The Quantum Pontiff

Change We Believe In, But Tenure?

Turning down a tenured position at the University of Chicago Law School:

Soon after, the faculty saw an opening and made him its best offer yet: Tenure upon hiring. A handsome salary, more than the $60,000 he was making in the State Senate or the $60,000 he earned teaching part time. A job for Michelle Obama directing the legal clinic.

Your political career is dead, Daniel Fischel, then the dean, said he told Mr. Obama, gently. Mr. Obama turned the offer down. Two years later, he decided to run for the Senate. He canceled his course load and has not taught since.

File this one away in regards to (1) deans don’t always know what they are talking about and (2) turning down a tenured position has the potential of leading you to be one of the two leading candidates for the position of president of the United States.

You who are reading this, could you make a similar such decision?

Comments

  1. #1 Ian Durham
    July 30, 2008

    Guess I missed my chance since I’m already tenured. Oh well. Maybe I’ll run for school board or town selectman one of these days.

  2. #2 JohnQPublic
    July 30, 2008

    Well, the fact that future events made the dean’s decision wrong does not mean he was wrong at the time. Really, what was the probability that a state senator would: 1) win a national senate seat, 2) have an opportunity to speak at the 2004 democratic convention? There are a lot of random circumstances that played into this.

    How many times would the dean be right about another 100 Obamas who were in the same circumstances at the point of that conversation? The dean may have very good judgment after all.

    When I was a teenager my parents reminded me I was an idiot. But then I turned out pretty successful, to their surprise. Were they wrong? No! I was an idiot! Their judgment at the time was spot on.