July 18th, 2012


I'm onboarded!

Instead of a new-employee orientation session with a small group, like I had the last time I started a job at Cornell in 2000, now they have "onboarding" appointments where each new hire meets with a series of people individually.

I didn't need to be shown how to update my work address and phone number in Employee Essentials; I'd already done it earlier in the week, because I knew the system. I could have kept my old employee ID card, but it's been falling apart, so I opted for a new one without having to pay a replacement fee as would be true if I waited until it finished breaking. I kept the photo in the system from last time they updated it, around 2004. Could have gotten a new photo, but this one was fine.

I didn't need a lot of explanations of the benefits, and for the most part, the benefits I had before will just kick in again. There's a slightly different health plan, slightly cheaper per month but you have to specify a primary care physician. That's fine; even though I've never met her, I can specify the doctor at Guthrie who George works with, and keep seeing George. I'm going to give the healthcare flexible spending account another try, having a little pre-tax money taken out of each paycheck that I can then use for co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, etc. For the rest of 2012 it will work as it always has, requiring you to submit a form and get reimbursed, but starting on January 1st they will be moving to a new system that lets you use a debit card to pay directly out of your healthcare account! Their old provider wouldn't do this, saying there was no way to guarantee people wouldn't charge a candy bar along with their prescription, but the new provider has no such difficulty. (And, no, you can't charge a candy bar on the healthcare debit card.)

What about parking? Well, working in Dickson means I'm eligible for an R permit, which would let me park in the close-by parking lots around the North Campus residence halls. That would cost about $15 per pay period, or over $300 per year. I'm thinking I'd rather save that money and park in the not-much-farther-away A Lot, which is free. I can always change my mind if we have a nasty winter and I get sick of the walk.

I can even opt to get a central campus permit, that would have all of the parking benefits I used to enjoy, including being able to park in "Flex" spaces on campus when I need to go to meetings, or parking in the night-and-weekend restricted lots when I'm around outside work hours. But at $777.30 per year, I think I'm gonna pass. I can always get half-day or full-day visitor permits, and I'd bet if it's for work, the department either has one-day permits or would pay for the visitor permit.

The guy from Transportation mentioned that they've also raised the fines for parking illegally, but are trying to be more lenient with appeals if you have a valid excuse, like if you're really eligible to park somewhere but your permit was in the wrong car. And, they're cracking down on staff parking at the East Hill Plaza shopping center lot and taking the bus to campus rather than park where they're allowed to. The plaza lot is now signed with a four-hour limit for customers of the businesses there (apparently some store owners complained about the lot filling up with commuters) and there are staff spaces for people who work there.

The hour-long appointment ended with the HR lady handing me my newly printed (and chip-encoded) ID card, and a "welcome gift" consisting of a Cornell mug (actually quite a nice one) and a Cornell pen.