My first year as a tenure track professor was actually just as bad as my husband’s medical residency.
Life was easier in some ways as I did not have a baby and my parents had no health issues, and much of the work was work I could do at home. But it was also harder as I was single and alone in a new town in the middle of nowhere, with all the stress and tension of dating and also the lurking worry that my window to have a family would close before I could even find a relationship.
I remember entire weekends where, after working a full week of 14 hour days I did not have one single minute off. And (to add insult to injury) having to “volunteer” to staff 8 a.m. open houses on weekends where the university tried to recruit local high school students who weren’t going to come to the university anyway.
We had the same issue as medical residents that there was zero sick leave during the academic year. If you were sick, someone else covered your umpteen classes and then you paid them back (and oh boy did you pay them back.) In the end, that was why I left. I’d rather have a day of truly free time when I needed it then three months a year of quasi-free time when I didn’t want it. And I’d rather live where I wanted the whole year than live anywhere in the world for three months and on sabbaticals, assuming that family life allowed me to do that anyway.
So that was the end of the tenure track for me. I have never regretted it for a second. I see my husband doing his residency and I am just glad that I am far away from that slave-driven lifestyle myself (as far from it as I can be while being married to it, and having a full time job myself, I mean.)