Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hiram From Ham Lake Harumphs on Our Salary Hilarity.

Please stop this professorial pay madness. I always knew we were whiners and narcissists, but are we really reachy wannabes as well? How many of us in the humanities couldn't have gone to law school if what we wanted was a six figure salary? How many in the sciences wouldn't be at big chemical firms, how many engineers at defense contractors? C'mon, people, we know how it works--people make what they do in response to rough supply-and-demand type forces, with the occasional union or especially draconian pay freeze thrown in for good measure. More in the sciences and business schools, less in the foreign languages. We get it. You don't need to post any more public institution pay scales--we discovered these at my own uni a few years ago, and it ruined everyone's life in our department, because we couldn't DO anything about it. Anyone who knows can send you a post about what dark machinations are required to raise or lower certain salaries. I repeat--we get it. WE GET IT. STOP.

If you want something to rage about, look up. As in UP. How much does the president of your university make? How many vice presidents are there, and what do they all do? At my institution--which just closed its separate graduate school and built a football stadium--the offensive and defensive coordinators each make over $300,000 to lose half their games every year. The admin buildings have more flatscreen TVs in them than the sports bars that surround the campus, often tuned to static images.

My point is, there are forces at work well above ALL our pay grades, and that's what deserves our scorn and obsession. All that these public institution pay records do is turn us against each other and make us hate our lives. Seriously, stop this bullshit. If all we've got to complain about is how much money we make compared to proffies in other disciplines, RYS has fallen a long way indeed.