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Employees share views on life, work

The Professional Employees Council’s spring constituency meeting, “Permed, Promoted, Retired,” celebrated the achievements of people who had gained permanency, been promoted or retired during the last year.

Emcee John Wojcio, copy editor in University Publications, peppered the 20-person audience with questions and evoked some interesting thoughts about life and work.

He began the April 26 event by asking people who had been “permed” what changed on the day they got the news. Several agreed that they felt a greater sense of security and protection.

Jill Seymour, undergraduate academic adviser in the Division of Human Development, said she was comfortable to speak more freely. She also noted that she had a deeper sense of commitment. When Wojcio called on those who had been promoted, another theme emerged. Many said they had seen a dramatic increase in their workload and gained a new perspective on their job and the University.

“Learn to say no,” was the advice from Carol Hall, assistant to the director of Services for Students with Disabilities.

“You have to set limits and priorities for yourself,” Seymour added. For instance, she has decided she will not check her e-mail on weekends.

PEC Chair Cynthia Altmansberger, who recently became assistant dean of the Decker School of Nursing, put it this way: “Trying to maintain some kind of balance between your work life and your personal life is very hard.”

Julia Miller, the lone retiree in attendance, returned to work part time just two weeks after retiring as director of Harpur advising. She’s now an assistant dean.

Miller said she had envisioned spending more time on travel and gardening. “I retired because I needed more time to be irresponsible,” she joked.

Wojcio, a Harpur College graduate who began working at the University about two years ago after retiring as a teacher, chimed in with some observations of his own. He advocated a third option, something between working full time and spending all of one’s time golfing, reading, traveling or quilting.

“Look at ways to keep yourself engaged,” he said. Wojcio shared a brainteaser and told a story designed to show that people’s biggest fears are often only in their minds.

“Sometimes we have to change what we’re thinking,” he said. “Sometimes we have to change what we’re doing. And sometimes we have to change what we’re thinking about what we’re doing.” Wojcio’s closing message to those in attendance? “All of us, in one way or another, can be very successful in whatever we’re doing.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08