I wish I had mod points, as that was a very nice summary of the US system. The only slight edit may be to also point out that even when you get to the Associate Professor level, you're so used to working full bore that it's hard to step back and enjoy/appreciate the sudden release of pressure due to job security (that you've fought so hard for for so many years). That is, what you said about that at the Full Prof level also can apply at Assoc Prof level.
Also, as someone who grew up programming an Apple ][+, I love your username. I entered that command so many times, I guess I'll never forget it.