Employees transition into new jobs

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Employees across the university have spent the past few weeks getting used to their new positions after being moved, or “bumped” into them during the week of Spring Break.

Because of civil service rules, civil service employees with enough seniority in their positions had the ability to choose to bump into a new position instead of being laid off

These layoffs and bumpings are a result of a 10-month budget impasse that has stopped the university from receiving a state appropriation.

Jaime Hendrix, now the office administrator for the communication studies, was bumped from her position as an administrative aide in technology, a job that gave her a few more responsibilities. Although this move was originally a demotion, this did not affect Hendrix’s salary.

For Hendrix, the hardest part of being bumped was the circumstances surrounding the bumping, as it was emotional for the last office administrator to leave her position.

“The person who was here was laid off, and I can tell she was really good at what she did, so it’s sad to know someone who cared so much about their job and was so integral to the department was taken out of her job,” Hendrix said.

She said to be being picked out and moved from a job is also hard emotionally and waiting for the email that would tell her where she would move to was stressful.

Hendrix has a husband and three kids, one of who is going to college in the fall, and all their insurance is through Eastern.

When making the decision to bump into a new job, Hendrix said she knew if she could stay at Eastern she would have to.

“It was hard knowing I was going to bump someone, but as far as taking care of my family I had to say yes,” Hendrix said. “And that’s what makes it so unfortunate. Saying yes to the bump and saying yes to staying on campus means someone else has to leave.”

Despite these difficult choices, Hendrix said everyone has been welcoming and helpful to her during her transition.

Working in the technology department for three years, Hendrix had built many relationships with her colleagues, making it hard to say goodbye.

“You’re still on campus, but once you’re outside that department, you’re busy with what you’re doing and you don’t get to go back and see people,” Hendrix said.

As administrative aide, Hendrix supervised other staff members and was given more oversight over financial aspects of the department, letting her make more independent decisions.

Hendrix has had to learn about different events, such as Communication Day, and get to know the new people she now works with.

A.J. Walsh, a communication studies professor, said people are not interchangeable when it comes to their job duties.

“We’ve lost a lot of institutional memory, we lost somebody who had five years of experience in comm studies by someone who had more knowledge somewhere else,” Walsh said.

She said there are certain things people need to get to know over time, such as a projector that does not work or a printer that works funny.

“The person that always does those little things, you start to realize when that person is gone you don’t have someone who knows all those ins and outs,” Walsh said. “It’s like being in a relationship with someone. You know their quirks, you know things.”

Felicia Magee, office support specialist for Taylor and Lawson Hall, has had to deal with many jobs changes over the last 10 years that she has been at Eastern.

She started off working as an office support specialist for Carman Hall for six months. After being bumped from this job, she worked in financial aid, then family and consumer sciences.

After that, she upgraded as the office manager in the science department before being bumped back to Taylor Hall during the last round of bumping.

“I just kind of rolled with the punches,” Magee said. “I’m a kind of go with the flow person. I’m not opposed to change.”

Magee said wherever she ended up she would make it work.

When Magee was given her layoff notice, she knew she had bumping rights, but she did not know where exactly her new position would be.

“At this point, I’m just happy to have a job,” Magee said.

When Magee went into the housing office on her first day at Taylor and Lawson Hall, Mark Hudson, the director of housing and dining told her, “Welcome Home.”

“It was like coming home because I still knew a lot of the people up there,” Magee said.

As she has worked in a residence hall before, she is used to this setting, though the number of students have changed and more things are being done online.

The people at Taylor Hall are helpful, Magee said, and if she has questions she can usually ask somebody.

“I love working with the students so this has been fun,” Magee said.

Although civil service employees got the choice to bump if they had enough seniority, some chose to take the layoff.

Human Resources officer Carol Galey said only a few chose this option for personal reasons.

Beth Kastl, who used to be an office administrator in the journalism department, is one of the people who chose to take the layoff.

However, during the week of Spring Break, Human Resources called Kastl and said there was a temporary position open in the Office of Testing and Evaluation.

Galey said this was a different circumstance, as President David Glassman wanted someone in this temporary position to do clerical work, such as giving tests to students who need accommodations for testing and making spreadsheets, to keep this part of the office open.

Kastl was to work as an extra help clerk in this area as she was the first one on the top of the re-employment register because of her seniority, however, she will leave at the end of the semester.

Kastl chose to take the layoff because she did not like the fact that, being bumped, she did not know which job she would end up with.

“When I took the job at journalism, I interviewed for it, it was a good fit,” Kastl said. “I like having that control. I have a personal issue with it being up in the air.”

She said she is not afraid of being unemployed, as her daughter has insurance through means other than Eastern.

“I just didn’t like that uncertainty as to where I was going to land, and I didn’t like the idea that this was my new home, like it or lump it,” Kastl said.

She said though people might be of the same job class, they may have had different duties.

“You’re expected to just slide right in there and take over, and some people are good at that and some people are not,” Kastl said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]