Seems like a good day (via) to revisit Marc Bousquet’s essay on academic labor and super-exploitation. Via Facebook.
By comparison to the twenty-year probation leading to academic tenure, police officers, kindergarten teachers, and civil servants earn tenure or job security in a year or two, often less. During training, a high-school-educated police recruit in 2009 generally earns a salary of between thirty and forty thousand dollars, or about twice what a doctoral student earns during graduate school. Today’s starting salaries for 20- or 21-year-old metropolitan police officers and state troopers are generally in the forties. They receive bonuses for completing two- and four-year postsecondary degrees, as well as tens of thousands of dollars in supplemental pay for overtime and special duty. In Cincinnati, for example, a recruit will earn $31,000/year during a six-month training period, and then begin work at $46,000. Five years later—at age 26—they will expect to earn a base pay of $56,000, or about what junior faculty in many arts and sciences fields are being offered after their twenty-year apprenticeships, in their early forties.
The 26-year-old police officer earning about the same base pay as our 40-year-old assistant professor can expect to work as little as another fifteen or twenty years, keeping up with inflation whether or not promotions are awarded, collecting additional fair compensation in such forms as the Cincinnati metro police site promises, “overtime earnings, court pay, certification pay, training allowance, and night differential pay.” The Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund estimator estimates that in 2009 a 48-year-old retiree who had done nothing to save additionally and earned just under $70,000 in his final year as a 27-year veteran would receive a pension of about $42,000. That 48-year-old would then be free to work another job—a corporate security position, or a supervisory position overseeing poorly-paid retail guards, or real estate, or whatever, earning, say $60,000 a year, for a total annual income of six figures. Or the retired officer could work part time, twenty hours a week or so, and still pull in about $80,000 or $90,000—likely quite a bit more than our largely fictional time-serving 55-year-old associate prof is pulling in on the imaginary twenty-hour work week of just showing up to teach from old notes. Pension benefits for military service and certain civil service positions are similar: your average worker aged 48 to 55 without too many promotions but with a quarter-century or more of service will be eligible for pensions of between thirty and sixty thousand dollars, or the equivalent of between about $800,000 and $1,500,000 in your Fidelity or TIAA-CREF accounts…