Priceless rewards in service

Patti Ruhala headshot

Patti Ruhala

UM-Flint staff member Patti Ruhala reflects on technology changes in a career devoted to service. And the commitment to helping others that never changes.

Looking back on when I first worked at the University (1989-1994), a typewriter was the key piece of equipment for my job in the Office of Student Life. Computers were just introduced to offices prior to my moving on to another opportunity.

Now working in Public Health & Health Sciences since 2011, our office vibrates to life with multiple types of electronics to meet the demands of our jobs and students.

As an administrative assistant since 1976, I have seen various types of equipment come and go over the years. Even the phone systems have changed in style and clarity. One thing that has not changed in all my assignments throughout the years has been my dedication to customer service. Making someone's life just a little easier has been my goal since I began in the workforce.

No one leaves without a plan

Whether it is interacting with staff, faculty, students, or a client/guest, every day anyone who steps up to my desk is greeted with a smile of welcoming and an offer to help them in any way that I can. While I may not know all the answers, there are co-workers and other departments we can reach out to so no one ever leaves without a plan to move forward.

My compassion and desire to help individuals and/or groups has led me to volunteer work with local charities (Pink Night, American Cancer Society) and to a new organization that volunteers will be working with high school students in lower income communities to teach social/life skills.

To see students whose lives have touched mine or vice versa succeed is a reward that is priceless.

So every once in a while I dust off that old IBM electronic typewriter at home and reflect on where I began and how I have grown over the years and look forward to the future and the interesting people I will meet along the way.