Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Posted by dkuehn at 7:26 AM
Amidst all the turmoil in Europe, lots of catty back and forth between Mises.org and Brad DeLong yesterday, police crack-downs, and the general nastiness of the last couple years, this was the blog post that I read yesterday that bothered me the most. Bryan Caplan was just talking about how he got his job at GMU and the very real risk that he would have gotten a much less satisfying job.
Self-interest - not greed, but self-interest - is an incredibly powerful motivation. I'm several years out from jumping into the job market, and it still worries me a lot. Like Bryan, I have a few reassurances. I've got great connections at The Urban Institute, and I'd love to go back there or a place like that, and I'm pretty sure they'd have me. The non-advocacy think tanks are high on my list, and I think their hiring is a little less aggravating than academia (which I'm also interested in - and I'm entirely open to a public policy department rather than an economics department). I'm not as well position as Bryan was when he was on the market to jump into academia. But on the plus side I'm probably more willing to work for government - depending on the job (like Bryan I'm simply not interested in government jobs where I'd have to act against my conscience - but there's a wide range of good research and data-oriented government work).
Anyway, it's years off and I think I have good prospects for certain jobs and I'm laying the best groundwork I can. But isn't that funny that of all that I read yesterday, that post "got to me" the most?
UPDATE: And as the third commenter down on Bryan's post pointed out - notice the importance of non-wage factors in Bryan's discussion of the job market. Above a basic living standard, I think it's mostly right that other factors take a lot of precedence. If nothing else, there are incredibly important compensating wage differentials associated with whether people can drag themselves out of bed every day to do the work.