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Work-life

Work-Life Success Stories

What You Need to Know: 

Given the diversity in our lives, there is no clear path to finding the right balance between meeting work obligations, family responsibilities, career development, and personal fulfillment. Rather, working closely with their supervisors and colleagues, UK employees are forging new paths for work-life success. Here are a few examples. If you have a Work-Life Success Story, we'd love to hear from you. Email our office with the details.

Catie Lasley - 2006 - EAHP, EEP 
Employment Manager, HR 

From working in UK Human Resources while a student to now managing UK Employment, Catie Lasley speaks to the array of work and personal opportunities enabled by her career at the University including the recent purchase of her first home.

I’m Catie Lasley. I currently work in HR as the HR Administrator for the College of Medicine. I accepted this position after working as the Assistant Manager of Employment and then Manager of Employment. I’ve been in HR since November 1999, when I started as a temporary employee.

In the photo with me is my daughter Ada and a photo of my house which I was able to purchase thanks to the UK Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP). I have been a long- time student at UK, receiving a BA in English in 2000 and completing course work a master’s degree in Sociology through EEP.

Through the Employee Education Program, UK paid for my education. I don’t believe I would have chosen to invest in pursuing a Master’s degree if I knew I would have to go into debt to pay for the classes. Every manager I’ve had in HR has been tremendously supportive of my educational goals and has been very flexible in allowing me the time I need to go to class and, at the end of the semester, prepare for finals.

The EAHP Program is one of many offerings I have been able to take advantage of as a UK employee. It was particularly wonderful because it helped my family purchase our first home, even though we didn’t have much saved for a down payment. It was really important to my husband that we get out of rental property and start investing in a home of our own. I was very hesitant, especially since I had never lived in an “owned” home and my parents and siblings all currently rent – I’d never seen it done.

The program provided the education I needed to be smart about our home purchase and determine how much we could afford. The fact that we were granted a forgivable loan of 5% of the purchase price of the home was the only way we could afford to buy a home in a neighborhood we liked. I am able to walk to work every day – it’s wonderful!

Through the Employee Education Program, UK has also paid for my education for the past five years. I don’t believe I would have chosen to invest in a Master’s degree if I knew I would have to go into debt to pay for the classes. Every manager I’ve had in HR has been tremendously supportive of my educational goals and has been very flexible in allowing me the time I need to go to class and, at the end of the semester, prepare for finals.

Everything just seems so much easier here – without leaving campus, I can take care of my banking at the UK Federal Credit Union, pick up a prescription from the Kentucky Clinic, check out library books for school and educational videos for my daughter from the library, and purchase school books at a discount from the bookstore. Honestly, I can’t imagine how I could handle all my roles of mother, daughter, wife, student and employee without that kind of assistance. Just having all those things within walking distance is so much less stress than having to drive somewhere after work.

Gail Williams - 2007 - Flexible Work Arrangement 
Staff Associate, HR Student & Temporary Employment

In addition to working 37.5 hours a week in the employment office, Gail Williams is the primary caregiver of her 89 year-old mother. Gail works the front desk of the temporary employment office, which is open 8:00-5:00 Monday – Friday.

“Normally I wouldn’t mind working a regular work week, but my mother’s care needs have increased,” noted Gail. In order to accommodate her 37.5 hour work week and mother’s care, Gail needed a more flexible schedule. She talked to her supervisor and co-workers about her situation. “Working the front desk and payroll every other week, having that coverage, we decided that Tuesday of every week was more of a neutral day – a day where it was a little slower because we weren’t working with payroll and billing on the front end and back end of each week,” she said.

Gail’s supervisor added, “We needed to have the front desk staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There was a lot of work involved there, but we also needed to have that position match that 37.5 hour a week position. So, it worked out from the business end to have Gail leave one afternoon a week. It’s also been a great way to retain her. Gail can pay more attention to the work and not have to worry about what’s going on at home, because she’s got that covered with Tuesday afternoons off.”

 “I also live in southern Jessamine county and have a long commute,” stated Gail. “Leaving Tuesday afternoons has worked out really well because it gives me time to do errands on the way home and other things that can’t be done after 5:00 every day, such as taking Mom to her doctors’ appointments in the afternoon. This schedule is very compatible for me to take care of some family needs.”

Jim Ryder - 2006
Maintenance Technician Supervisor, Medical Center PPD

Jim Ryder of UK's Medical Center Physical Plant Division is a photographer in his spare time. With Jim's artistic background, it's no surprise that he describes his work in vivid terms - as well as his appreciation for the medical miracles performed by the doctors and clinical staff his department supports.

The UK Hospital takes care of the people of Kentucky and the Med Center Physical Plant maintenance team takes care of the hospital. That means we make sure there is light so the professionals can see, we make sure the nurse call works so the nurses can respond, we make sure that the patients have ice in their drinks. We help keep the patients warm and the very stressed staff cool. We dread 3 a.m. phone calls that mean a tired trip in to repair some essential equipment. We keep the building dry and painted and standing. We fix things.

In the hospital the patients and nurses and doctors depend on us. We know that our building and equipment are important to the well being and safety of very sick people. “We are working on it” is too slow; the only satisfactory response is “it’s fixed." Many of us work odd shifts or very long hours, some of us don’t know when quitting time is. Holidays mean little: if it’s a white Christmas, we report.

Yet working in our hospital provides its own profound rewards. We are a very small but essential part of a much wider team of loving, caring and extraordinarily skilled caregivers who are some of the best medical professionals in this state. It is a privilege to serve them and contribute to their success. In addition and more wondrously, we get to see a continual procession of human drama and emotion.

On a daily basis we see before us what it means for human beings to feel stomach churning fear, the blackest of sorrows, and the ecstasy of answered prayers. And we have the privilege of knowing the doctors and nurses who have answered those prayers, and occasionally we can feel their exaltation in the miracles they perform.

Kim Heersche - 2008 - Flexible Work Arrangement 
Technology Training Specialist, HR Training & Development

In addition to my job at the University of Kentucky, I am an active professional musician in the Lexington area. Straight out of high school, I pursued two degrees in music: one in Music Education and the second in Oboe Performance. As is often the case for individuals in the fine arts, when I graduated it was soon apparent that I would not be able to make a living solely as a musician. Before I came to the University of Kentucky, the positions I held with other organizations made it difficult for me to foster my musical interests. Due to the incredible support of my supervisors and the University of Kentucky’s flexible work schedule policy, I am able to live with the best of both worlds. I have an extremely fulfilling position as a Technology Trainer in the Human Resources Training and Development department and am also given the flexibility to adjust my work schedule when musical teaching and performing opportunities occur during normal business hours. My musical teaching obligations impact my schedule most weeks of the year - currently I’m off-campus one afternoon a week in order to teach oboe students at a local school district during school hours. I make up any UK hours missed primarily by working at home on nights and weekends (facilitated by remote computer access at home!) and sometimes by extending hours on other work days. When an important event at UK takes precedence, I adjust my music teaching schedule. Being given the opportunity to maintain my musical interests benefits my job at UK because it keeps my creative mind sharp - allowing me to perform at my highest levels and maintain satisfaction with my job. Not only has a flexible work schedule become a big motivator to continue my career at the University of Kentucky, it has contributed greatly to my overall quality of life.

Linda Worley - 2006 - Elder Care Services
Faculty, German Studies Division, Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department

I have been a faculty member in the German Studies division of the Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department for 25 years. In addition to being a faculty member, I have also directed the Teaching and Learning Center along with being associate dean of Undergraduate Studies. My husband, Jeff Worley, recently retired from his position as editor of Odyssey, UK’s research magazine.  

I am holding the wedding picture of my parents, Hans and Elizabeth Kraus. After the deaths of our fathers, many issues related to caring for our widowed mothers long-distance arose for Jeff and me. UK’s Elder Care service was extremely useful in identifying long-distance resources. The staff at Elder Care also provided advice when our mothers decided to move to Lexington. My mother has since passed away, but we are lucky to still have Jeff's mother. We continue to use the Elder Care services and have found the staff to be extremely knowledgeable and have helped us understand the various challenges of the aging process. All along they have supported us as we try to support Jeff's mother. They have our greatest admiration.

Lydia and Jim Wims 
2006 - Flexibility

As one of our many “dual career” couples, Lydia and Jim Wims both work at the University of Kentucky: Jim serves Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Residence Life and Lydia works as a Student Affairs Officer. Both clearly enjoy providing support for UK students, with Jim providing oversight and direction to the University’s residence hall and dining systems and Lydia offering personalized guidance. Active in their local church, Jim and Lydia also enjoy all types of music, including gospel. Jim and Lydia have two children: Greg, a Lexington police officer, and Ashley, a junior here at UK. Speaking of family, Jim and Lydia are quick to point out how supportive UK is of their work and family lives.

As Jim notes, “Even though my work is quite demanding at times, I appreciate the flexibility in being able to take time off, especially when it comes to traveling to Ohio where I get to check in on my 91 year old mother.”