Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Impending Retirement

I should probably mention here that I am taking early retirement from my position as Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge, June 30, 2013. Partly this is due to my increasing interest in my other career as editor (for Five Rivers Publishing and as a freelancer at SFeditor.ca) and writer; partly it is thanks to the university's offer of an attractive retirement option (an incentive bonus plus a post-retirement contract that combined works out to about 80% of the salary for about 20% of the work for the next three years....); and partly reflects the fact I am, you know, getting old.

(Retirement incentive plans make a lot of economic sense for the university, because now that there is no mandatory retirement age, some of my colleagues are staying on well past age 65. Current collective agreement allows professors to collect standard raises for a total of 35 years, and merit increments as long as they are earning them, which often translates to quite significant salaries for these individuals. They could, for example, hire three assistant professors right out of the PhD program (i.e., young, current, and energetic) for the price of one of me, and probably four for the price of some of my older colleagues. So offering us a package to promise to go away, represents significant savings, especially if they just replace 2/3 of present tenured faculty.

In my case, I will officially retire and start getting my pension in July; and I will teach two courses a year for next two years, then one course the third year, to slowly taper off...this gives them time to find a replacement, and gives me time to get used to not being a professor. But I also love that it gives me time to transition into full-time editor/writer. Teaching was only 40% of my regular workload, the rest being committee work (20%) and research (40%). So teaching two courses a year frees up about 80% of my time for writing and editing, so I can continue to build that business into a living wage. I'm pretty happy about that.

Not entirely coincidentally, I have finally finished the first draft of my novel. I have explained to Mary that once I have edited the manuscript, publishers will beat a path to my door and I will thereby effectively double my retirement income, and that consequently she need have no fear about her now being the sole income for the family. Oddly, she does not seem reassured....

As it happens, today I got my assessment from my Dean on my last two years as a professor, and was pleased to find that I was rated as "Excellent" for teaching, and "Outstanding" for research. So, nice to end on a high note, rather than, say, waiting until they had to have security escort me out the door -- because I was no longer able to find the way myself.