NY Times Magazine

C. J. Fuller cjfuller at mindspring.com
Wed Jun 7 11:46:30 EST 2000

In article < at norm.dpo.uab.edu>,
brookes at uab.edu ("Paul S. Brookes.") wrote:

>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
>I wish I had a dollar for the number of times I've heard the "if I wasn't 
>in academia I could be earning twice as much for doing the same thing" 
>argument.   Face it, the bottom line is that if you really want to earn 
>twice as much - go and do it!   There are few jobs in which the 
>"responsibility factor" is as low an in academia.  i.e. an experiment 
>doesn't work - it's not the end of the world, millions of dollars are not 
>hanging on your every decision.   Sure, we can all be envious of our 
>friends in banking, biotech, finance, e-businesses, whatever,  but everyone 
>I know in such a job is worth every penny of their salary.  And they're all 
>going to drop dead of heart attacks a lot sooner than most academics (who 
>seem to have an amazing propensity to live forever and not retire, as has 
>been discussed elsewhere in this forum).
Paul-I can tell you work predominantly in a medical school environment
from your above comments.  Those of us teaching undergrads at public
universities and trying to do research (not to mention write grants to
fund said research) and trying to do the committee/service stuff in our
"spare time" (what spare time?) have a huge responsibility factor.  The
bean counters and the State Legislatures expect us to justify our
existence on an almost daily basis.  Because I have a joint appointment, I
have to write two annual reports--in different formats and different time
frames, of course.  There are times when I think about going back to
working at a med school where I could concentrate on research and just
dabble in teaching.  However, I like teaching too much.  These days I
think more about going to a smaller school where I can just teach.  Money
is not the most important issue for me, it's personal satisfaction.  I
might make lots of money in the private sector, but at what cost?


C.J. Fuller
<mailto:cjfuller at erickson.uncg.edu>
<mailto:cjfuller at mindspring.com>

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