Rita Jackson style: Making hard work look easy
Human Resources is made up of many departments, and in turn, many people. Everyone does their part, whether out in front of constituents or behind the scenes. For Rita Jackson, administrative assistant to Trent Klingerman, vice president for Human Resources, she does a little of both.
With 33 years of experience at Purdue, Jackson is no stranger to the pace and expectations of the University. It’s a family thing, actually. Jackson is number seven of eight siblings and counting her parents, eight of the 10 of them have worked at Purdue at some point. So far, her mom, dad and two of her sisters have retired from Purdue. Black and gold is in her blood, and it does seem to be genetic. Both of Jackson’s children - Evan and Hannah - graduated from Purdue and both have work experience at Purdue as well. Hannah still works at Purdue, while Evan tours with the National Theatre for Children.
In Jackson’s current role, which she’s held for the last five years, she works on a variety of projects including executive orientation and committees, currently serving on the Healthy Boiler Committee. When she’s not out serving in these capacities she’s managing emails (hundreds per day between her own and Klingerman’s), calendars and helping prepare Klingerman for upcoming meetings and speaking events while also providing assistance to others in Human Resources as needed.
“The supervisor is a key factor to any job,” she added. “And mine is amazing!”
She starts each day by checking emails and calendars to ensure everyone is on track for the day and then touches base with Klingerman in preparation for the day, knowing that even the best made plans can change depending on the needs. She then checks the news via the Exponent, Purdue Today and the Journal & Courier.
According to Jackson, “having a variety of tasks and being able to meet and work with a wide range of individuals at all levels of the University” is her favorite part of her job. It makes perfect sense then that Jackson’s superhero of choice is The Flash. Having that super power speed certainly would help get things done a lot faster and would save time traveling across campus.
While Jackson has a routine at work, she also has one at home that helps her get ready to take on the day at work.
“I snooze my first alarm and wake up to the second one 30 minutes later,” she said. “It helps me feel as if I’m sleeping in.”
She gets breakfast, checks into Facebook to keep up with family, grabs coffee and then carpools with her daughter across town to campus to take on whatever the day brings her way.
At the end of the day, Jackson preps files and gets information ready for Klingerman for the next day and then heads home to her sanctuary where her husband of 32 years, Steve, who is retired from Purdue (again, black and gold is in their blood), has dinner ready when she gets home.
“Well, most of the time dinner is ready,” Jackson said. “I really am quite spoiled and can highly recommend having a house husband.”
Outside of work, Jackson enjoys spending time with her family, reading, playing computer games and watching Hallmark movies.
“I’m a sucker for romance movies and novels and the happily-ever-after,” she said.