Many people join academia because they hope to escape many of the expectations and constrictions of what we sometimes refer to as the “real world.” We think it is a chance to escape the rat race (I almost wrote “rant race”–but of course we don’t escape from that!), to engage in reflection, and perhaps even search for truth (as opposed to the ‘real’).
Yet we are the ones who spend our days preparing young people for the rat race, and providing them with certificates that people in the real world take very seriously. Some of us embrace this duty, thinking that the real world needs us. Others try to avoid it as much as possible. Either way, we are still the cornerstones of the real world.
Professors love irony. It makes us feel cool and intelligent and superior. This is a sweet one (meaning, of course, that it’s bitter).