Suckers not slackers

July 2, 2004

Tim Birkhead's piece on the sucker spectrum was long overdue (Professional, June 11). Sarah Vickerstaff's letter (June 25) on junior staff taking up the slack when glitterati research transfers take place is timely.

One thing more: the real suckers are long-established teachers who watch it all happening and have to develop high-level stoicism. They are the ones whose "nos" are not believed, whose long tenure is seen as exploitable, whose research interests are invisible, whose all-roundness is out of favour, and who end up writing and delivering a lot of the stuff.

They don't need the money because they've paid the mortgage and the children have fled the nest: what else have they got to do except be decent and nice (for which read suckers)?

The ego-maniacs inhabit the middle of the spectrum, while the suckers, too young or too old, inhabit the top and bottom.

Stuart Hannabuss
Aberdeen Business School

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