It’s hard to believe that it has been sixteen years since I first started working at the University of Illinois Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University). Never in my days would I have thought that I would have stayed this long. I came into the job as an extra help position doing multimedia development. Through the years, I managed to work my way up to a civil service position…filling gaps in service in other areas within the department. Unfortunately, this move took me farther away from really what I loved…which was multimedia development (graphic design; audio/video production; cd/dvd/web development). I’ve managed to keep some of those responsibilities in my job duties but in my opinion, I don’t think they value those skills as much as my role as a lab/student supervisor and assist the Operations team with assignment and management. Nevertheless it’s been an on-going fight and I have been performing outside of job classification (although job descriptions have been changed (and approved) over the years to accommodate increased responsibilities).
I could not put into words the scope of emotions I have experience or the situations that I have been through working at the university. For safety’s sake, I really don’t feel comfortable elaborating more on the matter but I can say that it has truly been one of the most challenging jobs I have ever had.
Fact of the matter is, as frustrating, stressful, and discouraging my job can be, I can take some satisfaction out of my job. With the economy in the crapper, I am thankful to have a job. I am thankful to have good insurance. I have a good-sized office (which is one of the few perks I have). I get along with my co-workers (for the most part LOL). I do get opportunities to work on projects that interest me and help me develop. And I don’t have someone watching over my shoulder all day long.
I rest in the thought that I’m over the hump…and wonder “well, if I’ve made it this far…what’s another 14 years?” The answer to that rests in the hands of the department, the state, and the world. In some ways, I see myself putting in 20 years…but I guess if the opportunity arises, I feel I’m strong enough to make it to the end. Then the next difficult stage in my life begins…the life of semi-retirement. Alas, the benefits and disadvantages of an early start.