Despite our moans about hours of work, pay, and pensions, being an academic is still the best job in the world for those of a particular temperament and talents. It can be worth the struggle and risk simply to have a decent shot.
And not even a decent one is worth it. Yes, it’s a gamble, but what isn’t? The payoff is fantastic if you get it. And it’s not like you risk much anyways.
I honestly don’t think I would have been able to have a career in anything else. My only alternative is something like free-lance translation.