When I migrated from the world of constructions and took a position as a college professor and social psychologist, I found myself on the right side of the "good work if you can get it" divide. Granted, professoring is still work. There are politics of the office, bosses who make demands, and duties that must be fulfilled. Nor is it a glamorous occupation, as Hollywood's depictions of Indiana Jones-like professorial types would suggest. But depending on one's goals and perspectives, it is a personally fulfilling pursuit. It is an elite profession that requires special training and skill, and for much of the time it feels more like a "calling" than "work," for it involves (a) learning and practicing the skills valued by the profession; (b) seeking immersion in a community whose members are similarly dedicated to these goals; (c) sacrificing time, effort, and pleasures so that the demands of the discipline are met; and (d) striving for goals that go beyond personal desires and needs and instead benefit other people and society as a whole.
Copyright © 2006 Praeger Publishers. This book chapter first appeared in Life as a Psychologist: Career Choices and Insights.
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Forsyth, Donelson R. "Exploring Group Behavior." In Life as a Psychologist: Career Choices and Insights, by Gerald D. Oster, 64-67. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006.