Recently, I have been thinking about what I would like to do once I finish my graduate school career. I already know that I like doing research, so I was thinking of either working for a national lab or becoming a professor. Based on some information I've read on the web, becoming a professor seems like the career track I ought to take (traveling, researching what you want, working on cutting edge problems, building reputation/respect, making advancements in the field). However, I have some reservations that I would like to ask the forums: 1) There is a stigma that a lot of professors seem to lack common sense. Some people simply attribute this to being "book smart"; personally I think this is the result of not exercising another part of the brain. I am worried about going into academia for fear of losing this important skill. From experience, do those in academics inadvertently sacrifice their common sense for expertise in their area of choice? 2) How are the job prospects for professors compared to PhD's applying to national labs or companies such as GE? In my case my PhD background will be in fluid mechanics, reacting flows and CFD. 3) Is it true that professors can research "what they want"? It doesn't seem to make sense to me that a university would hire a professor so they could do whatever research they wanted. It would be more rational for them to hire a professor that is doing research that the school is looking for. 4) How is job security for professors with the background mention above vs PhD's applying to companies or national labs? I understand that once a professor is tenured it is very hard for them to get fired, but before this time period it is very unstable. 5) I have been told that the academia atmosphere is filled with political BS. Is the mentality, "publish or get fired" true even for a professor that publishes less frequently but with higher quality papers? 6) I understand that becoming a professor requires additional experiances besides earning a PhD. What are the benefits/(word for opposite of benefits) of doing a Post-Doc vs. going into industry for a few years? 7)I am fearful of going into industry for a few reasons: the first being that when someone works for a large company, the company essentially owns every idea you come up with. The second reason is that one must to research that the company desires. And finally, a lot of people in industry seem much less full-filled with their work than professors. Are these notions true or false. I think this post is long enough for now. Thoughts?