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My 30th Anniversary at LBNL!

posted Dec 18, 2014, 6:24 AM by Tennessee Gock   [ updated Jan 10, 2016, 9:32 AM ]
Thirty years ago yesterday, December 17, 1984, I reported to my first job as an administrative assistant at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), in Building 29 (currently the Guest House site), under the late Dr. Aloke Chatterjee who later became the Deputy Director of Life Sciences Division (formerly the Division of Biology and Medicine, aka Biomed). I also worked closely with ~10 scientists in the group. There was no Macintosh/Windows and no inkjet/laser printers; we were using a primitive Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-11 processor and a Qume daisy-wheel printer. There was no Equation Editor either. Instead, we had to determine where to put the numerator and denominator and where to draw the line in between, and we had to type letter combination (code) to get Greek characters. It was called technical typing. It wasn't easy but it was fun and I loved typing scientific manuscripts. Eight years later, in the summer of 1992, I went to work in the Department of Energy (DOE)-funded Site Restoration Program in EH&S Division under the leadership of Dr. Iraj Javandel who was matrixed from Earth Sciences Division to manage our program. Twice, the former Chief Operating Officer David McGraw asked me to work as his Executive Assistant when he was the EHS Division Director. I declined because the Site Restoration Program was such a crucial project for the Lab and I felt it was important for me to stay with the program.  Fourteen years later in the summer of 2006 when the site cleanup program progressed as planned to the maintenance stage (we were told by DOE that our program at LBNL was the best among all DOE facility counterparts!), I went to work at the Molecular Foundry. Seven months later, in February 2007, the Advanced Light Source Division recruited me as an EHS Administrative Specialist 2 (a 2-step promotion). I got another promotion in 2011 to level 3, which is equivalent to the pay range of a Senior Administrator, although the nature of the work is different.

I love LBNL and have always been a top performer during my 30 years there. I built a strong bond with my supervisors which included two senior scientists. The only one bizarre experience was with a temporary supervisor who did not understand nor respect what I did, which was rather hurtful and demoralizing. But I am at the tail-end of my career and I just have tremendous gratitude for the privilege to work in such an amazing organization like LBNL where there are not only great science but many talented and wonderful people, not to mention the beautiful site on the hill with a million-dollar view of the bay area including the UC campus and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The statements in the image below were what my former supervisor Jim Floyd--the most visionary leader I have ever met and now the Director of EHS Division--wrote on my 2013 performance appraisal before he left our division almost a year and a half ago. I received an Excellent rating from him. I am forever grateful to Jim for teaching me a whole lot and for recognizing my qualities and allowing me to be myself. I am also in great debt to both Dr. Aloke Chatterjee and Dr. Iraj Javandel who treasured me and treated me like family.