Sunday, October 10, 2010

'Cos That's Where the Big Bucks Are

Apparently I have one thing in common with N. Greg Mankiw, Professor of Economics ar Harvard and serial opeddist at the New York Times.  No: I am not a superstar professors whom students carry around on their shoulders.  And I'm not the author of textbooks that yield goldmine royalty checks (my last royalty check was for, I think, $138.50).

But bear with me here.  In my last working year  before I joined a University faculty, I was a newspaper reporter.  And rather well paid by the standards of the time: I knocked back $11,500 that year which put me at or near the top of earners in my city room (I think: but unlike my present employer, for whom you can find all salary data on line, we were famously protective of our own earnings numbers at the time).

The dean hired me at the law school for $13,500.  I was his cheapest hire that year to the tune of a couple of thousand dollars and my suspicion is that I lagged behind for a long time thereafter.  Still, it was a cool $2,000 --a 17 percent kick--more than I had been earning previously for a job in which (though I think I worked hard) still I had a lot less stress and more perks*

Which brings me back to Greg Mankiw.  One thing we have in common in our teaching careers: we did it for the money.  And I thought I was the only one.

For Further Reading:  Some earlier thoughts on what other than money might motivate people to work may be found here.
*All this took place a long time ago.  Surveying my more recent situation and adjusting for inflation, I'd say I'm actually a step ahead.  Certainly better than I would have been had I stayed in journalism where, except t the celebrity level, salaries have collapsed.

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