An academic job, like any other creative occupation, is different from most “usual” jobs in several key aspects. See if you can decide which scenario appeals more to you.
1. The place of work in your life:
A. You want to have a job that’s interesting enough so that you’ll want to think about it almost all the time.
B. You want to have a job that you won’t have to think about when you come home.
2. Your preferred thinking mode:
A. You enjoy thinking slowly and deeply about things.
B. You enjoy making critical real-time decisions.
3. The impact of your work:
A. You like to work on things that may have broad long-term impact.
B. You like to see immediate and clear results of your work.
4. Your independence:
A. You want to be your own boss and decide what you want to work on.
B. You want to have clear structure imposed on you so you always know what you need to do.
5. Your colleagues:
A. You enjoy it when many people around you are smarter than you.
B. You enjoy being smarter than most people around you.
6. Your salary:
A. You don’t care if other people with your education level or lower make more money than you do, as long as you’re paid adequately.
B. You want to make as much money as possible given your level of education and abilities.
If you picked A in most of the above categories, then an academic job might be right for you.