August 7, 2013

"There is absolutely nothing worse than the stereotypical old fart in the cluttered office telling people 'It’s all crap!!!'—while pulling down, year after year, a handsome if static salary..."

"... and I’m perilously close to that. In classical Chinese philosophy there is an oft-repeated motif of the sage who writes a book and then departs beyond the frontiers, never to be seen again. Perhaps 7DS is that [non-]book."

So writes 62-year-old Philip Schrodt, who retiring from his tenured prof job at Penn State and setting up shop as an independent consultant.

7DS = "Seven Deadly Sins of Quantitative Political Analysis/The Web Site."

(I got to Schrodt's screed via Paul Caron.)

I'm 62, by the way, and last night I had a dream about someone trying to talk me into retiring, so it's odd running into this today. If you read between the lines chez Schrodt, you'll see he's energized about keeping more of the money he brings in. (I don't think he says anything about the pension he's going to collect, but that has to be part of the economic analysis upon which he's run the numbers.) He's also tired of what he's calling the "authoritarian" governance at his university and it's Sandusky-sullied reputation. And he's sick of academic journals:
I’d like to think I’m still doing research that is interesting, but once the work is written, it is out there on the web where anyone can find it, so why go through the agony of dumbing down the work for a major journal which will then hide it behind a paywall?
It's best to set up your work life so that the efforts you expend create the motivation to do more. If there's pointless drudgery and you don't have to do it, it's lazy not to change. You may imagine that laziness feels good, but slogging along doing things you don't value is deadly, and if you don't need to do it for the money, especially if the alternative is intrinsically energizing and more lucrative... honey, how come you don't move?

7 comments:

AaronS said...

Dovetails nicely with the Don/Dawn post in that here a person is doing what the people surrounding him proclaim is normal only to discover that it was in fact abnormal. Don sought to be a woman because that was where he had convinced himself he would fit in and fulfill his true self and everyone agreed. The prof published in places that few pay attention to because he understood them to be places where one shares their wisdom and everyone agreed.
It's good to be disagreeable sometimes.

cubanbob said...

Philosophy aside, if you are sixty two and healthy you will probably live another twenty five years. Stick around for a few more years and bank the money. In these times it's the safe bet.

Eugene Cis said...

great post ! I think read on of the best post.....................thanks

Ann Althouse said...

"In these times it's the safe bet."

Claiming your own time right now is something you can't bank. A professor, at 62, is entitled to a pension, which will last as long as he lives.

The other thing is just the sense that someone else ought to get your job... a sort of "term limits" concept.

There's not much talk about this idea because "age discrimination" is illegal, under statutory law, but aging longtermers ought, on their own, to think about the ethics of clinging to a job. In Schrodt's case, he saw himself teaching young people a subject about which he wanted to say "this is bullshit." I think that's about the methodology of his field, the quantitative analysis he was doing.

In law school, the perception that "this is bullshit" isn't dysfunctional. You're reading the court cases... not writing them....

Bob said...

Did you read between the lines that an important element in his thinking was that he thought he could make more money, with his pension plus consulting work, than he was making working as a professor? He didn't really say anything about that.

Maryland Geezer said...

"It's best to set up your work life so that the efforts you expend create the motivation to do more. If there's pointless drudgery and you don't have to do it, it's lazy not to change. You may imagine that laziness feels good, but slogging along doing things you don't value is deadly, and if you don't need to do it for the money, especially if the alternative is intrinsically energizing and more lucrative..."
-- Althouse

True.

XI. Know Thy Alternative.
-- Me

Also true.

cubanbob said...

"In these times it's the safe bet."

Claiming your own time right now is something you can't bank. A professor, at 62, is entitled to a pension, which will last as long as he lives."

I hope the plan your pension plan is adequately funded. Not trying to be smart but today who really knows?