My attention was drawn today (via Daily Nous) to this piece by Daniel McCormack on "some lesser known lessons of academia." In brief, McCormack's lessons are that academia is likely to be a good fit for you only if:
- You like working on long-term projects.
- You are good at managing your time over very long time periods.
- You don’t need to feel like you’re succeeding.
- You don’t care where you live.
- You don’t mind moving frequently, or being very mobile in general.
Aside from the obvious problem of knowing in advance (prior to spending 7-10 years in a PhD program) whether you'll be cool with any of these things, my experience is that they are all pretty spot-on, but especially #3.