It's bad, yeah. During my first year of grad school, I thought the situation was ripe for journalists to come in and expose the terrible conditions young scientists were expected to operate in. Then I realized that there's somewhat of an institutional buffer that had long been installed, and there's some validity in the "right of passage" approach. But the pedestal I used to put academia on has since eroded into significant disdain.
It's like someone around here hinted at years ago (COUGHmkCOUGH); If you can just obtain your pedigree and move on, that's almost all that matters. Doors will open. And demonizing industry, like I used to do, is quite silly. Although, I did meet a guy from JP Morgan at a party last week, played hard to get, and then talked mad shit about him and financial companies in general later that evening.
A current teacher at my old high school saw my little bio at a small museum (of sorts), found me on f-book, and invited me to give a presentation to her current science classes. It went really well, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was somewhat perpetuating the problem, in that I was quite selective in the information and perspective I gave during the Q&A session on life as a scientist, and grad school especially. I told them it wasn't easy, you had to be able to stomach the maths, and that you're almost never off the clock when you're payed to think. But I didn't mention the kid in the office next door to mine who hung himself, the multiple breakdowns that I've experienced, how I probably couldn't do it without my girl to anchor me, the statistically poor job prospects, the exponentially growing complexity of the problems we're expected to tackle, ever-increasing competition, etc. etc. etc.