ASSOCIATES (vol. 10, no. 2, November 2003) -

*Library Life:
A Column Of Eclectic Rantings*


Katie Buller Kintner
currently unemployed

Well, the budget cuts have hit home and Hubby's job here at the University of Illinois was one of the first to be flushed down the drain. His last day officially on campus was August 20 but like an old firehouse horse, he just can't stay away and the staff of his old workplace is seeing him nearly as often as when he actually worked there. But things have a way of moving on and eventually he did finally find a job just last week. Here's the scary part--it means that I have to quit my job and we have to move again. Now this situation is not as bad as it may seem. Yes, I'll be giving up my job and no, I won't miss it. Let's just say the job was a bad fit for me, but since there was a job freeze on, I couldn't transfer to another position and was stuck where I was. Ok, well at least I was working and getting paid for it, unlike Hubby, who has spent the last two months alternately going on job interviews and spending his days busily doing who-knows-what at home. (Whatever it is he does at home causes huge piles of paper to appear everywhere so it must be important!)

This time around, the compass needle pointing north also points the way to our new home, which by coincidence is close to my old home in Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, folks we're on our way back to the land of cheese, the place where my first Library Life came to life. Hubby's new job is at one of the many University of Wisconsin campuses, working as a broadcast engineer, so he will be very happy. The new job has enough cameras, beta decks and satellite dishes to keep him busy and out of my hair for years.

However, as a result of his being re-employed in Wisconsin, the fact that I left nearly 5 years ago has become rather important. I have reinstatement rights in Wisconsin for just 5 years. This means that as of this writing, I have only a few weeks of eligibility left. This may not seem significant to the outsider, but reinstatement rights mean the difference between getting benefits accumulated over twenty years of service, such as four weeks of vacation, or starting over from the bottom up like a green recruit. This has me torn, as I would much rather sit at home on the sofa and eat bonbons like my hero Peggy Bundy, but we need the $$$. I would like to go back to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, particularly Memorial Library. It's a nice place to work, close to shopping, restaurants and Lake Mendota. However, this would involve a lengthy commute which I would not relish, particularly in the winter. Hubby also has to be within a few minutes drive of his new worksite, as he will have a couple of "on-call" nights every week, so that puts Madison out of the picture. Darn--no extended breaks with certain former co-workers at the Kollege Klub. I really miss those. So now I'm looking at trying to get into a job somewhere closer to our new home.

This has me thinking about trying to reinstate into a "counterpart" job, one that has the same pay level as my old job but is not necessarily a library job. What does this really mean? I have not a clue. I went to the website of the State of Wisconsin human resources department and downloaded a chart that supposedly showed me which jobs could be considered "counterpart" jobs that I might be eligible to reinstate into. It looked like the technical specs for my VCR. I wound up going through a list of jobs, comparing their payrange schedules to my old payrange schedule and coming up with a list of positions that sound as though they MIGHT be considered "counterpart" jobs to my old position. As a result, I might be spending my time applying for what a friend of mine calls "Doorknob I-III" positions, trying to figure out if I actually know what they're about. For instance, if I was a library services assistant-advanced/lead (real position title), pay range schedule 11, could I qualify for your basic Doorknob II position in payrange 10? The chart says I can but I don't have any idea what a Doorknob II does. Now do you understand? I don't either so next week, when I am really no longer employed, I'll have time to do some phoning around, asking various state and university agencies in Wisconsin if they have a job for poor little old me. I'm getting to be pretty good at this job-hunting things, since I seem to have done a lot of it in the last five years, so don't feel bad for me. I'm going to enjoy being at home on unemployment for awhile, just ask Hubby! Oh, I think I forgot to tell you just where in Wisconsin we'll be heading. Do you really wanna know? You sure? Ok. O K Osh Kosh.

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