Day 254 & 255 - Details, Details
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Yesterday I drove to Marysville, California, to the campus of Yuba College, one of two main colleges in our college district, for New Employee Orientation. In addition to finding out about benefits, computer systems, and processes, I also got to meet the head of the branch of the union that represents my employees (I am in a management position and will not be joining the union) and learn more about the labor agreement between the district and the union. The district is pro-labor, and it sounds as if the relationship is very good. I do not expect any problems, but it was good to get confirmation that my transition to my position should be smooth as far as that is concerned.
The highlight of the day was the presentation given by the Chancellor, Dr. Douglas Houston, who is head of the district. The two colleges in the district (Yuba and Woodland Community College) each have a president who reports to the Chancellor. Dr. Houston's talk was energizing, enthusiastic, and captivating. He is a natural leader, and he inspires leadership in others. Dr. Houston works closely with the Board of Trustees, and he was emphatic that he doesn't want anyone serving as a Trustee who aspires to higher political office. He wants people who care about the colleges and our mission and vision, not someone who is looking for a stepping stone to the state Capitol. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to hear him speak, and hope that there are other occasions in the future.
After the orientation, I was able to meet briefly with Roy Jewell, the Director of Fiscal Services, with whom I'll be working closely on budget and finance issues. It was nice to start building a relationship with him. He is also relatively new in position, and he is also new to academia. He was a career military office whose most recent tour was in Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013. He affirmed what Dr. Houston said, that it is important to bring in leaders for the highest level positions in the District. Roy said that was one of the reasons why he and I could be brought in. Before, positions were usually filled internally, and choices were made based on seniority, rather than ability. Once again, I was reminded how grateful and fortunate I am to have been chosen for this position!
I drove home feeling pretty euphoric, but that feeling was quickly brought back to reality after I started driving through the hills on the way back to Lake County. There was plenty of evidence from the Rocky Fire (nearly 70,000 acres, now 88% contained). Charred trees rising from blackened landscape, with all the scrub and grass burned away, tire tracks the evidence of the firefighters who battled back the blaze. It was awesome and devastating in the true sense of those words. Black and soot on one side of the freeway, golden grasses waving in the breeze on the other.
I wanted to tie up as many loose ends today as possible, since tomorrow I'll be at the Fall Convocation at the Woodland Community College (our new "parent" college). I had to get fingerprinted and also have a tuberculosis test. The fingerprinting was easy and relatively painless. Getting the TB test was a bit more challenging, but I did find a clinic that did it on the spot, Unfortunately, that means I have to go back to the clinic on Thursday before our campus's mini-convocation at 3pm for the results before driving back to campus.
I also brought Steve with me to show him my office and introduce him to some people I'll be working with. Some he had already met from when he was taking his cooking class. He even introduced me to his instructor, who will be preparing the dinner for the mini-convocation on Thursday.
The hectic week has thrown a wrench into my exercise routine. I was up at 4:30 Monday morning, and only had time for a 10-minute cardio routine before I had to take my shower and get ready for the drive to Marysville. It will be the same tomorrow - I'm meeting the Dean at our campus at 6:10am to drive to Woodland. Today I took a break from Shaun T and tried one of Coach Nicole's total body challenges. Not bad, but not nearly as vigorous as the Focus T25 sessions. Friday I am driving to Sacramento to spend the weekend with my folks and help them with the final settling-in at their new apartment (hanging pictures, organizing the office, getting Netflix working) and some shopping at the places that are only in the bigger cities, like Costco and Trader Joe's. It will be a fun weekend, but Steve has to work so he and the dogs will stay home.
There is still a part of me that can't quite believe that I have this job. It's so perfect, that it feels like a dream. I fear that I'll wake up and realize that it was all a mistake, although yesterday certainly did a lot to confirm that it is real. I feel so blessed to be part of an amazing organization that cares about student success, but also about employee growth and nourishment. It's the kind of "career fuel" that I haven't had in a very long time.
Now that's a hunger that won't make me gain weight!
Keep Sparking, friends!