On January 2, 2015, Pat Erickson, the Human Resources Manager for GLS, started a new adventure – retirement! After 21 years with UW-Madison, and nine with GLS, we wanted to get her thoughts and memories before she headed off to enjoy her next chapter. Whether you’ve worked with Pat for years, or only recently, you know she served an important role for everyone who works with GLS. Congratulations, Pat!
Tell us your favorite part about working with the UW Libraries?
Getting to know such a great group of people who work at the GLS. One of the best parts of being in HR is you get the opportunity to meet and work with the entire staff at the GLS. I also enjoy meeting the candidates who are finalists for all of our recruitments and then following through with the successful candidate who is offered the position.
You’ve gained some great memories. What’s the funniest that comes to mind?
Some of us admin staff wanted to surprise Nancy Graff Schultz on her birthday. We had all talked about the camel on the hump day commercial. There are trying days sometimes and it is nice to have a fun stress free skit to celebrate a special day. I was the camel character and Karen and Tina were the ho-hum office employee’s. We all had are parts down quite well. It was very funny and the stuffed camels you all see rotating around our offices are a result of that birthday party. Caleb (big guy) and Alexander (small guy) are occasionally dressed up for additional occasions. Once we reach hump day’s end, we are over the half-way point to the weekend.
And now for the weirdest experience?
The first time I went down in the basement in Memorial Library by myself. I got lost and was roaming around in circles. The cages were quite interesting and to my surprise I heard someone call out “Hi Patti.” Not too many people still call me that except people who knew me many years ago or my family. It turned out to be Dr. John Toussaint, who is a member of the Friends of the Library. He was the Medical Director at Central Center when I worked in the physical therapy department back in the 70’s and 80’s. He was kind enough to direct me to the stairway to go back upstairs.
What did you learn during your time at libraries?
I learned that Librarians, Library Services Assistants, IT staff and administration all play a vital part in the success of the GLS. I find library staff to be very dedicated to their profession. I got a first-hand look into what Library personnel really do and how beneficial it is to students, faculty, staff and library patrons. I am still impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment.
What or who will you miss the most?
I will miss all of the people I have worked with at the GLS. I have been lucky to meet and support many of the staff at the GLS. It makes you feel good when you can bring positive outcomes to many areas of their work. I will certainly miss all the staff in administration. Nancy, Karen and I have developed a well-tuned trio when looking to keep things running smooth and developing plans to improve areas in need and I will miss their expertise and friendship. We consult to make sure we are all on the same page for the better of the GLS. I will miss Angie and her ability to give me whatever I ask her for. Tina, Sherry and Bill all have been supportive as well. If I get into a bind about supplies, e-reimbursement or purchasing cards, I can always count on them for an answer. Lis Owens and I go back to my first day at the Library and she helped make my arrival easy and friendly. I will miss talking with Connie about aging parents and grandchildren (the very real sandwich generation). Ed is always great to work with and he and I go back many years on the main runway into administration. I will miss Lesley, Doug, Lee and Dave and I wish them all the best as the GLS moves forward. I will miss saying hi to Al every morning on my way to that first cup of coffee. I have enjoyed Liz Nevers and seen her commitment to the Friends of the Library and I will miss seeing what a great communications expert that Natasha has been and will continue to be in the future. I will very much miss all the staff that poke their heads in my office to say hello or ask for assistance. I have enjoyed getting to know everyone.
Now for the really fun stuff…what are your plans?!
I have many. I have a large walk in closet that is calling my name. Every project that hasn’t been finished goes into this room. I will takes days to just figure what all I have that needs my attention. I love to go through old photos and remember those times. I want to make books for family and friends. I want to take motorcycle trips where we don’t have to worry about timelines or hurry to reach a destination. I want to spend time with my soon to be 90 year old Mother. We will look through the book my sister gave her going back about 400 years in our family tree. She just wants to sit and visit and remember old times and I won’t feel hurried to get to the next appointment. I want to spend more time with my Grandson. He is a sponge for learning everything and we can read and play more. I will have another grandchild coming in May so I can have more time in the rocking chair again. It will be nice to spend more time with my husband to. It seems that can fall behind when you have so many others in need to. And last but not least, I want some time to myself. Go for walks, watch the birds, and plant more flowers and vegetables as I love to garden. I think I will be very busy in retirement!
Advice for those of us who still have a ways to go in the working world?
Enjoy the work you do, have confidence in yourself and build strong relationships along the way. Keep your sense of humor to help you through difficult days.