Why being a college professor is such a great job

Just finished grading for the semester.  Whoo-hoo!  I really love my job– except for the grading.  And meetings.  Oh man do I hate meetings!  (It’s really tough when you are consistently the smartest person in a room surrounded by idiots who just love to hear themselves talk– I jest.  Sort of).  Anyway, like I was saying, I really, really love my job.  I think this really cool talk on what motivates us (hint: it’s not money) helps explain why this job is so great.  It’s quite an entertaining 10 minute video, but since you probably won’t watch, here’s what it boils down to:

People are motivated largely based on three things: autonomy, mastery, and a sense of purpose.  My job has this in spades.  Autonomy?  Heck, most of this blog gets written in the office.  Other than time in class and those dreaded meetings, I have amazing amounts of autonomy over what I do and when I do it.  Mastery?  Perhaps not quite as much, but I’ve become a much better researcher over the years and a better teacher and that’s certainly very rewarding.  As for sense of purpose?  Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll get hugs and handshakes, meet parents, and take a few photos with new graduates who are about to head off into the world more prepared than when they first came to NCSU and in some of these cases, I actually contributed a decent amount to that.  That is definitely awesome.  Here’s a graduation photo from last year– I definitely helped make the diploma in the photo happen.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

7 Responses to Why being a college professor is such a great job

  1. Mark says:

    As you already know, you are the reason I’m in graduate school and have decided to become a political scientist, so thanks for that. I still haven’t gotten over you not attending my graduation though…

  2. Jeff pelletier says:

    Couldn’t agree more. My field could not be more devoid of financial incentive, yet I continue to love what I do. And when you see a student achieve something they thought they were not capable of, it almost makes all of the meetings worth it!

  3. David says:

    Getting mine today =)

  4. iluvtr30 says:

    holy amazing! I stumbled upon this and it blew my mind! love it! DId you draw all that???

  5. Alin says:

    Hi Steve. I would like to talk to you further, regarding my education. Though I know your not a councilor, I would like to pursue a career in Political Science, specifically as a Education Professional. I am currently working to obtain a Bachelors in Political Science and move from there and hopefully obtain my masters and start teaching, as I start to work towards a PHD. I really do enjoy this field, as I have been interested in this field since my junior year of high school. Along side, with teaching, I would like to change education on a national level, starting at the local level and progressing from there, yet ultimate my immediate goal is to teach. Currently, I am 21 and would like to achieve my masters and doctorate degree by the time I reach 25 or 26l; excuse my enthusiasm and my over excessive goals.

    My question to you: How do I get to my goals in a quick and decisive way? Can I start my research on a topic of my choice before entering a masters program? Would this field be right for me, in regards to goal set?

    Thank you for taking the time to look at my question. I look forward to hearing back from you.

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