hourly wage?

It occurred to me recently that while my wage may be quite high (even as an assistant professor) my hourly wage may not be. So I’ve decided to do a little calculation. Two weeks into next semester I’m going to start counting my hours (I figure two weeks in because then the semester will actually “start”). I’ll do that for a month. And then see how much I make an hour. Anyone want to join me?

I’m not sure it will tell me anything. I’m also not sure what the effect of counting my hours could be. It could go either way. Either it will occur to me that I waste a lot of time and I’ll try and be more efficient, or I’ll be “amazed” at my hours and then start to try to make them even greater, by wasting more time.

I don’t intend to read my hourly wage as “what I’m worth” (and then get upset about how I’m really worth more than that and the world needs to appreciate my work more). I actually believe that as an academic I get paid in lots of non-salary ways: like time off, flexibility of schedule, satisfaction, intellectual stimulation, interacting with young people who challenge me, status, etc. And while those “payments” don’t always pay out (that recent letter from a student, for example!), they more often than not do. My job is better than most jobs I could be doing. So the calculation is just a curiosity, not a way to lay the groundwork for misplaced outrage.

4 thoughts on “hourly wage?”

  1. I had an estimate of how many hours the Stata book on which I am a co-author took, and I’ve since every year calculated the wage implied by the total royalties received. Although the book has been by all accounts very successful, last year was when I finally passed the standard wage for an undergraduate student hourly.

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  2. jeremy,
    the trick is to think of it as the present value of the royalty stream at the time you wrote the book. if you factor in a discount rate you’re probably making at least $2/hr less than the sum of the nominal values.

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  3. I once figured out how much I make per hour for cleaning house compared to our cleaning lady, who comes for two hours every two weeks. I will never, ever figure out an hourly wage again.

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  4. Of course, along with all of the difficult-to-quantify ways that you get rewarded for work as an academic come all of the difficult-to-quantify ways you -work- as an academic.

    I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time shutting of my inner sociologist – and I’m only in my second year of grad school. Hence, me making this post at 6:15am (although that’s only about three hours after my usual bedtime).

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