00:49:27 - 00:56:13 Resignation
resignation, reasons, University of Wisconsin, employment, teaching, budget, relationship, negative, work ethic, supervisor, research, students, government,
Alright, so after the Forest Products Labs you stayed on there for some time on a part-time basis. What led to that, what led to that situation and what led to you actually leaving?
Well, the decision to go part-time was my decision. You know that was strictly my decision; that was actually part of my long-term, master plan. I had said earlier that I had three job offers, I had job offers with Caterpillar, with John Deere, and the Forest Products Lab. Forest Products Lab paid the least and I anticipated that it would continue to pay the least and part of that was actually an attraction for me in a perverse sort of way because I knew that I'd wanted to become involved with the University and do some teaching and I figured that if I was making a lot of money, it would be hard to step away from that and go into teaching. This way, while I had to take a cut in pay when I went from the Forest Products Lab to the University, the cut in pay was not that significant that it, you know, it didn't make a big change in family budget that we'd have to give up too much, we anticipated it and so. So my thought always was that since Forest Products Lab was in the University community, and when I was talking to people there they said that they would welcome close relationship between, you know, the University and the researchers at the Forest Products and the researchers at the University. I thought it would make sense that I would be able to do this, you know go part-time over there and part-time over here.
As it turned out, I think there were a couple of reason and I think part of it was my outspokenness in terms of the things that I saw at FPL that I didn't like and part of it was maybe my work habits, the approach that I had towards work and my view of what the job involved and the way I did my job was not necessarily in line with what my immediate supervisor perhaps thought a good employee should be doing. There was no resistance to me stepping away from full-time over there and going part-time here. It didn't work out, like I said, the way I thought it would because I really thought that this would be a good opportunity for me to make connections at the University, and actually I did have some connection before I left. Joe Jung and I had come up with an idea for localized reinforcing the product around defects in the wood with composite material and we had gotten support for an extra-mural research program, which was being done here with a University professor. So---Bob Rowlands who is still a professor now in our department. Anyway, we, I thought that there was going to lots of opportunities for this interactiveness, I thought the Forest Products Lab would be able to fund research projects for graduate students over here, would be able to find good senior design projects that there would be people, not just myself, but other people at the Lab would be able to benefit from it. But for whatever reason that didn't develop and I think there were a lot of reasons.
I had also said that at the time President Carter had wanted, had publicly stated that he wanted people to reduce the workforce in the Forest Products Lab, or not in Forest Products Lab in government service, which presumptively would include Forest Products Lab, by encouraging people to convert from full-time positions to part-time positions. Well what happened was, when I went from full-time to part-time the, I was required to basically give up my permanent status and so I couldn't go permanent part-time; I had to go temporary part-time. So in other words I was on a year to year basis instead of being a regular employee. And part of the reason for that was I think because while the purpose of the government's direction, President's direction was to reduce manpower, some people saw this as an opportunity to increase the, actually increase the manpower. 'Cause what happened is I went part-time then they hired a full-time person to replace me and then I was, so that actual staffing for the project increased by a half a person. So it didn't quite work out like I said the way I wanted to, or the way I thought it would.
And then, about three years later, two or three years later, it was interesting because I had, just when it had been announced that I was the recipient of the superior service, or team, of which I was the technical leader on, won the superior service award, the director of the Lab informed me that they were letting go all of the temporary, part-time people. Turns out there was only one person in that category, that was me. That's my memory. Now maybe there was some variation on that, that I don't quite remember quite accurately; that's twenty-five years ago. So it didn't work out the way I thought it was going to. Parts of it did, you know part of it was I came here, I wanted to live in a nice town, I wanted to live in a university town because I thought it would give me an opportunity to work with the university, I ended up working at the University, which was I mean no question at all I'm better off having working at the University than at the Forest Products Lab in terms of the types of projects that I've been able to do, the scope of the projects, the ambition. The people that I've been able to work with while there were a lot of good people at Forest Products Lab an awful lot of people left that were really good people too, awful lot of good ambitious people left. Which is not to say that all the good ambitious people left, but awful lot of them you know were hired away.