Posts Tagged ‘envelopes marked TOP SECRET’

How much is a good night’s sleep worth?

February 8, 2008

So, I was sounded out for a job today, which – according to the ad – was perfect for me: needed strong maths qualifications, ability to do complex analysis and design algorithms, based in Cambridge, couldn’t ask for a nicer spec.

Unfortunately, it’s to design sensors for radar and would involve acquiring security clearance so I could work on UK defence projects. Leaving aside the question of whether they’d grant a hippy like me such a thing, the idea of working for the military seems utterly abhorrent to me.

But – I think it was Tom Stoppard said – every man has his price. I was wondering how much they’d have to pay me to force me to consider taking the job. I know I’d turn down £30,000/yr. But if they offered me £60k? I hope I’d still say no, but I’d have to think about it. Even though £60k is unlikely, what if they offered me £100,000 a year? That’s serious money, probably five times what I need to live on, and would likely set me up for life. Could I live with something I helped design being used for military purposes? Could I sleep at night? If there are moral philosophers around, let me know what you think.