Dividing sick time.

I seriously just want to get back to studying Japanese language!

I did watch this week’s lecture, today…though not much else has gotten done besides my helping M with her homework, and refilling my fountain pen. And, yeah, eating, sleeping, drinking water, and blowing my nose.

I did realize that the Maruman Sept Couleur notebook I have is excellent for use with the Pilot Metropolitan (fountain pen) with Iroshizuku ink. Didn’t know it, though, until writing kana in it for M, and seeing the thick/thin lines that I was able to form with the nib (I’m using a Fine nib — I got this to be able to practice kana and kanji with something special). It’s something that hasn’t shown up on other papers, including the Kyokuto Expedient notebook I have.

Maybe it’s a sign that it needs to be cleaned? Maybe I’m breaking it in? Maybe I’m holding it at a different angle? I don’t know. 🙂 The variation in color, line width, and the feel when writing is different, though. I can actually tell what the pen’s orientation is when I’m using the Maruman, which I can’t, with the Kyokuto. The Kyokuto’s paper just feels more yielding. (This, in turn, is making me want to go back to my art, but I’ve been too sick to do much for the last couple of days.)

I’ve recently been enabled to post from bed now, though, and that’s the only reason I can get this out to you all. I should really be asleep, but I’m thinking there’s no chance of my being well enough to go in to work tomorrow, anyway. I’m aware they’ll likely need me; I’m also aware that I’ll need to sleep and that going in to work means I’ll probably expose others to whatever I’m battling, and possibly pick up a few more bugs while I’m at it. I DO NOT need to get pneumonia in an era of drug-resistant bacteria. (Neither does anyone else.)

I think I’m eight pages away from being done with the chapter reading for this week (which I’ve got to get in by Monday night); I still have three other readings and an assignment to do, there. I’ll also have to get up the nerve to touch my ePortfolio, though I suppose I should remember that I don’t actually have to turn in what I write in my first draft!

The weekend will be good for this, though. Tuesday through Thursday were pretty shot, for me (although it was more of a slow bleed, after the possible food poisoning Tuesday night, whatever happened on Wednesday [I believe this was going in to work sick], sleeping nearly all day yesterday and sleeping nearly all day today). Come to think of it, I had work Tuesday morning. I had no free time, then. And I may have started to get sick on Monday night, when I went to bed with my hair damp.

I don’t know what I was doing, Monday. I was probably watching people rush to get their homework in (or adding on to my own work for Collection Development).

Actually, now that I look — I was starting a plan for my ePortfolio Conclusion (particularly the part about plans after graduation). It took a few days of thought, but I have what appears to be a solid plan, and can now write that section in a somewhat prepared manner.

I also have three other sections I can deal with (FINISH) in the coming days. When will I do it?

I am not sure, but I have no set due date for this project. I just know that it’s better to get it done earlier, rather than later. I would write out a plan, but I know that I’m not going to stick to it, and that it’s going to worry me for the rest of the semester.

That sounds kind of fatalist.

I might get the nerve to crunch out a plan, over the weekend. The major problem is that all of this lies ahead of me; I don’t know right now how long any of it is going to take. Which is a reason to work on it as much as possible, now.

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Giving myself time: one plan towards two ends

I’ve got a plan as to how to handle the tension between Web Design and Librarianship, though I’m not sure if I’ve already written it here. I think I’ll remember it, but just in case:

Since I am on the edge of getting an LIS degree, and will therefore soon be able to move into a Library Assistant or Librarian position, it makes sense to take one of those jobs immediately after graduation. Either one has a much higher pay scale (compared to what I’m doing now) and at least the possibility of benefits. The LA position is paraprofessional; Librarian positions are professional.

If I do get the Master’s, I plan on re-taking Cataloging through the ALA. I will also have the income then to take additional courses. There are a lot that I’ve wanted to take, but didn’t have time to. Continuing Professional Development will be expected of me as a Librarian, however.

I will likely also have the income for tools and books to further my interest in and study of Web Design. This includes up-to-date graphics programs (though the most fundamental are currently cloud-based), a DSLR camera, and a graphics tablet. (The tablet comes first.)

Depending on my living situation, I may also be able to put some money away towards the possibility of tuition and fees for a MFA in Design. Right now this is so far out of reach, that it’s unrealistic to think about blowing all that money on something I’m not even sure I’ll like.

However, during my time as a Librarian, it will be possible for me to work on my Web Design skills, learn Web Design and Development via the Internet as much as I can, and work on the website of a library via a Technical Services and/or Virtual Library position. It will be possible for me to be a Webmaster in that arena, though probably not for a while.

Some time later, after I have the money to be able to take on a Design MFA without breaking myself (timewise or financially), and I have identified a school at which to study, then I can decide if I still actually can use an MFA, or if I know what I need to know, already. I will also likely know by then, if I actually would rather stay a Librarian (that is, if I like being a Librarian).

This matters because becoming a full-time Web Designer would be a change into a very competitive, for-profit field, and also would likely entail a cut in pay and benefits. I would be able to work independently, though. It’s also a more creative position, but there are other ways to be creative that aren’t, you know, careers. And this is assuming that there is still a Web as we know it, by the time I reach this point.

Given that thought, it would be best to invest in soft skills, as well as technical ones.

If I worked in a Public Library, I could feed my need to be creative by helping with art and craft programs; if I worked in an Academic Library, I could feed it by developing study aids and doing Instructional Design. (Not quite the same thing, but the same feeling of accomplishment when things start to come together at the end.)

Right now it looks like weighing the benefits of creativity and integrity against each other, although as I think I’ve said before — I’m not even totally sure I am still a creative person, on medication.

Medication can also change…so that’s a variable that I should keep in the back of my mind. I may not be on what I’m on now, for the rest of my life. Before my symptoms were controlled, I was constantly creative (in a way that I actually produced things), but I couldn’t care for myself as well. There’s kind of a trade-off there, I mean.

I’m starting to get a headache, here: I went to bed at 5:30 PM, about, and woke up at 9, then watched some cartoons and the first Deadpool movie. It’s now 2 AM; I can get back to sleep. Tomorrow, I can plan on working on some of my ePortfolio tasks…particularly, essay writing. I hope I’ll be up to it.

And yeah…I suppose it is possible to “dabble” in Web Design…but either Web Design or Librarianship could take up all of my time.

I spoke with someone who says this sounds like a solid plan, though I was talking over his head at some points. I hope it’s a solid plan…

And yes, I did just totally forget about my desire to learn Japanese language and work in Special Collections. That is the alternate pathway, if I don’t end up liking (or just can’t or don’t want to do) Web Design. I should have time to study nihongo alongside everything else too, in the early stages…

Hmm. Exactly where and how would I work that in, though?

If I don’t go for a Design MFA, though, I could still put the money I saved towards a Japanese Language and Literature MA…!

The curse of having scruples…will I eventually become a librarian specializing in Japanese language?

One more day, down. Instead of reading in my sashiko book at lunch, I ended up doing some research on the path of Web Design, and to what extent Web Design includes or implies Marketing work. I did this at work because I have little chance of infecting the work computers, whereas I want my home computer to continue to function!

I found a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which I would need to pay attention to if I became a Web Designer (and wanted to stay one).

However, the upshot for me is that it appears Digital Marketing is not the same thing as Web Design. And Web Design is a subset of Web Development, but also not exactly the same thing.

I started doing research on this because I realized that the idea that Web Design would have me doing Marketing work was just an assumption…so I decided to test it.

The bright side is that my assumption seems to be false. The other side — but one which I’d have to deal with in any job — is that I may not agree with my clients or with what I am helping them sell. Integrity is a major issue, with me, and it’s a reason I’m in my current Library job — and not working for a for-profit institution. Not that working for profit is necessarily bad, but I’m thinking there is likely a different way of thinking about what we’re doing, and why.

It’s one thing to build collections which respond to the needs of the community (thus enabling them to educate themselves and act on that education, knowing full well that their journey is their own); it’s another to manipulate people into doing something. The latter may not be much of an issue with sales, where someone is actually looking to spend money; however, it would be an issue with what that firm I’d be helping, does with the money they would gain because of my help, and it would be a major issue in political arenas.

I don’t know if that counts as a holistic, systemic or ecological view…but I doubt I’ll lose it.

I also think that it’s a really good idea to learn Japanese language and go into a library which has Asian Languages special collections. It’s closer and likely more…I don’t know, satisfying, I think, than going through the trouble of an Art program would be, for me.

On top of this, I could deal with helping manage a Library website (which is something I can get behind and [mostly] authentically support). That would give me training in supporting a Web project…which, if I’m being honest, I mostly want skills in so that I can build awesome(r) stuff online. Doing it as the main part of my job is something else.

I had to get my priorities and future pathway straight in my mind before I could work really hard on my ePortfolio. I was asked to think about my end point, and am feeling much more secure in that, now. So I want to learn Japanese language, possibly go for a Japanese Languages and Literatures MA or PhD, and become a Japanese Collections specialist! Awesome!

I mean seriously, that would be totally sweet…the thing is, I’d probably end up being an Academic Librarian with this path, or a Public Librarian in a place with a large Japanese-reading or -diasporic population…hmm.

(I could also work at a Japanese bookstore…or, eventually, as a book translator…)

Remembering why I’m in the LIS program

I’m being told to “do my homework,” or otherwise all my planning will be for naught…

Despite this, I am now aware that now is not quite the time to be doing homework (it is 10:45 PM, here), and going to work today reminded me of why I wanted to work in a library.  It was only a six-hour shift, but it was surprisingly pleasant — even with the babies occasionally crying.  😉  It was okay, she was really upset.  😦

I think that my vacation distanced me somewhat from the reason I’m in Library School (“LIS” = “Library & Information Science”) in the first place, and the realities of dealing with the workplace, as versus the curricula and the teachers (and the history and politics).  Knock on wood, I have been witness to very little trouble over at least the past six months — though this could be because I am now working only two days a week for 3/4 of a day, each.  (Given my workload this semester, I was overloaded at 18 hours a week of work and 30 hours a week of school.)

I am also seeing what the technical track looks like at my school, and am wondering if maybe it actually is going to be easier for me to deal with people face-to-face than online and on the phone (I don’t really envy the people trying to communicate through the phone).  I’ve been also doing some digging around job specifications…and I don’t think it has to be as hard as I’m making it.  I also don’t think that I should take “I don’t work well with people” as an axiom by which to live my life, as all that’s doing is limiting me and my choices.  Even if I do have autistic traits (not enough to be called “autistic,” though, I’ve heard) that doesn’t mean I have to define myself by what I think autism is.

My major qualm is losing motivation while I’m in school because of having an unclear and unresearched end goal.  Right now, the only places I’ve worked have been Public Libraries…which I know pretty well, and which I am getting acclimated to.  What I’ve found with the Metadata and Cataloging courses is that I probably don’t want to be a Cataloger…and maybe I don’t want to try this path again with Digital Services (i.e., try it and see if I like it:  what happens if I don’t?).  What I’ve found with my prior courses, particularly the Intellectual Freedom course and the Diversity course, is that I may very well be more aligned philosophically with the institution of Public Libraries than I thought.

In the absence of any clear better ideas…library work does seem suited to me. Maybe the variation in quality in regard to my experience of public service has more to do with that experience starting from ground zero (when I didn’t know how to set limits with people, and thus at times have had my boundaries overrun.  That is a much rarer occurrence, these days).

When the Clerk positions open up, I’m planning to get tested and hopefully get on the list to be considered for hiring, especially as I’m doing most of the job of a Library Clerk now, but am not being paid for it.  I asked my supervisor today to alert me when that happens, though I think I can get notified of this on my own.  I did this because I can recall having a dream where I was saying that I didn’t resent the work, so much as didn’t feel I was being compensated fairly for it.  (Yeah, I dream about work…when do I get a rest?  I don’t know…)

It is…pretty clear that the job I have now is preparing me to be a Library Clerk (which in turn can move up into a Library Assistant, though they are parallel paths with different skill sets and endpoints).  Clerks get paid a wage at which one may be able to support oneself; I, as an Aide, don’t.  It is the case, though, that I may not be able to take on the workload of a Clerk (I can probably do 20 hours a week, max.) while still in Library School.  But Library School should be over in two years.

I’m not certain about this — I have tonight plotted out a course which fits in everything I can take which is of the Public Library track — but I think that more Humanities/Social Science classes will be easier for me than the tech stuff, which I have wanted to do (before I started in on it and started getting some of the worst grades of my life).  Although I have wanted to do tech work, I’ve lost some confidence around that.  In particular, I find it stressing me in a different way than people-watching, stressed me.  In this case, I feel like there actually are right answers, and that derivation from that is easy to spot.  It’s also very possible that my mind does not work in a standard way, which doesn’t help me catalog in a standard way.

My program should also be built around Library service — as versus, say, Information Architecture, which they do give a specialization towards, but it’s the same class over and over again with different topics.  In contrast, the Public Library track is fairly diversified.

Once I can finally get my Driver’s License (I’m close, but not quite there yet), I will then be able to become a Library Assistant and drive around the county to fill vacancies (which is very much not what I want to be doing, but it is experience toward becoming a Librarian, and that means one step closer to financial independence).  The upshot of this is that I don’t have to work when I’m overloaded with classwork…although reading, papers, and oral presentations are things I can easily do.  Coding is something else.  It’s simple when you’ve got the framework down already…but I don’t know if I want something that simple, and the framework…well, it’s complex.

The higher jobs specific to the Library, oddly enough, also look easier than the Clerk jobs, and pay more (sometimes, much more).  I’ve realized as well that I don’t have to stay within this community, although the ones I’ve worked with have generally been pretty decent.  The surprise for me came with the prospect of working as a Librarian in Hawaii…which I believe would contain communities that I would in no way feel bad serving.

I’ve also gotten over a bit of the fear of people I had when I initially got this job…years of being treated decently (by surprise) will do that to a person, eh?

It’s now 11:30 here:  I should get some rest and try and work off this jet lag…

Lots of stuff going on. What do I do when I actually *don’t* have to do anything?

I’m kind of tired of browsing others’ artwork while my own voice goes quieted (self-censored?).  Not that it isn’t a good thing to have exposure, but looking is not equivalent to doing.  It’s the same thing as reading without writing.

Last time I met with my usual counselor, they were encouraging me to take time out for my own self-care.  I’ve had an easier time looking forward to the next three years, realizing that if I take time out to care for myself, it won’t be three years straight of all-work-no-play.  (During high school, which is likely where I initially refined my study skills, it was this way.  I had to play-first, work-later, or else work would eat up all my time.  I was supplied with more homework than I could ever complete, which did jack for learning good work habits.  Or, rather, work habits that wouldn’t erode my will to engage.)

Today has been nearly nothing but taking it easy…which isn’t a good thing, but I couldn’t bring myself to think too hard, after the last two days.  I did manage to get my homework done, which was relatively easy, and fun (my Database work), though there has been no progress on the readings (I can’t concentrate around other people, and didn’t want to be alone again to get quiet time).

I also managed to get the daikon pickles started.  🙂  After that, I wasn’t totally hot on cleaning my room, or the bathroom.  I know it needs to be done, but it’s waited this long.  It can hold off a bit longer.

It also helps that I’ve accidentally read too much of my tutorials, and listened to an optional reading that I thought was required.  I have a good way to go for my Database class, where it comes to optional readings; not so far, to finish the required ones.  But I have another week, to do it.

I can get to work on the next lecture…and answering the question posed at the end of it.  In my last class, I need to finish a reading, then answer a post on it.  I think this will be it for the rest of this week, though I can’t be sure, as the days the lessons change over are not aligned with each other.

I just kind of can’t believe that I was able to complete everything.  I thought that I might not be able to get full credit on last night’s essay — but that could have been because I couldn’t imagine that the assignment was as simple as it was.  I was willing to settle for half-credit.

There is also the “homework” of reading for my Vocational program (which I have time to do, now), and talking to one or more Museum Librarians.  I think I have enough information to hypothesize that I won’t need an advanced degree in Art to be competent…but it would be nice to talk to someone in the field.  It would just clarify things.  My fear is that they will ask me questions about Art that I can’t answer.

Although it will help in getting a clearer idea of the field.  My meeting with my old co-worker did clarify that Digital Services is likely not a great bet for me, because it does still deal with customer service; in a Public Library, this would be Public Service.  An Art Librarian position would still be customer service, but my “customers” would be people in the Art field, I’m thinking.  These people seem qualitatively different than “anyone off the street.”

And then there is my “homework” from Counseling, which is to work out my time management.  I’ve been OK so far, but I’ve only been through the first four weeks of my courses.  It is relatively great that I only have one course that I have to get a good grade in…

I do need to work on my note-taking, though.  And in addition to my housekeeping and cooking, I still need to learn to drive.

Thankfully, though, I think that (and exercise) are all I have on my plate…

My life is now officially circling around employment.

Today was another day of work, down.  It wouldn’t have been as tough as it was, but …we still had backed up shelving from over the Labor Day holiday. That, and we were understaffed.  As long as I was there, I was the only shelver; however, I did get to meet a new applicant, who might actually be able to help.  (I hope she didn’t feel that I snubbed her by not speaking; it’s just my way not to speak unless I have something of effect to say.)

The really nice thing about my work is that at this point, to the best of my knowledge — at least — people are generally decent.  There are some quirks and things to be ironed out, of course, but it isn’t my job to deal with them.

I meant to let one of the higher-ranking members of my staff know about a specific patron interaction which …kind of highlighted one of the reasons why things don’t work ideally.  Patrons will often come up to me with questions which I’m not prepared to answer, and which — because of my rank — I’m not expected or permitted to answer.  But apparently, I’m easier to approach than anyone sitting at Information, waiting just to answer questions like the ones that are frequently lobbed at me.

When I can’t answer them and redirect them to Information, a relatively high percentage of them will go without an answer, rather than ask the person who can give them a correct answer.  In turn, what prohibits me from answering these questions is, in effect, both reasoning which indicates that I am not expected to know all of this stuff (like who wrote what book series, off the top of my head); and also a political climate that we all have to deal with.

I’m fairly certain that professional standards inhibit me from disclosing the nature of the one particular exchange I’m thinking of…but I do mean to tell at least one person about what happened.  When I go in next and see this post on my break, I should remember the exchange.

This post will probably mean nothing to me in a year’s time, because I will have forgotten the content.

Haaa…right.

Well, the only other big thing going on in my life, rather than — well — life (and my Vocational program), is the University program.  I did successfully submit my Database assignment last night, and got full credit (and a nice comment)!  I was really happy about this, because that project was a substantial amount of work.  It was also hands-on and analytical work, which I appreciated.  Theory isn’t everything, you know?

I’m a little behind in my readings, and just now have been able to fully concentrate on next week’s assignments.  Because I was up until around 2 AM this morning, though, it seemed like the thing to do after getting some food into my system was to nap.  I’m hoping this doesn’t become a pattern (again)!  The good thing is, largely, that I have no other major responsibilities than caring for myself, work, University, and the program which should help me obtain a higher-paying job…so everything is pointed in the direction of really eventually becoming financially stable and independent — with a focus, more or less.

I do still need to figure out what to do about asking what would be required to succeed as an Art Librarian.  It is a dream; I’m just not sure if it will hold up to reality.  My major problem here is fear, around making a poor first impression.  And fear, around not being sure that I will indeed have enough time to educate myself on Art History at the same time as I am intensely engaged in classes.

I’m just not certain how much work it would take to become qualified:  in particular, I don’t know how much background knowledge I’d need, that I don’t have.  I am pretty sure that I want to work in the Special Library field, though:  it just seems like there is a much wider range of roles than in the traditional library settings (Public and Academic).  Managing vast amounts of data in a manner which makes it findable and usable seems like something I’d like to do.  I wouldn’t say I’m naturally talented at it!  But that is what Information Science (as versus Library Science) seems to be about.  It would have been nice to know this before having entered the program, though.

For that matter, maybe I should have taken that work-study job at my University Library, back when I was an undergrad.  If I had done that, I would at least have known what it would be like to work in an Academic Library setting.  Right now…the only experience I’ve got is in Public Libraries…and though the kids can be cute, I’m not sure I want to stay here for the rest of my career.

Maybe I should bring this up with my Vocational counselor…it will give me some direction, in the short-term.  If I take a job at a University library, it should help me know whether I want to work in an Art Library for an educational institution, or whether I want to concentrate on Museums and/or Business, within an Art-related field.  (Of course, that’s a hope.  I am uncertain just how much being in a role like a research assistant [which I’ve never been, so I’m not sure it is similar] will require my actual knowledge of the subject matter.)

Then again, speaking of fears:  I am thinking that this Database course may turn out to be one of my favorites, although I was afraid of it at first.  Apparently, this course intimidates a lot of people.  Maybe I don’t need to be afraid of meeting some Art Librarians?

Coming up for air: Week 1, down.

I’ve been away for a few days, haven’t I?

Wow.  A week, basically.

Well, classes have begun.  I’ve been spending more time studying than I really…would have expected to enjoy.  Then there is all the technology to handle, but most of all the best point is the window up and out of my relatively manual and clerical and low-paid position.

Point-blank, though, it gives me a reason to interact with others locally and through the computer, explore and gain new ideas, and it gives me interesting material to read which I can (and am expected to) then think and write about.

In comparison — at least prior to the unofficial series here which I’ve been writing on what I’ve been reading; and excluding the posts on Art process which have gone back some number of years — it has seemed that I’ve somewhat been spinning my wheels.  (So it wasn’t just a feeling!)

My database/technical course is interesting, and ties right in to the problems of organizing my digital photos which I was talking about, some time ago.  I can try and figure out when, another night.

The other two courses, I will need to get working on; along with setting up some kind of calendar, and trying to figure out where I really want all these communications sent.  The technical course is just much faster-paced than the other two, which reflects what I’ve been told at work:  that the core courses are difficult, and the electives are not as intense.

I can see that I may need to rethink (or at least loosen my grip on) my career direction, though…if I do find that I really like this database thing…