Laurie Taylor Column

January 19, 2007

Regulations that came into force last October mean that academics can now apply to work beyond the age of 65. Would you choose to work on after the normal retirement age? The Times Higher interviewed a representative sample.

Professor D. W. B. Sidewinder University of Lovely Seaside

Q. Now that you're approaching 65, have you given any thoughts to life after work?

A. I must say that as time goes by in this job, I become more and more concerned with the hereafter.

Q. With life after death?

A. Not exactly. No, it's more a question of sitting down at my desk every morning and then wondering what I'm here after.

Professor R. S. W. Comstock University of Beautiful Country

Q. Do you feel that you should soon be making way for the younger generation?

A. Not at all. In fact, if you ask me there's a very patronising attitude towards those who are older and wiser. Only the other day I received a call from a university where I was due to give a lecture. Some young whippersnapper had the impudence to ask whether I would need any audiovisual aids. "Certainly not", I told him. "I may be getting on a bit, but I can still see and hear perfectly adequately."

Q. That put him in his place?

A. Pardon?

Dr L. E. G. Tomelty University of Exciting Night Life

Q. Do you feel ready for retirement?

A. Indeed I do. There are so many tell-tale signs that the end is near. So very many. I find myself sitting at my desk wondering whether or not it is all worthwhile, whether I've finally reached the end of my tether, whether I can muster the energy for yet another whole day.

Q. And how old are you at the moment?

A. I'm 22.

MaureenDepartmental SecretaryUniversity of Poppleton

Q. Do you feel that on the whole academics should retire as soon as there is clear evidence that they're unable to carry out the basic requirements of their job?

A. No comment.

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