I realized that to create the most impact, I would have to (1) maximize job utility (i.e. not waste my life) and (2) maximize off-job utility (i.e. keep sane)...
Within (1), there are components (1a) earning potential and (1b) job satisfaction and (1c) intangible factors. I suspect (1a) and (1b) do not completely overlap, and their intersection might actually be small.
In that case, I shall have to work on (2), which translates to hobbies. As being an adult with multiple responsibilities would mean minimal time for hobbies, this is not a viable option once I'm officially in the "real-world".
Which goes back to (1). If I had Prof. Charlie Eppes-level math skills I could totally make a math model of this stupid rat race.
* * *
The only female professor in my department has blown me off twice now, after two separate attempts of trying to establish contact. I heard from one student who told me that she's quitting and going abroad for (what I deduce to be) a more lucrative job. Another student told me that she once told him to "listen to everyone and believe in no one."
Both of the aforementioned students are male. This professor only had two female students in her 10+ years of tenure. I should have known... but I wanted to give people benefit of a doubt. But this experience has really turned me off regarding a career in academia. This plus two of my respected industry mentors told me that they were disillusioned by academia, shortly after I sent my PhD applications.
* * *
Prof. Larry Fleinhardt from Numb3rs is such an idyllic dreamer and scatterbrained hippie-type that I seriously doubt someone like him would succeed as a professor in the real world. I mean, he doesn't have a house and he lives in the... steam tunnel on campus... and the new dept. head saw him coming out from cellar doors... )
Well, he's megawatt intellectually and a fav character of mine, but realistically only if he had an awesome secretary would he be able to keep track of all his professorial tasks (not to mention his FBI consulting...) A secretary who is not shared by many professors as in my department due to the economic downturn.
See, I keep my facts straight and not mixed up with fiction. But I'm increasingly incredulous at how I ended up on this giant hamster wheel with hundreds of clawing and gnawing... fellow hamsters.