Pros: excellent faculty and committed supervisors, teamwork among administrators, well-run organization, really care about the students, pleasant work environment.
Cons: long commute, traffic congestion, only 8-5 workhours are allowed, low pay compared to west coast
Austin is a beautiful city to live in, and my job at U. Texas is in a brand new high-tech building. I arrive to work early and log-in by 8:00 am. I review my workload and decide what is priority to accomplish today. There a variety of tasks to do. I enjoy working with the faculty, post-docs, and graduate students. As I finish a project I check if off my electronic list. I log-in new projects in color-coded files and have a system to track and move the workflow through my desk until it's completed. I do different kinds of tasks on different days. Some workload has strict deadlines to meet, and the rest of the work is "filler" work that has to eventually get done, but no strict deadline. After 4 hours, I'm ready to take a break.
On my lunch hour, I walk to the gymasium and take an exercise class (different type of class every day), and I really look forward to this. After the workout, I'm back at my desk feeling refreshed and ready to concentrate. I pay tuitions, hire students, process visas, finish travel reimbursements, meet with a faculty member about their accounts, or do accounting work on the grants. When my day ends at 5:00 pm, I have accomplished a lot.
I have learned a new computer system at U. Texas. I have learned the NSF-style / Fastlane proposal submissions and have done a lot of accounts reconciling, projecting in Excel how to spend down the grant funds before the end date, and tracked and closed grants at a zero balance.
One of the best parts of the job here are the coworkers who are very knowledgeable and helpful towards each other. I was trained by a coworker – more... for a year (when I started the job), and now I'm training a coworker who is new to the Institute. The administrators work as a big team. If one administrator is busy submitting a proposal and cannot manage the rest of their workload, then we help out by doing their travel reimbursements or other work until they can recover.
The hardest time at my job was when I was brand new and not very familiar with the U.T. computer software and accounting system. I simultaneously had a full workload and many people to support.
The most enjoyable part of the job has been the teamwork among all the administrators who are willing to answer questions when you're really stuck and give support when too much workload is occasionally happening. The supervisor of administrative staff will meet with a new administrator once a week. You can bring your work questions and get answers during the meeting, and you can continue with the training meetings for as long as you need help to get up and running fast. The Director of the Institute also takes all the administrators out for lunch several times a year. As well, he provides several lovely party events during the year for the entire Institute. – less