I've been traveling/otherwise busy, so I'm only just catching up with the news. So I didn't hear about the recent academic shooting until I was reading FSP's earlier blog. When I went to look for it, it had gotten buried. Here's a news link.
In some of the discussions about the shooting, one topic seems to come up a lot: that academia is a stressful, pressure-cooker environment. Now, I know how hard a lot of professors work, and the PhD/post-doc process is a long slog. And being denied tenure is devastating.
But seriously. When I was in consulting, I was running full-scale field projects - coordinating with and supervising contractors, dealing with angry abutters and their lawyers, trying to keep my picture (and any lapses in whatever) out of the news trucks that were parked next to where I was trying to work, working 70-hour weeks, and generally keeping about 15 different balls in the air. Just check out my "field rants" tag.
I've been laid off. I've had friends who were laid off who were the only ones working in the household, and they were living paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes the layoffs had no warning signs of trouble other than a new management team. A family member lost a job and became one of the millions of people who eventually gave up looking for work and finally called it "early retirement".
Where is this industry safe haven of a secure job with good benefits and no stress? I know that the grass is always greener on the other side, but if academics think that "outside" work is a cakewalk, maybe they should try it for themselves.