In general, if I need to choose something over some other thing I enlist the positive and negative facts of the choices and have a basic summation to find out the correct one.
Here I itemize my subjective in-mind pros and cons list. Maybe you might find it so skewed or ridiculous but these are based on my 3 years of hard core academic effort and 2 years of industry (in total of my partial effort) which might present at least some of the obstacles you would see in the both worlds.
First, I start with the academy;
- Academic life is the best with respect to freedom at work. You choose your study topic, at least to some level, you team-up and follow the boundaries of human knowledge so as to extend a bit. This is a very respectful and curious search. For sure, it is better than having a boss saying your way to go. However this freedom is subjective at some degree like the below comic
- Dresscode. Yes academy is not so certain to define a particular dresscode for you, in most cases. You are free to put on your comfortable shorts and flip-flops and go to your office to work. However, it should be pointed out that present industry also realized the idiocy of strict dresscode policies and it provides better conditions for the employee as well. But still not comparable with the academy.
- Travel around the world with conferences, summer-schools, meetings, internships with low-cost. Meet people around the globe and feel the international sense.
- Respectful job. It urges the sense of respect as you say you are an academic and people directly deem you intelligent higher than some level, thanks to great scientist ancestors.
- Set your schedule. Schedule of an academic is more whipper and you have a bit of freedom to define your work time.
- Teaching. It is really great to envision young people with your knowledge and experience. Even-more, it is a vital role in a society since you are able to shape the future with the young people you touch.
- Elegant social circle. Being an academic chains you with a social circle populated by people having a similar education level and supposedly similar level of cultivation. That of course does not mean that the industry populated by ignorant but still living in a company is more susceptible for unfortunate minds.