Wake-Up! I Am Not Making $5.05 per Hour…I Am Making…$5.54!

So, if you read my last blog, this is part II.  Forty-one years ago, today, I was offered a position at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…and I joyfully accepted!  This was not just exciting news, it was earth shattering news for the Brooks, nearly, newlyweds!

When I received the telephone call that I was being offered a position with Building Services I was so overjoyed that I did not bother to ask how much the job paid.  I rushed over to our churches parochial school, where Mary Jane taught, and shared the good news with her.  Her eyes got as big as saucers and she was ready to calculate our new operating budget.  At the time I war earning $2.50 per hour and she was working on a volunteer basis for the church school….and had been doing so for several years.  We understood that we had been admitted to the ballpark and were finally in the game!

When MJ inquired as to what I would be earning per hour…I responded that I thought that superintendent O’Hara had told me that the pay was $5.05 per hour on an eight hour work shift.

That afternoon I met with the custodial supervisor, Harold Young, and he spoke with me for an hour.  He told me that if I wanted to be a success I should strive to produce a clean area that I was assigned to, each evening.  He also said that the successful Building Service staff not only were prompt in attendance…but many arrived early for their work assignment.  He mentioned that I would be earning 12 sick days per year and 12 vacation days per year and that I should not abuse either benefit.  He noted that it was wise to save both sick and vacation time to ensure that I had enough in the event of illness or a week or more vacation.  At the conclusion of the orientation meeting I asked Mr. Young what the job paid per hour and he responded that it paid $5.54 per hour.  I was thrilled with the immediate pay raise!

When I arrived home, I soon awakened MJ and told her the good news that we had already secured a 49 cent per hour pay increase!  She grabbed her pen and paper and commenced restructuring the budget.  Suddenly we had money for groceries and gas for the car and, a little, recreation money.  We also had $150 per month for the purchase of a new automobile as she had a credible Maverick and I had a dilapidated, 1962, Ford Fairlane….with a hole in the front passenger floor board that your could toss a a good size cat through!

I quickly noticed that many of my colleagues worked at getting out of work.  I set my cap to achieving excellent housekeeping and accomplishing more than was asked of me.  I saw that we were members of an elite organization…but we often acted like that we were not.  Many sought creative maneuvers to ensure that they would not have to work a full shift.  Others sought ways to circumvent the rules.  All too often the intricate machinations were more difficult than simply being dedicated to producing an excellent work product.

I pondered and considered it well that if I ever had the opportunity to hire individuals for the golden chance of working at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale….I would seek those candidates that were hungry for a chance to better themselves and and appreciation for the opportunity that had been afforded to them!

I heard, yesterday, that more of the deaf staff that I had the pleasure to hire have achieved  supervisory status!  I am so happy with the news of this necessary and right….development!

Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale has always been a trailblazer and a trend setter!  When it was not fashionable or politically correct…SIUC was a leader in diversity!

When physically disabled students had difficulty in finding a university that could accommodate them…SIUC was one of the first and a leader in disability access and an active welcome to this community.

SIUC needs to renew its intrinsic desire to be the cutting edge university in Illinois!  The university was grown out of cornfields and coal mines.  It was, ‘The University That Should Not Have Happened, But Did!’

I am a member of the board of elders at the First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale, and we are discussing what the church is going to look like in the future.  We are asking what direction is God leading us and does that leading remotely mesh with out mental image of his plan?

I was seeking an inspirational moment for my 41st anniversary of being affiliated with Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale.  As I was walking by the statue of President Delete Morris, on Old Campus,  I noticed a clutch purse on the ground.  I started to walk on for fear that someone would see me and think that I had taken the purse.  But I could not ignore it.  I retrieved the lost item and looked through it in a cursory manner and saw that it was full of credit cards and some cash and I, subsequently, turned it into the chancellor’s office at Anthony Hall.  I considered that 41 years ago today I knew nothing of the university….and today….perhaps I was able to help someone?











2 responses

  1. Haha! I can just see MJ with her pen and paper working up the budget! 🙂

    1. I know that is right! 😉

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