This study is an empirical and a theoretical contribution to academic labor market research in the social and educational sciences. The main focus is the situation of young academics who teach at German universities. Both the role of research and teaching in the academic labor market as well as opportunities for professional development in academia and beyond for those who teach are investigated. The study reveals how structures of the academic labor market, including academic culture, affect career decisions and development opportunities of young academics. The findings demonstrate how academics reconstruct the relation between teaching and research in their practice and how they seek new ways in making teaching meaningful in their working lives. The monograph proposes a model for evaluating the agency of academics and identifies the potential for social innovations in academia.