I’m coming up to an anniversary of sorts. It’s four years since I took early retirement, leaving my employment with Robert Gordon University. I’d been asked to move in a different direction, far away from social policy. I thought that I could do more of the things I cared about if I worked independently. Since then, I’ve finished three books plus one (the fourth, currently in press, will be out in March), had a semester in Poland, attended conferences in France and Italy (but can’t afford the SPA conferences), and had three research contracts. I’ve also passed a small personal milestone, with more than four thousand citations recorded on Google Scholar. The work goes on.
One thought on “Four years of independent work”
Congrats on that. I have a friend, ex GP who is now a counsellor/therapist. Whilst he is fully accredited, his financial status is such that he can act and think more independently than those counsellors for whom it is “bread and butter” (e.g. he charges significantly less than the recommended fee). I have always believed that one of the most pervasive and effective methods of “social control” occurs via the world of employment. Whether you are an academic (where “academic freedom” and “research objectivity etc” are part of the professional DNA), an accredited medical professional or, at the other end of the “food chain”, a worker in a call centre or Amazon etc, employers seek to control what we say, do and think, explicitly and implicitly. Politicians at junior level function as “party spokespersons” feart of deviating from official party lines (ref: your other article where party leaders are dominating the GE campaign and the link with constituency MPs as individuals is negated). We need more people in our society who are well-connected but free of “managerial control” who can add to the rich colour and diversity of knowledge in our society. That is why “early retirement” in the right (financial) circumstances can be liberating for the individual and for society.