Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

English Dressage

The Call to England went through immediately today, and Mum was watching Rolf Harris supervise some vast number of artists each painting a part of "The Hay Wain" and then it was all going to be nailed together somewhere in London - must see if it makes the news tomorrow. Otherwise the big event was that they found a bottle of gin to provide her with a toddy last night. The darker side of English Nursing Homes no doubt.

It seems as though there is a lot of talk about academic wear. I don't know if it started at the Common Review, though I see it discussed by, among others, Jimbo , Frogs and Ravens, in Favor of Thinking, and Dr. B, and so I guess I will follow New Kid on the Hallway, and post a little.

Perhaps I am motivated by the comment "Administrators make ordinary academics look dashing. This, in part, explains why deans, deanlets, and random lifeforms who are awarded their own administrative assistants are located as far away as possible from the actual students. This is carefully arranged to ensure that the university system can continue to operate. If young people coughing up tuition got even so much as a glimpse of the powers that be, they would rise up with pitchforks and torches. Best to keep the administrators in their cozy offices and out of view."

Bear in mind Gentle Reader that when I was at English Boarding School teachers wore gowns, when I went to college lecturers wore gowns and suits. (For those who aren't aware English gowns are open - hence the need to wear the suit underneath - even on hot days) Thus when I came here I also wore a suit to lecture. (I had the pompous attitude that since the students were paying me to teach I had better turn up in a suit) I maintained that until this past year when, for the first time I taught in a shirt and khakis. However since I fall in the "random lifeforms" category that has an Administrative Assistant, I might just mention that most of us, since we interface with a public that we would like to think might give us money, still usually wear suits, or fairly legitimate jackets or skirts and many still wear white shirts and ties.

There has been a major change toward the polo shirt attire and its equivalent recently, but as a general rule they are still quite respectable and seem to be following a general trend in the populace. Sartorially the world has changed a lot in the past three decades, and I don't sense the pressures on appearance that there were three decades ago. I don't think dressing for students makes much impression on them, but I think that how you dress does have some impact with colleagues.

Were it not that I am heading out for another trip tonight, I would have started to put up a blogroll, since I get the feeling that it makes moving around a lot easier than referring to a three-page long Bookmarks list, but I just ran out of time.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Enjoying life.

The good and the bad of the week. Being a little mellow let's start with the bad and then we can end as contented as I start. To cover a couple of points I mentioned earlier in the week, it turns out that where I saw another Division giving out heftier raises than the funds I was given to disperse they had done it by dismembering an unfilled position to generate the money - not sure if I would do that any longer, though I once did in the past, we are just too close to critical mass.

I may inadvertently to quote today's snide memo have made an "enemy-for-life" of the Boyar. I thought that being Chair of that little Committee was a relative sinecure with only a small agenda. Oh, silly, silly me. Of all the trivial, idiotic concerns for senior academia I found we were arguing about where the dossiers reside - so I did the Chair rules bit thinking the whole thing was absurd. And suddenly the air got chilly again (at least when I met the Boyar this afternoon). If this blog should suddenly disappear . . . . (I tried to make a similar facetious comment to the Duchess but I am becoming more convinced that she has absolutely no sense of humor - pity).

So being a little irritated the past two nights I have been consuming the first two books of "The Black Magician" trilogy by Trudi Canavan, and as I write the third volume sits by the keyboard (and Barahunda is going through "Al Son de La Hierba" and backup CD's are gently burning Scottish pipe music).

Thanks to profgrrrl I have saved a fair bit of time in backup up of what's on each of them. It is one of the mindless things i have done this week, while working on other stuff. The other has been to get more of my slides scanned in (and backed up to CD's) so that I can finally catalog 39 years work (including dissertation I hasten to add) and use all the nifty pictures I took and have had lost in drawers and carousels etc.

What with the rest during the past two nights and sneaking in a little late this morning I actually (lower voice and close door) found myself whistling as I scanned while simultaneously writing the review for the Michigan folk. It extended into the White Paper for Indiana and the first part of the initial lecture being prepared for next week. The only irritant to the day was the meeting this afternoon where Boyar expressed his irritation. The only concern is that the throat is acting up again, I had hoped it was going away but the Administrator commented on it yesterday so I had better go see the ENT lady next month, Rabbits !
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

At least it was free

Breakfast meeting this morning with a visiting wheel. There were supposed to be six of us doing the Rah! Rah! bit but in the end only the Duke, the Duchess and I were there with the personage. The Duke was in full flood and hard to interrupt so in the end I just enjoyed the food.

Then back for class, and this is the core lecture of the course and they all got it, and life was good. Then the wheel showed up for a tour and that also went well, though a little short.

Called Michigan to find out about the work we had discussed and they said the contract was shipped two weeks ago. However after doing the simmering wrath bit it turns out that we only got it yesterday. Got the White paper sent up to Washington, and they seemed to like it, but it is year end money and who knows what we are competing against. But still I was in a good mood as I headed off for an Admin meeting. And I found that whereas we had been told that we could only give x% raises unless we were highly creative within the pot (which I was and squeezed out about another percent on average), that this apparently was not so in other Divisions who were able to go to multiples of this. There are apparently a number of other folk also rather upset about this, as this news now starts to percolate out. So I wrote the usual intemperate e-mail and sadly folk seem more concerned with burying the issue and shutting up the discussion rather than being more open and addressing the fairness and honesty issues - but why should I be surprised ?

So instead of writing the second White Paper tonight, or doing the lecture notes for next week I read (again) Trudi Canavan's "The Magicians' Guild" the start of the trilogy, the final volume of which has just been acquired.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

How's my back

About eighteen months ago while we were completing a project for a company, they asked for a letter from the Dauphin to elucidate a point. At about three-month intervals since they have written asking for the letter, and each time the Dauphin admits to having dropped the ball and promises to get it done. About a couple of weeks ago for a reason that escapes both of us they sent a letter to Hatless asking his help in getting the letter. At which point the Dauphin suggested that a little help might be useful. So I sent an e-mail to him this afternoon with a suggested wording, and then dropped by while he retyped it back into another e-mail that, despite my suggestion that letterhead might be better, he happily sent off, comfortable in the thought that he had solved another problem. I went back to my office inarticulate.

Then the Specialist came in and said that the White Paper sent to Indiana had failed to understand the politics of what we proposed, and if we wanted to follow through we had better propose something else. So that takes care of tomorrow. I must also delicately probe to find out what are the bounds of the committee that the Boyar has landed me with chairing. The format of the recommendations change with recipient and so I suspect I had better go and genuflect before the Prince in the morning. And somewhere in there I also have to correct and post the lecture notes - not only for this week, but also with sound for next, since I will be gone again. (There was some problem with Blackboard and the files, so I need to distribute CD's of the lecture - though I will probably just leave a copy with the Administrator so that they can come in and download it to their own files).

I think it is time to find a comfy corner and read a bit more of Jane Lindskold's "Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart." I have been reading it for about five days having read the earlier book "Through Wolf's Eyes" on the trip. I thinkthatt means I will need to go out and find the final volume sometime soon.

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So I lied

Well it started off a beautiful day, except that I was, for some obscure reason, elected some time ago to give a group of visitors a tour. I dutifully arrived at the start on time - Nada. So I sat in the warm sun and enjoyed the day until some High School Kids showed up. Were they my group ? Nope, but since I was there . . . . .

Back to the office just in time to get get the notes for class - not bad, but not really connected. Then e-mails and minor stuff until a phone call from Washington (the State) - can we do a particular thing. Bless my socks, we did that a few years ago, as a bit of fun. We even, somewhere, have photos. So now I have to write a frantic White Paper that might gain us a small amount of Year End money - maybe. But then another phone call.

"Professor X, this is Hatless."
"Yes, Good Sir ?"
"Professor Y at Western U is taking a census and will keep all this confidential, with no names attached."
"O.K.?"
"It's about the age of the faculty and when they are going to retire!"
"Oh!"
"So you are xx."
"Er, No actually - I'm xy."
"So when are you planning to retire?"
Dear Readers I must confess, I lied.

After hanging up I realized that while he stated that Prof Y had agreed to keep it confidential, Hatless in fact had not. Hmm!


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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Calling England and California

Apparently it has been raining in the UK since I left the glorious weather of last weekend. Thus when the Traveller went up to see Mum this weekend their travel was cut back by the weather. We had driven around the previous Friday seeing a lot of rowan berries, thereby foretelling a hard winter. I exchanged notes on the Teacher since I had not gone back to see Mum after seeing her. It was a keep-in-touch call with neither of us saying much.

Tonight we used the services of iChat to drop in on the Engineer, and the Actress serenaded him, as he looked on through the camera, with her new skill on the flute. To cut off interference in the sound feedback he used his sound-cancelling headphones, which appear to work better than the ones that I bought at Heathrow, but won't likely use very often. He looked well, and appears to be enjoying the start of a new semester out there. A gentle cough brought forth the thought that he might finish his research in a couple more years. Not many other comments of note, he won't be here for Thanksgiving but will for the end of the year.

Loreena McKennitt is gently working through the Book of Secrets as a background. I seem to manage about 10 CD's a night in backing up the music on this drive, but am afraid that I have about 300 disks to write so it may take a while. Tried to transfer some of the Actress's favorites to iTunes on her eMac but found that when you write the backup disks the titles only show when you reload it in the original machine. In other words on hers all I get is Audio Disk and Track 1 etc. Rabbits! That meant that I was typing in the original titles for ten Herb Alpert LP's and dashing between this machine and hers alternately creating the disks on one and then loading them into her iTunes on the other. (Yes I know i could have moved large files with the laptop, but this way I could check the quality of the CD's as I made the backups). Now perhaps I should go and read the manual (iLife for Idiots) to find out how to get around this. Consciously trying to forget that tomorrow is almost here.

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Snapshot Evaluations

As is the case for many others this is a time to put together the pictures of past performance for review. I must needs do this, not only for myself, but also for the unit I administer. As it happens by the criterion of research dollars, one of the metrics, last year we did about half our usual average. It was partly due to events elsewhere siphoning off a large amount of normally available funds to a far-off land with lots of oil (though a lot of that seems currently to be going up in smoke). So the review will have this as a significant component of our/my failure given that others have seen significant increases. The negative winds are already blowing cold as I prepare the report. What it will not reveal, since it has all happened since the end of the last fiscal year, is that we are now closer to the other extreme.

So after going off on a trip to evaluate some equipment this morning we had a full meeting after lunch to decide how to address the new problems (which include the mystery of where we can find the students we now need - in the next month). Then there were three specific project meetings to address start-up issues and a phone call to postpone another technical visit on a fourth project, and it was already way past "closing time". And given the need to ensure this happy state continues there are three White papers that need to be submitted before I leave at the end of next week. Class prep ? Isn't that what weekends are for ?

And to think that a week ago I was comfortably relaxed in an English pub garden as part of two blissful days away from this treadmill. It is almost as though it were a dream.

This week's wine is a Cote de Rhone, Domaine d'Andezon 1998, and if you have the chance give it a miss. Not my type at all. And so with Nanci Griffith about to find "Trouble in the fields" as I backup more of the tapes to CD it is time to find something that needs no thought.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Spending time

So I started to meander around looking to see what fun other folk have been having while I was away and found profgrrrl, Dr. H and others putting together the hours that they spend on different things during the week. It used to be one of my pet soap boxes. Not about the number of hours we have to spend, but because at this place we fill out a form each semester that has to divide effort by percentages and must add up to 100%.

Now this is a bit of a problem for those of us who do Federally funded research since the Government has this form you have to fill out that says that you spend a certain amount of hours a week on their problem and that this is charged as a certain percentage of your time (usually based on a 40-hour week). Well most faculty work around 56 hours a week so when you are trying to squeeze this into the equation you occasionally find that you are putting down that you spend 10% of your time teaching a 3-hour class which, as we all know is a figment. And so we are forced by our Admin to lie, or to write disclaimers on the form that the University lawyer does not find amusing at all. Currently we are all pretending that this problem has gone away, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Over the years, and oddly usually in February, I keep track of how I spend a month - which since I have an Administrative component to what I do is informative, since it rarely stays the same from year to year. Its a fairly rough measure but quite revealing if done honestly (and no-one else ever gets to see it). When I started I felt guilty about the amount of time I spent reading and it may have changed my habits since I don't read journals as much as I did. It is something worth doing if you have a Day-timer or similar on your desk to scribble in.

As for today we met the Belgians early and were able to give them signed agreements before they left at 10 to fly back. We start the work on Monday - so there will be a meeting tomorrow to assign staff to different projects and to make sure we don't short change any of the faculty or any of the other ongoing work. Then it was helping a new faculty to write his first proposal here, then a note for the folks in Michigan - there is some confusion as to whether we should have started work yet. A monthly report for the folks from Ohio and I decided it was time for an early day (at 4 pm).

The evening has been spent burning CD's of some of the taped music I had transferred to itunes (and thence to the ipod) since the only locale for that effort was on the hard drive of the iMac that died the other week. It being resurrected I am now backing up 25 gig of music - so if I am not seen for the next week or so . . . . . . .

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Second Day

Usually jet lag hits me worst the second day after travelling. The first day I am fairly up, but the second I just seem out of it, then it sort of goes away. So today is it. And the Belgians come at 9:00 am and my class is at 10:15. (I missed picking up another student while away since he wasn't aware of the hours). Got Powerpoint up and running and so was all ready to go give the lecture when we realized that the projector was needed for Discer to present to the Belgians. Too late to get another, so the lecture was a bit weak. However I still remember how to use a blackboard and so it wasn't too bad, if different from what I had planned.

The discussions went off well, to the point that after starting by telling us what they wanted, we had a plan by early afternoon, a schedule and then a budget. And gasp when we called the contracts office they had a draft agreement from last time over in ten minutes. The Administrator stayed and by 5:30 pm we had an agreement ready for signature in the morning. Discer, a recent hire, will be Principal on the contract, and I will contribute my two cents as needed. She made most of the play today, and it went very well, though I helped keep everything on schedule and did the budget for her. The Belgians leave at 10 tomorrow to go back. Fastest negotiation I think I have ever done. In the middle of it the guy going to give us a deal for my new toy called, and after I reminded him that I wasn't too plastered last week to forget the discount he had promised, he was kind enough to remember and offer it again. The guy from Michigan also rang with a need to talk - but there was no time.

And a colleague going to China on Saturday asked us to make some unique items that he could take and that would be representative of the University. He came over to see what we thought might be appropriate, just as we were going out to lunch and so we agreed on a design, which must now be done tomorrow. I asked the Administrator to start putting a catalog of items together and a price list since this is getting to be a bit too much of a habit for folk to think we do this for almost nothing in no time at all.

After discovering that an enthusiastic welcome home left me more worn than usual, today I started exercising in the morning again. Now all I have to do is to get up early enough to be able to finish the exercise tape before it is time to leave the house. And after the Belgians leave in the morning I have to work out the schedule for the review committee that Boyar nominated me to head while I was gone, and then persuaded the rest to go along - bunch of rat finks since it is likely to be a bit raucous as it involves performance reviews as well as relative evaluations.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Fact and Fiction

Near the beginning of this blog I was reading the fifth book of the Glasswright series by Mindy Klasky. It was the weakest of the five, but I have enjoyed the series. It is relationally amusing in that a couple of years ago at an earlier Conference we met a graduate student who worked in glass. Even as the Klasky heroine made a dramatic change in her world, so I think that our own Glasswright will change hers. She is still a small way from graduating, though a tragic change in her academic environment may delay this a little. After the conference I dropped by her campus, and visited her atelier, though she was still away.

In chatting with her Department Head it is apparent that they are anxious to get her graduated and on the staff, while she on the other hand is not certain where there might be an opening when she is finished. She had done something that solved a possible problem we have been looking at. Thus on my return I have chatted with a couple of my colleagues in other Departments than mine and we may venture into a collaboration, if it can be arranged. I don't know if anything can be arranged, since a lot of this is outside of our obvious areas of work, but it could be fun. We are going to try a little test this week and then I will write my note of thanks to the Glasswright's Head and see if we can't move forward.

During the time that I was in Europe I also visited Mum and the Teacher. While visiting Mum, and manoevering the wheelchair into the car, I took out the bag with the laptop in it. Which promptly got run over. So after flying back I had to detour last night via the Apple Store and get a new one, since I must use it on the morrow for the presentations both in class and for the visit of the Belgians. Mum is looking healthier and more agile although more self-centered in her conversation that in the past.

The Teacher is now taken by the social services to a hospital once a week for monitoring and review (I remember Dad going through the same process as Alzheimers started to bite) and is already being advised about moving from her house into some form of care. While I was there the local visitor dropped by for the evening to ensure she was OK. Since it will be about eight months before I can return, this may be the last time that I visit her in her home. She was actually better mentally it appeared that when I saw her last four months ago, but the house is now bedecked with signs put up to remind her of what to do. Would that we were closer.

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A Public Farewell

While travelling I had three posts that I wanted to make, but could not and I lost the drafts, so I will try and reconstruct them before returning to the present and the Gotcha that my colleagues played in my absence (remember Boyar).

Thirty-two years ago a nascent science held its first major conference in Europe. Among those attending was a junior assistant prof from America and a graduate student from Germany. We really did not get to know one another well until the fourth of these biennial conferences, when he suggested we call each other by first names (a bigger deal in Europe back then). From then on we met, chatted, swapped information and helped organize some things at about yearly intervals all around the world.

Last week he announced that this would be his last Conference. He is going to make a clean break at the end of the year and be gone. His University (where he stayed and moved up through the ranks) is budget bound and so he will not be replaced. It is unlikely that we will meet again.

And so, at the end of the conference, it was I who came forward to praise the Kaiser in the last act of the meeting. I began to talk about his work, his students and his influence, beginning by looking directly at him. But as I spoke it became harder to go on, and I looked away, and truncated my remarks, so that I could end with dignity. He came out of the audience and we shook hands a final time. Two old folk, quietened by time and emotion.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Today ( or is it really yesterday)

Well I just posted the note I wrote yesterday, given that the 2-hour time limit died while I was writing it. For $45 I now have a whole 24 hours. But given it is 2:30 am and we just closed the bar (can't let all you young 'uns think we are totally past it) I am about to head to bed. Two papers and a Session Chair and tonight being wined and dined at one of the restaurants we walked past last night. This was better and right next to the main Opera House.

Spent bar time trying to build an alliance of folk that might just survive the hang-overs, the only problem being trying to tie European Union folk to the US. Such a crazy organization - almost all the delegates went on the evening tour, and fifteen minutes later they had the wine reception. There were all of four of us delegates there, and rows of champaigne glasses. Mellow dinner - the bar tab included buying Lagavulin at a price which instead of an eighth of an inch here would pay for half a bottle in the US. The local digestif is a Calvados variant made from Golden Delicious apples. I really think that maybe I ought to go to bed . . . .zzzzzzz

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Yesterday's news

Well isn't this the occasional reward of academe? Here I sit, on the banks of the Rhine, satisfactorily stoked with good food and wine, and with an extra hour before registration in the morning. I would sigh with delight, but all is not completely well in Wonderland.

This conference normally draws over 200 folk. This year we are at less than 80. Yikes ! Significant numbers from well-established places with neat work are not here. What is going on ? We were down a couple of years ago by a few because of 9/11 but nothing like this. And we are giving a greater percentage of the papers than we have done in the last 20 years. This may have been a bit of a self-fulfilling problem since they raised the registration a bit and this may have pushed over a limit, but still !!

Did the pre-Conference tour today, I would have given it a miss, since there was virtually nothing I had not seen before, but for us - dare I say senior - folk, there is a certain obligation to see and be seen. Having said which, we were wandering around town looking for a good restaurant (since what we found last night wasn't) when we bumped into Star, who had been somewhere else today. (Star is five years younger, as I learned tonight, and the leading light in the over-riding area that includes my work, in the Southern Hemisphere). So we went out together - good place (San Salvador in Mainz). His bombshell - they had just fired a tenured faculty due to financial exigency. And the guy they fired is a friend of ours, but one we normally only correspond with a couple of times a year. And then we discussed the problem that the relative proportions of students in most Western countries that are moving into the more practically applied scientific disciplines is dropping, the starting salaries in these industries is thus going up, and the number of students therefore going on to graduate school is becoming significantly less, making the pool for future faculty almost non-existant. In his case they had a senior position sit open for over five years, without qualified applicant. Which of course is not why we are here.

I wish I worked in glass, one of the grad students here brought one of her pieces and talked about it and what they are now doing both as art forms and technical advances. Her paper is tomorrow. She is the only person anywhere doing anything like this and . . . . I wish I could justify a post-doc. but then I probably couldn't afford her anyway. The reception being as lousy as it is I am sat by the door with the laptop in the closet barely able to get a signal, and in contrast to most places am paying $15 for two hours.. . . that are now almost up and so since it is late here in the East.

Goodnight y'all.

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Temporarily True

The blog title that is - off tomorrow to a Conference in Germany, dropping by Mum and being back here in eight days. It is probably not likely that much will get added in that time.

Today the Prince Regent began his campaign for elevation. Suddenly at our meeting, all was going to be sweetness and light in the land and there would be no more disruptions and faculty would have access to everything and . . . . .(if I felt that a banner might have been appropriate or perhaps the odd Swift Faculty for Truth commercial that would be unprofessional). He is going to be one of two likely internal candidates, the Boyar being the other. But the Boyar has been very subdued lately so he may not run. After the royal review of past, present and future, Hatless commented a little about some raises (was that a thin knife I felt slide for just a second into my ribs) and then Cracker chipped in with a specific problem and that was it.

The Dutchess thought I would have been thrilled about one bit of the Prince's news. I later e-mailed her that while I am on the committee to help appoint this new Administrator (the news) and that the position is nominally supposed to be highly supportive of us, the lessons learned from the past make it unlikely that we will see much benefit. I tied my comment to a new descriptor of my ego that has amused my small mind today. I believe I have a Balloon ego - over inflated, thin-skinned and full of hot air (also easily popped). The analogy kept me somewhat amused through the rest of the day. The Prince also talked about setting up campuses abroad - well we've exported the mining, then we exported the manufacturing, then we exported the services, then we exported the research, and now we will export the teaching - hmmm wonder what we'll have left to do ?

Sometime when I come back I need to look up our starting salaries in the different Departments. The Prince commented today that he wanted to get away from inequities, and have a more even field, and this is something that the Duchess has as an issue. But I must confess when I picked the $50,000 figure I remembered that I started at $12,500 and made a guestimate since (and I suddenly realise that this might be odd) I haven't been involved in hiring any faculty straight out of grad school in a fair while - they have all ended up having some experience. Hmmph ! Yes, now that I think about it that is very odd.

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Being nosey

In the last post I talked about the benefits of retirement and had also commented at Dr. Crazy's place . And since I could not help but noticing that some folks are younger than others (grin) I thought I would add the results of a little calculation. For those interested: If you are 25 and start at a university with a starting salary of $50,000 with an assumed raise of 3.5% a year and stay there until you are 65. If the retirement calculation is 2% times no of years at the average of the last 5 years salary, you will end up earning $197,963 in your final year and will retire with $148,015 a year or 75% of your final salary. If you were to move every five years, with a $10,000 raise each move, but otherwise with the same raise increment and the same retirement calculations, then you would retire after earning $286,362 in your last year, but with a retirement of only $114,586 or about 77% of what you would have if you stayed in one place.

If you are now 30 the numbers are final salary $166, 680 retirement income $109, 047 or 65% but with moves final salary $240,834 but retirement of only $88,640.

At 35 final salary is $140,340 with a retirement of $78,698 as against the five year move option of a final $201,158 but with a retirement of only $66,960.

Obviously I had nothing to do this morning, other than have a Personnel meeting, another student showed up to interview me, this one for an hour (is the word out I am a fossil ?) a short article for a newsletter, and now to put sound on the second of the lectures to be studied on Blackboard in my absence. Then I have just to cost another proposal and attend the first student society meeting of the year as a benevolent presence, and I can have the rest of the day off.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Falling Stars

Given the nature of the day I think I might pick up on New Kid on the Hallway's discussion on rising stars, into which I have stuck a couple of comments. I am doing so without reading the Chronicle article, but from observations here.

I have seen, with our current campus administration that, more than many, some of the top members have been focussed on issues that build their own resumes. This has, of course, always been true, and is understandably commonplace. However it brings with it a logic that a new set of stars should be formed with each change, since it is difficult to claim credit for a "rising star" who is already here when the new administrator takes over. Further in a world of constrained budgets after a while the resident star is consuming resource that could be used to create a new "rising star" for which the current Admin could claim credit. (It's the same thing with bridges and politicians - nobody gets their name on a maintained bridge). Plus one gets credit if one attracts a new star, but loses little of one is hired away elsewhere. (Except in the rare case where the star is clearly arrived and very well established). Thus, unfortunately, there is not a lot of incentive for nurturing such folk all the way through at a single institution, and some incentive for them to move.

Soneone made the comment that you have to move to rise. Actually that isn't always so, we have seen a couple of folk here get respectably high after starting out as Asst Profs. But admittedly most of the stars have, after a while left. This may, or may not be to their advantage. I say this with a "rising star" having just arrived in my home Department. He has moved I think four times to get here, where he now holds a named Chair. But in getting here he has barely established a vesting in retirement at any school. Now contrast this with the old fogey that has been here for a lifetime. Under our retirement the OF (fogey being the polite version) has say 35 years times 2% times average final 5-year salary. The star has incremental retirements that are based on much lower salaries as he moved up. Admittedly he is ending with a higher salary in absolute terms (and he may well make a couple of moves after here). But after retirement he will likely be a fair bit worse off.

I offer this thought in the day that, half-way through our meeting, our current Tsar did, as they say, the decent thing, and announced the closing of his career at our instituion.

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