Starting a New Phase of My Career
Self-control mechanisms restrict one’s choices, which one think might think reduces utility; but they raise lifetime utility by helping to overcome addiction.
One of my favorites is brushing my teeth several hours before bedtime. Since I don’t want to brush twice, this device helps me resist late-evening snacking and thus reduces weight gain. Another addiction is workaholism; but even workaholics may excuse themselves from some work if it isn’t paid. The question is: how do you avoid part of one’s pay, and thus the urge to work, without forgoing pay entirely?
Many older academics, including this one starting this week, arrange deals that allow us to be paid part-, usually half-time, and teach only one semester. Not only does this provide a self-control device that might discourage some work, but it also enhances flexibility and variety, something that economic models do not often consider but that is important to most people. Assignment: list your favorite self-control mechanism.