I do not think it is the work itself that is hard, I think it is the working conditions that make it hard. One of these working conditions involves having to listen to warnings about how hard it is and so on, and how you need to feel that it is hard.
I had to respond to this, and here is what I wrote:
This is SO true. I was at a committee training session last week, and the person conducting it kept repeating, “I know that you are all horribly busy, I know that all of you barely have a moment to breathe, I know that all of you have too many obligations as it is. . .” Maybe this was supposed to sound reassuring or something but, to me, it just sounded like something was wrong with me because I didn’t feel all that busy, had ample time to breathe, read, blog and take walks, and didn’t have all that many obligations.
I just hate this idea that unless you act the role of a permanently exhausted academic, you will be seen by everybody as an underachiever and a non-productive person. I fulfill all of my work-related obligations very well, and it doesn’t make me all that horribly tired or busy. I don’t think this makes me a bad academic or a weird person.
I recommend that you read Z’s post in its entirety because I find it very insightful and refreshing.