What weighs us down?
In academia, there’s oftentimes a severe lack of career and lifestyle expectations. After graduation, if you want to pursue an academic career you have to become a post-doc. I am not a strong believer in the post-doc system. I think that the pressure of not having any job security encourages competitiveness rather than collaboration. Most people are passive about it, some people leave, and a small minority thrive off it. Being a world-class researcher is a necessary condition to remain in the system, but it's is not sufficient: even if you're really good you’re not guaranteed a position. It reminds me of a comparison to elite cooking schools where there are people with the restaurants and there are the people who want to be there. They don’t get paid much because on the one hand they are passionate and so choose to stay on, and on the other hand they’re easily replaceable.
In theoretical physics you are taught that academia is the cool thing to do; the higher destination, and usually people don't even want to talk about alternatives. Everyone follows role models of very successful people without knowing the pain it takes to get there. But we can’t all be profs, the ratio doesn’t work. The average age to become a professor is around 40 - give or take. You retire around 65 or 70, having an average of 3-4 simultaneous PhD students. A PhD takes four years. If all PhD students pursue academic careers, that means that for every 30 students a professor has graduated, by the time they retire they’ve only freed up one position with about 30 people competing for the spot. This is tough, and usually none of those students have been told that, and no one knows how to deal with that level of stress.