Why are professors such jerks? Megan McArdle breaks it down for us
1) The money is so low relative to the professions they might have gone into. Journalists also suffer from this bitterness. Interestingly, the more lucrative their current options are, the less bitter the professors seem to be--economists and engineers seem relatively cheerful compared to English and History professors.
2) It's so easy to tell exactly where you rank in the academic hierarchy. Well, I don't find it easy, but they all seem to. Unless you're very near the top, your ranking is reinforced every time you attend any sort of professional event. If you are near the top, you promptly switch to wondering why you're paid less than an entry level investment banking analyst.
3) It's so hard to switch jobs. Job mobility is so low that you can't salve your ego by telling yourself that your current job is merely a waystop en route to something better.
4) Academics have few alternative status hierarchies Getting tenure is an all consuming process that leaves very little time for developing other hobbies. And the job virtually definitionally does not attract the kind of people who will be happy putting their career on a back burner to family or lifestyle.
5) Academics have virtually no control over where they live They usually seem to go where the best job is, regardless of whether or not the local area suits them. In many cases, this further focuses them inward on academia, because there aren't all that many other people around who share their interests.
The full post is here.