Advancing a diminishing payscale
Yesterday, someone told me about a new, old idea. I don't know whose idea it was, and I wasn't sure how to find it online, because I don't know what it's actually called. I'm calling it a 'diminishing payscale' for discussion purposes.
The idea is, pay assistant professors the most, and senior soon-to-be-emeritus professors the least.
Here's the logic:
1. Assistant professors are the most energetic and work the hardest. They also need money the most, so they can buy a home and start having kids (assuming we think increasing the next generation of scientists is a good thing!).
2. Instead of actually increasing in productivity as we get older, our peak is when we're postdocs/assistant professors, and after that it's all downhill.
3. Maybe we'd give people tenure right away, or they'd never agree to a system like this.
4. Older people have fewer expenses, and if they're making less and less each year, it would encourage them to retire rather than hang onto their positions.
I think it's a great idea, but as usual, it's not obvious how it could be implemented at this late date. I've met a few older professors and while some say "yeah, we need to get out of the way so you guys can have lab space", most are terrified of retiring and wouldn't rather work until they die than take up golfing. Personally I can't imagine our generation feeling that way, I think we'll be more than happy to retire if money is not an issue, but maybe that's just my own preference. I can't wait to retire!
Labels: creative solutions