can be [University Professor is one of the least stressful jobs in America?]. That was a followup to a previous post that I wrote in response to Forbes magazine claiming that university professor have an easy job [I Have the Least Stressful Job!!!]. (That's me on the right in the picture. If you don't think this is stressful then you ought to try dressing up like that!)

A writer for the Globe & Mail (Toronto, Canada) contacted me about an article she was writing on stress in academia. The article has been published and she got it right! [Increased pressures, class sizes taking their toll on faculties in academia. I even got quoted.
Research funds are also difficult to access. New funding rules that emphasize commercial potential, particularly in the sciences, mean that professors have to deal with the prospect of their careers being cut short if they don’t win grants to run a lab.

“My younger colleagues are having to survive in stressful situations that I never had to survive,” said Larry Moran, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Toronto. “Government policies have redirected research funds so that it’s hit and miss if you get grants. ... When you fail at this job, there aren’t a lot of other places to go,” he said.


  1. I think...and I pretty much know that whoever has made this evaluation had never been in the ER department and especially the trauma room... He/She is a morons..

  2. Is the stress the origin of the clothes in the picture or why there is stress??? just kidding.

  3. These people who claim "no stress" are basing their views on some 1950s movie of a professor wearing tweeds and smoking his pipe in the common room.

    Interesting that the only comments here are from people with no first hand experience.

    1. For a much more "realistic" movie, check out God's not dead. The professor in that movie is really stressed out because one of his Christian students is making him look like a fool.

  4. This reminds me of when I was a post-doc in the Biochem department at Dalhousie. The university has a med school, and some university researchers were studying stress among medical students.

    Everyone knows that being a med student is stressful.

    For a control group, the researchers chose *graduate students* working in the same building, in Biochem and Micro and so on.

    Apparently they were surprised to find out that the grad students were just as stressed out as medical students.

    This also reminds me of the sense of humor of Patrick Keeling, then one of the grad students, whose response to the question of how he handles stress was something sardonic along the lines of "just push the cork in a little tighter."