15 Years In A Dead End Job (“Yo-ho! Yo-ho! A Pirate’s Life For Me”)

Pirate Gold CoinHard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since I started at UIS (University of Illinois at Springfield). Like I mentioned previously, it used to be called Sangamon State University. At that time, it was primarily a 2 year college focusing on public affairs curriculums and graduate education.  On-campus housing and student life activities was pretty minimal and a majority of the classes that were being held were predominantly during the evenings.

I was hired in shortly before the university was incorporated into the University of Illinois’ family (University of Illlinois at Urbana/Champaign and University of Illinois at Chicago).  Our campus is much smaller in size and scope compared to the other campuses so we have been labeled in certain respects as being the “child” of the family.

“The University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) is a liberal arts university in Springfield, Illinois. The University was established in 1969 as Sangamon State University by the Illinois General Assembly and became a part of the University of Illinois system on July 1, 1995.

The University of Illinois at Springfield serves almost 5,000 students in 21 undergraduate programs, 20 master’s programs, and a doctorate in Public Administration. The university was once one of the two upper-division and graduate universities in Illinois, but now accepts freshmen, transfer and graduate students.

courtesy of Wikipedia.org

When I started at the university, I was working as a Multimedia Tech I.  Sounds great but what does it mean?  Well, I was working with multimedia (images, video, animation, audio) when it was at it’s infancy. Might be hard to believe but when I first started, creating digital video on a home computer was just starting.  I have fond memories of capturing 30 second to two minutes clips and letting them render overnight…hoping that the system would not crash due to a lack of RAM (memory). To my recollection, one of my biggest responsibilities at that time was the creating of an information kiosk for the university. I used to scan newspaper articles about the university and use what I can only describe as an “archaic” version of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to turn the printed type into digital text. I would also get VHS copies of news broadcasts to digitize as well.  All of this was organized together and displayed using software called Macromedia Authorware™. The interface and layout was all designed by yours truly.  🙂  Actually, I think that I have a copy of it around here somewhere. I should see if the darn thing still works. If I do, I will be sure to post a pic.

Anyway, I’ve honed my multimedia skills over the years…incorporating a wide range of hardware and software into my répertoire.  But due to budget cuts and added services in the department, I was shifted into another team which focuses on the computer labs and classroom operations…and been there pretty much ever since.  So, my days are spent floating between being a Computer Lab Supervisor, assisting the Operations team in classroom and conference center support, and being a multimedia designer (which honestly is where my heart lies!).

I have to say that it’s been a real treat to see the university grow over the past 15 years (and all the politics along with it). I have learned so much in this job that in many ways it’s difficult for me to think about working anywhere else. A movie quote comes to mind…(*note:  better get used to it! 🙂 It’s a habit of mine.)

Red: These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.
Heywood: ****. I could never get like that.
Prisoner: Oh yeah? Say that when you been here as long as Brooks has.
Red: ***damn right. They send you here for life, and that’s exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyway.

Even though there have been times of uncertainty in the past, I fear that the hardest times of all for the university are approaching in the next six months…but that I feel is another entirely separate post in itself.

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