Voices of Experience
Senior Faculty Transitions
Johnson and Johnson
Professor of Surgery, Emeritus
Deciding when to retire varies from department to department. My situation was unique. Being a surgeon is a 24/7 job. Since I was the only full-time faculty member in my division (thoracic surgery), I was always on call. I did my best to prepare the department in advance of my actual retirement. However, I precipitated a search by becoming emeritus in 1997. Immediately thereafter I was recalled to 100% duty because there was no one else.
Professor of Medicine (Hematology),
I’m probably busier now than I was when I was retired. Now I see patients, do research and teach. Also I’ve just received two new grants. I changed from being a ‘lab rat’ to becoming a clinical investigator – something I thought I’d never do. At a certain point it became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to get grants for my basic lab research , so I switched gears. Now I draw upon my clinical experience to obtain funding for both my clinical and research activities.
Professor of Comparative Medicine
I haven't entirely decided to retire, but I wanted to step down as Chair. I think 15 years is long enough for anyone to be chair. Retirement factors I think about are:
Can I afford it? Since I didn't start a professional life until late, contributions to a retirement fund didn't begin until about 1976 . I was working almost entirely off grant funding; research salaries are often not as high as clinical salaries. As a single parent, I had two children to put through college by myself, so there wasn't a lot of saving until that was past. More »