Over at Leiter, there is an interesting chart detailing the salaries of unnamed members of an unnamed department. Go read it, then come back.
One interesting thing to notice is that there is a lot of money in being (what I can only imagine is) a young, hot-shot assistant professor. Some of those young hot-shots make only a little less than the folks who've been hanging around since the eighties.
Another interesting thing is that there is not much money in hanging around the same department for forty or fifty years. The endowed professor person who's been in the department since the sixties makes almost a hundred thousand dollars less than the full professor who was hired in the last ten years. Jesus.
This last thing makes me a little sad. I don't allow myself to have many preferences about what kind of career I'll have or how it will go--I know enough to know that any such preferences are extremely likely to go unsatisfied. But I kind of like the idea of being one of those guys who spends his career in one department, investing in it and cultivating it and building it. Looking back, the professors who have meant the most to me were lifers who were committed to the success of that department at that school. And not to hastily generalize from this one anonymous example, but it seems like people who do that earn half the money of people who jump ship--even in the same department.