I got my first proper job in 1983, returning from Boston where I'd worked really hard for buttons to get my doctorate, I secured the penultimate job in population genetics in England before that sub-discipline sunk beneath the tsunami of molecular biology. It wasn't a great job as regards salary - I think it was a tad over £8,000/year - but it was a three year contract which allowed me to get experience teaching and carrying out independent research, It was the Thatcher years and all sorts of incentives were being showered on the middle classes or those who aspired to join that club. A, with hindsight shameful, policy to sell off the state-owned housing stock was coupled with a scheme called MIRAS Mortgage Interest Relief At Source. This plan allowed ordinary people to buy a home and offset a good part of their mortgage repayments against whatever income-tax they were paying. If you were renting - no dice.
After three years finding my feet and getting my
At about the same time, the Conservative government decided that academics were not being paid enough and all workers in the University / Polytechnic sector were given a 25% pay hike over two years 15% + 10%. We'd been doing alright up to then and living within budget, so this was windfall money. I promptly went out and bought a Technics stereo system from Japan. In doing so I helped contribute to the death of the electronics industry in the UK to follow steel, coal, cotton, pottery, ship-building into post-industrial oblivion. Very slow hand clap.
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