A confess from an insider! The relation is antisymmetric: professors ignore real world but the latter gives all the attention to professors
I’ve been in school for the last 35 years – 21 years as a student, the rest as a professor. As a result, the Real World is almost completely foreign to me. I don’t know how to do much of anything. While I had a few menial jobs in my teens, my first-hand knowledge of the world of work beyond the ivory tower is roughly zero.
I’m not alone. Most professors’ experience is almost as narrow as mine. If you want to succeed in academia, the Real World is a distraction. I have a dream job for life because I excelled in my coursework year after year, won admission to prestigious schools, and published a couple dozen articles for other professors to read. That’s what it takes – and that’s all it takes.
Considering how studiously I’ve ignored the Real World, you might think that the Real World would return the favor by ignoring me. But it doesn’t! I’ve influenced the Real World careers of thousands of students. How? With grades. At the end of every semester, I test my students to see how well they understand my courses, and grade them from A to F. Other professors do the same. And remarkably, employers care about our ivory tower judgments. Students with lots of A’s finish and get pleasant, high-paid jobs. Students with a lots of F’s don’t finish and get unpleasant, low-paid jobs. If that.