17 years

It seems like not long ago, I was blogging my sixteenth year at the University of Illinois Springfield. How time has flew!  It’s amazing when I look back at all the changes that have occurred not only in my workplace but at the university at a whole:  the campus going from a 2-yr graduate college to a 4-yr university as part of the U of I system; our department expanding and growing; going through 2 bosses & 4 supervisors; working with close to 60+ employees; and more student workers than I could possibly try to remember (but if I had to guess, it would say 100-125); and boy, how technology has changed (and in some ways how it hasn’t).

I’ve learned so much…and yet, I feel like there is so much more to learn.  It’s almost the case now where technology is changing so fast and because I’m not a “spring chicken” anymore, it’s becoming more difficult to keep up…to soak in all this information. In my field, we immerse ourselves in a global information-rich environment. It’s amazing how our minds can store, process, and regurgitate so much.  Between work and freelance, I swear a bit of “brain goo” dripples out of my ears once in a while from all the tech news, blogs, tutorials, etc.  It must be so foreign to kids today to think about how difficult it was to access information in our youth. There was no internet.  There was no Google.  You learned in class.  You learned reading books.  You talked to friends and family face-t0-face.  Last but not least, you physically had to travel to the library to get your information.  I could go on and on about all the positive changes that have occurred…even within the past 17 years. Boy, even some of the fads that have come and gone during that time as well.

And so, I have passed the halfway mark in my career. It’s still mind-blowing to me to think that I could spend another thirteen to fourteen with the university/department.  Course, I told myself the same thing many years back and NEVER imagined that I would still be working here after all this time.  It does make me feel proud that during this time I was able to work my way up from a temporary part-time position to a full-time, hard-funded position (with seniority).

My co-worker Dennis will be retiring soon (after 30 years of service).  Truthfully, I’m happy to see him retire because God knows he’s been through so much due to the nature of his position (customer service/facility support/tech support). Course, I don’t know if he would admit it but he’s been counting the days for quite some time.  Dennis is one of those people who is vocal with his thoughts so at times it is rather easy to be aware of his frustrations and concerns.

Although from what it sounds like from his wife, he’s gonna be busier retired and taking care of “honey-do” lists than working for our department.  That’s probably why he’s looking for a post-retirement (and honestly, I don’t blame him!).  🙂  I wish him the best of luck!

As the time grows closer, I have found myself a bit melancholy about the whole thing. This will be the second co-worker (Bob being the first) I’ve worked closely with for sometime that has retired in the last few years. You could say it was a bit like a weeding of the “boys club” or the “old dogs” in the department.  As strange as it may seem, I’ve been feeling a bit like the last remaining wartime soldier from a squad or a high school teenager who’s watching his buddies go off to college one-by-one.  In a way, it’s similar to one of my all time favorite M*A*S*H* episodes.  It is from Season 8 & is called “Old Soldiers”.  Colonel Potter is called to Tokyo & Hawkeye is left in charge.  When Potter returns, he is very secretive & looking for a package in the mail.  It seems that during a fierce battle during WW I, Potter & 4 of his friends were trapped in a french chateau.  They found a case of brandy which they drank thinking they were all going to die.  When the shelling stopped, there was 1 bottle left & the soldiers made a “tontine” which is an agreement that they would save the last bottle until only 1 of them was still alive.  Then the last remaining “old soldier” would drink the brandy in a toast to his old buddies.  Dennis’ retirement party is scheduled to be at the end of the month so maybe a “tontine” of my own may serve well in this sort of situation.

It looks to be that 2012 may lead to more changes & opportunities for me at work.  With any luck, I will be able to focus more on my multimedia background and contribute more to the department.  Of course, all of this is speculative at this point but I am hopeful that any restructuring or redistribution of staff/duties is going to benefit the department doing the road.

p.s. I know that the past few posts as of late have been serious…but I promise to lighten things up here soon!  This whole work thing really gets in the way of playing with my imagination!  🙂

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