TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why Are Law Professors So Unhappy? — Part Five

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), The Best Job in the World:

Law teaching is a pretty great job. You are paid more than most academics (although this is lost on most law professors who have never lived the life of a real academic) and you get to do pretty much whatever you like assuming you are intellectually curious. A few times a week you teach a group of students and the only real downside is about two weeks of grading twice a year.

Cool job, right? So why do I see so many people who seem to be so unhappy. Drama is pervasive, Demands are made about the most trivial things. There are always conspiracies afoot. Someone else is racist, sexist, or homophobic, that is, if you listen to the gossip. High blood pressure is far from rare. Emails are sent that demand attention yesterday. There is never enough for whichever "me" you happen to be.

Is it the job or is that people cannot accept having one of he best jobs in the world? What is this with the office to office gossip, the complaints about the wrong room, the wrong secretary, and imagined slights? Really, do people need to be unhappy about something? ...

I am way too pissed off about my job to keep writing this and I feel a high blood pressure attack coming on. Really, I am never treated fairly. This job sucks.

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What is the empirical evidence that professors are so unhappy?

Posted by: mike livingston | May 9, 2018 4:15:14 AM

Funniest thing I’ve read in a while.

Posted by: Jim | May 9, 2018 4:54:49 AM

Law professors aren't unhappy, but Jeffrey Harrison clearly is.

Posted by: Brian | May 9, 2018 6:03:37 AM

Perhaps more importantly, why should practicing lawyers care?

Posted by: Publius Novus | May 9, 2018 7:01:53 AM

I love my job. I am thankful every day that somehow I fell into this gig. I am paid perhaps 20% of what I would now be making if I had remained a big-firm partner. I work insane hours: I will be presenting two papers in the next month, am in the midst of developing a major new program for my school, and have committed to teaching 21 semester-hours this next academic year (our standard load is 10-11). But I am also ridiculously happy.

Posted by: Ted Seto | May 9, 2018 7:13:43 AM

"I work insane hours... have committed to teaching 21 semester-hours this next academic year."

Is that it?

- pretty much any professor from any other discipline in the university.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | May 9, 2018 9:03:13 AM

Incredibly happy. Harrison needs to retire. He has been complaining consistently for a few years now.

Posted by: BA | May 9, 2018 3:04:12 PM

FYI, not unhappy at all. Best job in the world. I just do not understand the drama and the pervasive lack of humor.

Posted by: Jeffrey harrison | May 11, 2018 6:22:58 PM