A med & grad student who used to work the line in LA, NYC, SF and Napa talking about the science of cooking and cooking with science. Harold McGee's On Food And Cooking - The Science and Lore of the Kitchen never satisfied my kitchen curiosity and more than one Chef grew exasperated with my asking "Why?" I'll try to stay on topic, but you may see a kvetch or two about the school & hospital.
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If you haven't noticed before, especially from some of my finance tweets, I tend to lean to the right on Economics and Finance matters. Maybe it's the years of working Mergers & Acquisitions. Maybe it's the Econ degree. Maybe I'm just that damn greedy. Or a combination of the three. And Gimpyblog and I got into a discussion on salaries on twitter earlier (around midnight for me). I've Storify-ed the exchange here.
Which leads me to my question - why is compensation in academia so crappy? George Smoot made $149,000 last year, and Elizabeth Blackburn made just over $250,000. Dr. Blackburn would barely qualify as a HENRY - High Earner, Not Rich Yet. I certainly have my ideas as to why, as noted in the link on Storify. And salary certainly doesn't encompass all compensation, but salary can be a good marker of what total compensation is. But, if I was making more in the Finance field, doing incredibly less important work, why could I get away with negotiating higher salaries and compensations? Maybe I'm still looking at this with that M&A lens, and maybe I won't stop looking at it in that vein, but I would really love some sort of answer. $250,000 for a Nobel Prize winner just doesn't sit right with me. Especially when my bosses were walking away with seven and eight figure bonuses, on top of high six figure salaries. For buying up a paper company and liquidating its assets or putting a small chemical firm out of business.
I couldn't possibly come up with a banking and finance equivalent to the Nobel Prize, but if someone on one of those billion dollar contracts felt he was being cheated, even slightly, they would have no problems sending their resume out to other firms. I certainly did. And if my future hospital ever shafted me with the inflation adjusted equivalent of $250k after I'd won the Nobel Prize (I can dream, dammit), I would definitely start shopping my CV around.
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I think taxpayers would throw a fit. Most academics are paid by taxes and if an academic researcher was making more than the president of the United States, then I could see them getting pretty angry about that.
@Brian, shockingly, the California tax payers aren't throwing a fit over the UC Berkeley head coach being paid about an order of magnitude more than Blackburn. Now, *some* athletics pay for themselves, so maybe that's not a fair comparison. But there are other clinical profs at UCSF making nearly two million a year.
Personally, I'd be happy with 250k, even with a Nobel. If my university wanted to send another couple million my way for research, that'd be loverly, but there's only so much personal compensation I'd need- although I suppose I might need more in SF. It's hella expensive out there.
But when you put Blackburn's salary next to the coach, I can't deny I'm upset about it.
You can't compare salaries of professors and coaches. Most schools separate those accounts anyway because of the massive conflict of interest in using state funds to promote a team. Scientists will never make as much in academia as they would doing a similar job in industry. I think you will find that compensation outside of academia is more on par with other professional degrees, but that's the sacrifice you make to pursue your own research interests.
Nobel laureates do not attract that much salary because in many cases their most productive years are way behind them.
This, of course, begs the question of why the most currently productive scientists are not paid more, if they in fact bring in so much more of the ~$30B in yearly NIH funding. Why isn't there a richer market for talent?
Maybe if there was a yearly winner-take-all "NIH science tournament" we would see higher salaries.
I just have a hrad time swallowing that someone trying to solve the worlds problems being put thruu an ardouous long education and then making a difference in how we view/use/etc the world should be paid a pittance. We have Karadashians making 10 times more than a Nobel Laurate will or has ever. Just a thought
Employees who work hard will never be compensated unless the Government stops corruption.