Wrinklies' lead ceiling

January 19, 2007

I sympathise with the (unnamed) senior lecturer who wants to have the option of working beyond 65 on account of the fact that she did not start her first full-time appointment until she was 36 ("Scrapheap still looms for those who hit 65", January 12).

I did not get my first full-time higher education appointment until I was 51 (I am now 54). I am not so bothered about the pension issue, having transferred my previous school-teaching contributions. But it does depress me that I may be forced into retirement just at the time when I am nearing my peak of research and publication. I suspect that I, and many others, still have a lot more good work to do.

People have talked about a "glass ceiling" for women, but for us wrinklies it is a ceiling made of lead. Are there some enlightened universities out there who fancy some high-class oldie talent and who will pay them the rate for the job? Somebody ought to do a survey, even if the answer is depressingly short.

David Toke.
Birmingham University

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