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Why are professors trying to escape their jobs?

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A Facebook group called The Professor Is Out, which has close to 33,000 members, aims to spirit dissatisfied college and university professors in the United States out of the profession and into other pursuits. The scale of the group might come as a surprise to most people, who assume that a combination of competitive salaries and flexible work schedules make academia close to an ideal workplace. Yet many professors are deeply unhappy with their jobs, their compensation and the general direction of higher education policy in the United States, especially in southern states where policymakers are eliminating job protections and imposing new speech restrictions on faculty.  

The Professor Is Out, founded by a former professor of anthropology, Karen Kelsky, in 2010, is both a support group and a networking opportunity. It has been so successful that Kelsky and several colleagues turned it into a thriving business that offers career coaching and other consulting and advising services. Most of what happens on the Facebook page, though, is individuals posting their horror stories, often anonymously to avoid retribution, and asking for advice and solidarity. Kelsky’s group is therefore also a window into the complicated, interrelated crises afflicting virtually the entire industry.

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