We had a retirement/going-away party for one of my co-workers yesterday afternoon. He was the first supervisor I had when I started working for Computer Services as a student worker in 2003, and as we gathered in the ballroom on the third floor of Plaster Student Union, I looked around and wondered if I would be standing there thirty years from now with my name on a cake and too many tables set up in my honour.
Part of me hopes so. As Samir says in Office Space, it would be nice to have that kind of job security. By then, my yearly raises in addition to equity adjustments in my salary (to keep in line with inflation) would put me at a fairly comfortable income level, my retirement would be well funded, and I would have been doing something I rather enjoy for thirty years.
But I don’t know that I’ll get there. The dream is, of course, to become a well-enough published author to be able to live off the income that writing provides. I recognize that, realistically speaking, this dream is unlikely. Most authors get paid about $10-20k for a book, and only write about one book a year, which is simply not enough to live on, let alone support a family.
I can dream, and if I was doing it full time, I think I could keep up a pace similar to Pratchett, who writes two books a year on average. There are so many topics I want to write on that it could easily fill my time. Regardless, I don’t intend to leave any time soon. Within my five-year plan is to write a book on the modern help desk and how our position is evolving. Where would I get my research if I left?
I’m not quitting my day job, and I certainly wouldn’t mind retiring from Missouri State University in thirty years (at the ripe old age of 51, amusingly enough), but I’m not sure my path lies only along this road.