But why not be a professor?
I just thought about this! Is teaching HS English really more desirable than being a professor? Both goals are within reach. Sure, one will take a bit more legwork than the other, but I'm within striking distance if I devote my mind to it!
"Publish or Perish" they say. I certainly have a lot to write about. The superfluous verbiage will have to be omitted, but, when it's removed, there'll be more than enough substance to satiate your literary appetites.
It's not a matter of having loftier goals than before. It has a lot more to do with preferring the nature of the work. My college professors were brilliant minds (Can I even hope to measure up to them? All I know is that, if I put in the effort, I can try to emulate them!), but they also were laid back and effusive. They were wholesome, not broken. There was no damage to be found from a life of teaching fourteen to seventeen year old kids over the course of a ten-month grind, having to wake up every day at 6am. These men and women rolled out of their beds five minutes before class, took a swig of brandy, and went into beast mode while letting the paying, college students facilitate most of the discussion.
What a lifestyle. Liberal pedagogy at its finest! It's the American way. Let's aim for this instead!
I'm going to tell you what I wish someone had told me 8 years ago. I was, until very recently, a college English professor. There are no good jobs in this field. You will be an adjunct making $25,000 a year with no job security or benefits. Every time a full time position opens up, you will be pitted against 100+ applicants with identical credentials. Only about 30% of all college classes are taught by tenure track professors these days. Consider yourself warned.
"What do you mean lower myself? That's the only thing I've ever been. Just a simple human that couldn't save a little girl" -Edward Elric
Hey, being an adjunct can't be that bad! You could then forego the PhD route and, $25,000 isn't amazing money, but I'm inheriting my mom's house anyway, and it's not like I live some kind of lavish lifestyle. Besides, I'm planning to be really economical from now on and save up, so I can see myself amassing $100k in savings by the time I'm 35.
I'll heed your advice, oh knowledgeable one, but I'm thinking more in terms of it being a pretty solid job in terms of the actual work. I'm not overly concerned with "tenure-track" and whatnot. If I were to do this, I'd apply for the full-time gigs, but I wouldn't lose any sleep over not getting one of them.
The Professors I've known are scary people. It's because of their dangerous lack of knowledge outside of their chosen field, yet their unbridled willingness to pontificate on any subject as though they were SMEs.
The two that lived next door to us when I was very little seemed to have such a dearth of common sense that one was amazed that they hadn't walked out into traffic at some point in their early lives.