New clothes on Black Friday

Although I hadn’t really been looking forward to shopping — at least, for clothes — I’m feeling pretty good about what I came away with, this year.

For those not in the know, yesterday was a holiday that is probably specific to the U.S.: Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving is, “Black Friday,” which is basically a kick-off to the holiday shopping season. It’s essentially an unofficial commercial holiday.

I’m fairly certain that many “Americans” (I’m aware of the messed-up global politics of this term, which is politicized even between groups within the U.S.) have mixed feelings about Black Friday. However, this year it was my best chance to get clothing at reduced prices. Given that I am planning to get a better job, it seems (or seemed) important to be able to, “dress the part.”

During the last month, I’ve only been going to work twice a week, in order to give myself time to complete my ePortfolio (now done). This has meant that I have not needed a great number of work outfits or clothing…but I’m about to increase my hours again, and even just that requires professional clothes.

Or maybe I should state that I’ve gotten professional clothes because I’m seeking upward mobility. (No jeans, this time; it goes against dress code for paraprofessional and professional employees.)

The next step, for me, is practicing my driving so that I’ll be able to take a job which is not necessarily accessible by public transit.

I also have about two weeks of school left before the semester is completely done with, so I need to be doing some research and other stuff which I’m reluctant to think about, at this point. But it’s only two weeks, and the rest of my grades are good, so I can deal with it. The major issue is that the Final paper is self-directed, and I’m decompressing, right now.

I think it would be different if this class were continuing education, rather than specifically affecting my academic standing in the eyes of the government and University.

It is coming time to trawl for better employment, though; and I’m not convinced that I’ll be happiest in my current system (even though I think that Upper Management might want me to believe that).

Given that…I know I’ll have to deal with my transcripts. My field is one of those where academic records actually matter, and I’ve attended three Universities and two Community Colleges. I know I don’t remember how to access all my accounts. It should be in my papers, though.

Not having listed the number of credits which I had taken, might have been a reason I haven’t been called in for an interview for the Library Assistant position I applied and tested for. That, and I didn’t take the interview with enough gravitas the first time around (last year; I was afraid to be offered a job and have to turn it down because of University commitments. Three declined offers, and I get kicked out of the system. I’m not sure if there’s any coming back from that).

Anyhow…I got some pretty clothes. 🙂 For about half as much as they’re probably actually worth. I think that I’m finding a personal style, and as such am not hating the selection in Misses’ sizes, so much as I used to.

It’s also kind of nice that my size is a popular one, so I didn’t have too many problems with finding pants. My shape is now distinctly female, though. (I don’t think I have the option of wearing Men’s pants, anymore.) I think I’ve said this before, but I don’t so much have an issue with being female, more than I have issues with being tried by other people (mostly older men) because they think my appearance means weakness is one of my inherent personal qualities.

That is, I have to deal with misogynist idiocy being thrown at me, regardless of whether or not I view myself as a woman. Sporadically, but still.

I’ve started wearing my old glasses again, too. They are distinctly feminine (rose gold), but they fit better, they have large lenses, and they’re sturdy. (The sturdiness was what caused me to select these frames over everything else.) When I get my next prescription, I’m putting the lenses into these.

It’s kind of nice that I’ve found (over the years) that clothing and accessories for female people don’t have to be cheap and throwaway. It took a while of searching, though. It’s not something that’s obvious from within the Junior’s department, or from looking at Fashion Jewelry, but quality clothing for female bodies does exist.

Aside from everything, there’s a lot I have to do. Like: take a shower; wash my hair; dust and vacuum and organize my room, my office, and my craft areas; wash my old clothes; take the tags off of, and wash my new clothes; and work on my last two weeks of Collection Development. I also need to work on driving, and hygiene. And, right: water my plants.

I don’t think there’s anything else.

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Reviving a distant desire to become an Art Librarian?

Today, I was asked to think about what my plans were for post-graduation life, and into the next few years. I’ve been so busy thinking about how to get through the present that I realized that I had not planned things out, realistically, even to three years into the future.

I know that I plan on getting a job as a Library Assistant after graduation. I know after that lies librarianship, and that I have the goals of learning Japanese language, learning to drive, and learning to cook (more) in front of me. Also there is the possibility of learning to code…though I’m not as excited about that as I used to be.

So…depending on how the coding goes, I’ll know if I want to move further into the technical aspects of Web Development, or just stick with Web Design or Web Production. If I become fluent in Japanese language, I will be able to work with Japanese special collections. Once I can get deeper into my Web Design reading, I’ll have a better idea of whether I want to move forward with that path, as well.

I’ve been advised against Marketing, however (it conflicts with my ethics) — which then might severely limit my Web Design options — and against Web Programming (where making something which is only “mostly” right, is about as good as making nothing). An old acquaintance of mine replied, “but I don’t want to!” when I told her she could always get better at drawing. I kind of feel that way about Web Programming, at this point.

What I have done within the last few days…hmm. I started in on playing with some sashiko embroidery (it’s relatively impressive compared to nothing, but still a little embarrassing — I know, don’t judge first trials harshly), got my sashiko threads cut, bundled and tied, got a couple of Japanese thimbles to practice stitching in a Japanese technique (they fit around the middle finger)…got a hera (scorer) for tracing patterns and some circle templates for sashiko pattern-making, plus white transfer paper. This is with an eye to making one or more furoshiki (wrapping cloths), leaning towards more than one.

I’m also not sure, now, whether to make pants with my ikat and/or batik, or to make one or more skirts (that fit) with it. I’ve been appreciating clothes that fit, better, since I got up to size 16. There is beauty to being heavier; most of the aesthetic issues I’ve run across deal with being without clothes of the right size, or only having clothes which don’t fit well.

Today I also went and got a larger stake for my tomato plant (it decided to list heavily to one side, recently), and repotted a bunch of succulents (which, amazingly, didn’t seem to need it; their root systems were still very compact. Either that, or I accidentally broke them off). I haven’t shown any pictures of what the succulents look like, now. Generally, the stems have gotten longer and the lower leaves have begun to die.

Also, I’m not sure if it has to do with limited sunlight from being indoors, but the special colors that some of them used to have (yellow, maroon, violet), have faded into more greenish shades.

The stalk that was on one of them (the one which used to be silvery blue) flowered, and is now dying. I think the plant itself is an Echeveria because the stalk came from the side of the main stem (not the center), and the rest of the plant seems as healthy as ever. There’s another type which flowers and then dies (Sempervivum, I think, which is ironic given the name), but my plant doesn’t look like the photos of those.

I’m not sure if I’m transitioning into a person who has a “real job” and “hobbies.” I really don’t know. Especially since I’m not sure I’ll want to continue on in the Library field. I’m completing the degree so that I’ll have the option to have a gainful career: the window in which I will have the luxury of the possibility of extended schooling…won’t last forever. At least, unless I’m gainfully employed. Even then, I can’t imagine being able to save up enough money to take two or three years off for study, again. (Unless, that is, I became a Professor.)

The plants are good as pet surrogates…it gives me something to care for and watch grow, which in turn helps me feel better about the passage of time. Though yes, they were cuter as babies. 🙂 I also now have five empty small pots in which I can put new plants. 🙂 I should wash them out on the porch, tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure M is looking forward to my being able to go back to my art, but at this point…I’m not sure of the value of it, unfortunately. Though I have envisioned making some posters — or paintings — for my room, now that I’ve begun to hang some of my work. I see the value of covering blank walls now, that is.

I just get frustrated with working only in 2-D. There’s also the subject matter issue. If I do get the chance to take art classes again…Painting (and not just the skill of painting, but philosophies behind why to paint, and why we paint what we do) would be something I’d be interested in. My community-college Art program was relatively light on Art History and Art Criticism. I might have the chance to go for an MFA, but that’s a best-case scenario…one which I was engaged with at the beginning of my Library Science program.

It is possible for me to go back for an MFA and then become an Academic Librarian at an Art College, a specialist in the Arts for a Public Library, or an Archivist or Special Librarian for a Museum. I mean…if I had an MFA, I would actually be in the running for one or more of those jobs. With an AA (as I have now), I just don’t have the subject-area expertise (although I’m told I don’t need subject-area specialties, necessarily; but why would someone hire me over someone who has a BA or MA level degree in the Arts?).

Maybe I should be giving that more thought. I would likely need Library experience (greater than I have now), and I need more breadth of skill if I’m going to run all aspects of a Special Library. But classes to expand the latter are attainable, and so is the possibility of the former. If I keep up with my studies…I also may be able to get grants to finance my way through school (especially as I’m already in an Honors Society).

Then, I would just have to choose between an MA in Art History or an MFA in Studio Art. By the time I’m done with this and become established in a Special Library job…I might be towards the potential end of my career.

But maybe I should set my sights high?

I’m reminded again that I am an Arts and Humanities person, not a primarily technically-oriented one. Maybe the passing on of culture is something I’d like to get involved in…and I wonder if I can bring my interest in, “publishing better on the Web,” into this, somehow?

This was a good day.

It’s…been a day!

So yesterday and tonight were spent working on two assignments for my Reference Services class. That, itself, has been a ride. I’m glad I took this class, even if I don’t end up working in Reference. Right now we’re finishing an Ethics unit, and I turned in a paper based on an (awesome) interview with someone who helps run a large urban library.

Tomorrow looks like it will be full of studying for my Database class, and my Political Advocacy class. If you count this as the early morning of the 22nd (I have about 23 hours left), I only have about six more days to turn in everything for the latter, so I better hop to it. After this week is over, though, I won’t have to deal with that one class anymore, and I can focus on the other three. (Nice thing: I haven’t had to use Accommodations yet! And I’m in 10 units! In a Master’s program!)

I should, though, catch up on the group work that I’m dealing with: I put it off on Tuesday and Wednesday to get what was due (technically) last night, done. Now it’s early Thursday morning and I’m wondering what to do with myself, given that I didn’t take medication until about 12 AM. I doubt I’ll even get tired until about 1:30 AM.

I also just realized that after my Advocacy class ends, I then have two weeks free from having to go in to work…unless I volunteer to be on-call. Should I? Or should I just concentrate on catching up and working ahead in my classes…? (I don’t think I can answer that, now.)

Well, like I was saying, work today was — well, hectic. I was only on desk for an hour, but I was running around to keep up with everything, by the end. I also helped seriously knock out a backup of carts-to-be-shelved (the lineup was full when I got there, and nearly empty when I left. [That’s what happens when I’m not on desk!]).

The problem is running around so fast that I get confused as to what I’m doing or where the extra receipt came from and why it was there and did I hand out something else (I figured it out after I slowed down and gradually remembered what happened. I had to let the adrenaline rush go a little bit, though). I was trying to complete processing of an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) cart by the end of my shift, in addition to keeping the return bins clear and helping patrons sign up for cards and checking out materials…when I should have just left a little of the ILL cart for the next person, and not stressed so much.

But I’m so totally not hating my career choice, now. 🙂 What’s weird is the difference between the humanities-and-research-oriented side of my curriculum (Library Science), and the technical side (Information Science). I’m very sure they’re using different parts of my brain. What I haven’t been sure about, is where I’m going.

…Though thinking back, I’m certain I wanted to be a Web Designer and/or Web Developer (though this was before I was feeling so good about public service). I just haven’t decided to take the MySQL class, yet, or the other two small tech courses I can fit in. If I do all of it, my Summer is going to be packed. On top of that, it’s only a start. It will be a foundation, but not anything in which I believe I’d be able to be immediately employed. There is the opportunity to work in the Virtual Library; we’re just not sure if it’s located too far away (ironically).

Right now, the vast majority of my job experience has been in Public Libraries, along with some Academic work (I was briefly a Student Assistant, acting as an Editor for course texts). I think that ethically and values-wise, Public Libraries are a fit; but interacting with people so heavily is new to me. It wasn’t until I spoke with someone high up in Reference somewhere else, that I realized that customer service and public service wasn’t just part of his job; it was the focus of his job. (I also didn’t realize how many people in the Library field are genuinely accepting and kind!)

That is, my experience as a Library Aide is atypical for my branch. Most of the jobs of most of the people I work with, heavily involve dealing with people; and I’m just sheltered from most of it because I’m support staff and in a relatively junior position. They have to do Outreach, Advocacy, Programming, and Marketing. For the public-facing part of my job, I’m just tasked with Circulation.

I deal with the athletic stuff (lifting, sorting) and the stuff that requires high mobility (crouching, reaching) and high accuracy (everything needs high accuracy), with limited responsibility to staff a public desk. But the Clerks deal with the public more than I do; so do the Library Assistants and Librarians. The only other position at my branch is Head Librarian, and even she does staff Reference.

So I’ve been trying to get more comfortable with dealing with the public, and have been reaching back for help when I need it (like when I forget a rarely-used policy, as happened today). Now that I know that my time on desk is quality time in which I’m acclimating for a higher position, I’m not so upset about it, anymore.

I’ve also realized that my workplace…doesn’t work as well as I think many would wish. But that doesn’t mean that all libraries are dysfunctional or that the entire system is corrupt (as has been suggested to me). And it doesn’t mean that I’ll never get tough enough to deal with routine interpersonal problems. We do the best we can, you know? I’m just seeing patterns now that I hadn’t seen, before, and it’s informing my process.

I’m also learning a lot in my classes, and that is also helping.

I should probably get going so I can get up sometime before 11, tomorrow. 🙂 I was concerned on Monday about being able to get all this done by the end of Wednesday, but it seems I overestimated the time it would take for me to get things done. I also probably underestimated my ability to write to a deadline…

Career Pathways: Web Design, Development, Production look interesting.

I’m not going to be able to stay here for long (getting sick, need rest), but I wanted to note something down before heading to bed: it looks like the goal I had before, of becoming a Web Designer first and then transitioning into a Web Developer, is not a bad option!

A while back I had a friend advise me not to take on a career as a programmer, though they didn’t tell me why. (I still don’t know why, and if I would care; I should ask them.) I ran as search as to why this might be the case…and I need to do some more research, but the main issue that I care about — besides technology constantly updating, meaning that things break routinely — is that programmers are seen by employers as interchangeable. And often, it’s cheaper for a company to outsource this labor.

So I don’t have to go whole-hog and become a software developer. Web Design is more in line both with my skills, and with what I’m being taught. Having Development skills, in addition, would give me a leg up. A page I found at SkillCrush is particularly encouraging. The only thing I will be really missing, on graduation, is training in Typography. I do know a place where I can take that class, though…or I could research and learn it on my own.

Of course, I’m planning to go into a job as a Librarian right after graduation, and build my tech skills on the side; I don’t expect to get the MLIS and then be — ready? to head right into a Design job. (I also wonder if a Design job would mean taking a pay/benefits cut, relative to being a Librarian.)

And then there is the possibility of becoming a Web Producer, which is like being a Content Editor…also very interesting, and a possible extra option.

Well, my eyes are burning and my nose is starting to, as well. I also heard that some others were sick at the office, so maybe I should just let this be, for now, and get some rest…

Sometimes things just fit together and you get a glimpse of the big picture:

Although I didn’t absolutely need a break from study and work, today — or, at least, didn’t think I did — it’s been nice to disengage from the career/training thing, for a bit.  Tonight I took a cue from what I had been writing about in an earlier draft of this post, and set to work on a few earrings I’ve wanted to repair for months, if not years.  I had stashed them away, and chose not to work on them, for one reason or another — even though in one case, the repair was incredibly easy (switching out sharp, steel earwires, for higher-quality silver ones).

What I’ve realized — and I’ve just earlier this week read a really, really interesting paper on Intellectual Property (IP) which in effect told me that I wasn’t violating anyone’s IP — is that the beadwork thing that I’ve been involved with is relatively…well, it’s niche.  It’s kind of like lacemaking, just not that niche (…I don’t think?).  🙂  It’s a craft and creative pursuit where the things that are made are not necessarily groundbreaking, and as such are relatively unaddressed in IP law.

Since I stopped making and selling beaded jewelry largely because I did not understand where I stood in regard to this…and now I know it’s OK to use techniques I’ve learned from books (just not to use patterns from books if I’m selling them for profit, re:  community regulations), and have a sense of a framework and where I stand (as part of a community of practice)…it’s kind of spurred off an enthusiasm that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Another reading I did, further back in the semester (I think we’re about halfway through, now), stated that most costs in manufacturing could be attributed to labor.  This was another thing which gave me some heart, because creating beaded objects is relatively inexpensive so far as materials go.  The vast majority of the cost is taken up in the time and skilled labor needed to produce these objects…and then there is the time taken up in managing a small (tiny) business.

And as a craft jeweler based in the U.S., I can’t compete in the same market as people who make beaded jewelry in other countries, and sell their jewelry in the U.S. for what is, in effect, below cost here.  If I make beaded jewelry, I’ll need to be strategic about it — and be willing to sell it for what it’s worth, meaning that I’ll need to make sure that my jewelry — in quality and added value — merits the cost I’ll be charging.

So…there’s this, and also the fact that my experiments in suminagashi, plus my recent experiment (one, so far) with linoleum block printing, plus my training in Digital Imaging, is paying off in my Web Design course:  I own the rights to files I’ve produced, to use as graphics in my Web pages — and those graphics are not born-digital, which I feel gives me a certain advantage.

I’m starting to see a theme, here:  I think it’s highly likely that I would be best off in a job in which I get to be creative.  Thus, Web Design is highly viable, as is Web Development with a Design component.  And, I can do it in a library setting, if I really want to contribute to a Public Good.  That is, I don’t have to leave Art and Design behind for Librarianship or Information Science:  there are ways to merge these paths, particularly where it comes to Info Science, plus Art and Design and technology.  And it is worth it to continue the pursuit of Art and Design, because creativity is what I’m actually “about.”  (I’ll need to work on that phrasing for my Elevator Speech.)

Right now I’m working on a new earring design which I came up with a couple of nights ago.  I can see where it needs to be tweaked; I can also see where the beads I’m using are inferior.  I don’t have photos now, but I should be able to take some, soon.  Essentially, the bright metallic coating on some of my glass beads (SuperDuos) rubbed off in the short time I was handling them in order to weave the pattern!  Kind of disappointing…unless they’re meant to be fatigued (like stonewashed denim)?  I’m not sure.

There is an upcoming bead show, but I’m uncertain as to whether I’ll actually be able to have the time to do it.  That’s all in the future, though:  for now, I’ll focus on what’s in front of me, and try not to deny myself too many opportunities for creativity.  ❤

 

Getting it together

Last night, I was talking with some people about how things are, or were, going.  I realized that my resistance to doing my homework is likely largely related to the fact that I had been betting on being able to work as a Cataloger, but my Cataloging class is very 19th-century, and my Metadata class, very early-21st-century.  What I am learning from these two classes is along the lines of not knowing what I was getting into…and not particularly knowing where I’m going.  I have also reached some kind of point of what feels like disillusionment with cataloging…at first I was excited, then, not so much.

The upshot is that I still have ample time to switch gears, and the two or more times when I have questioned my path through my MLIS, I’ve done work to plot out alternate courses.  What I am thinking of right now is gaining Information Science skills, but not necessarily going on to work in the Library field, after graduation.  In this case…I can take classes focusing around working with coding and computers, and hope to be able to apply them in applications after Library School which are not necessarily focused around the institution of libraries.

I also mentioned last night that I am looking for additional work experience, but am afraid to leave my job while I’m in the middle of the Master’s program…because it will likely take up at least 20 hours a week of my time, and would require learning a new set of skills at the same time as I would be trying to focus on my classes.  I’ve realized that writing, art, and to some degree, jewelry, are all contract-based (if one is lucky) or freelance positions.  This is what I found after a while of looking through career books.  The publishing field has also been said to be shrinking, due to influence from the ‘net.  (Not to mention that libraries have had to drastically reframe their goals to remain viable, in a post-Web world.)  What I didn’t realize until I talked it out last night, though, is that I can likely start out in freelancing while I’m still working at the Library and working on my Master’s.  The hours of a freelancer are flexible, after all.

One other thing I realized is that the multiple tracks I have out in front of me are things that overlap to a strong degree, though I didn’t realize it earlier.  Right now I’m taking two out of the three uniquely Cataloging-oriented courses which I have access to.  That isn’t bad, especially when a lot of what I had planned to take for Cataloging does also apply to Digital Services, which in turn is just a technology-oriented position dealing with Virtual Libraries, and the like:  which is really what I want to be doing.  Well, that, or helping with the back end data management of a group which deals with art or jewelry.  Then I asked myself what could help me get into a job like that, and I realized:  in absence of a Computer Science degree…this.

I still haven’t re-tried my hand at fiction, and don’t really know if I will be able to keep myself healthy while doing it.  But this blog has enabled me to keep some of my skills at writing nonfiction, and I’ve read that’s where most of the writing jobs are, anyway.

Alright, I’ve got to go, for now…

Career self-help books

I am about 1/3 of the way through What’s the alternative?:  Career options for librarians and info pros by Rachel Gordon, which goes over some nontraditional avenues for utilizing Library & Information Science skills.  I have just made it to the chapter where the author talks about cobbling together multiple income streams to make a living (which is, unfortunately, looking like it’s something I’ll need to do — given my job interests).

I’m glad the tone of the book has picked up; the first two chapters, in hindsight, feel relatively…inapplicable to my situation.  I’m not a highly social type, and that is what makes most library positions I know of appear distasteful to me; but Gordon seems to assume that I’m a typical Library person, and…I’m not really, from what I can see.

I have high ethics; I like to help people; I see the flaws in capitalism (though it would be a mistake to suggest that I don’t like to buy things or that I see money to be worthless; the major issue is that the system does not work ideally for a very large number of people).  What I’m not is someone who can easily look forward to routinely dealing with difficult personalities and being in charge of disciplining patrons, or leading a group Storytime.

What’s weird is that Gordon mentions another book that I had picked up at a different time, then sold back, I think; but I must have bought it again because it’s on my shelf and it isn’t the original used copy I had, which someone had tried to rip in half.  This is Refuse to choose, by Barbara Sher.  (It looks like I stopped at Chapter 5, for the latter.)

Not bad, for someone who majorly started reading this text, today?  On top of these two, I still have You majored in what?:  Mapping your path from chaos to career, by Katharine Brooks.  I still haven’t made it all the way through You majored in what? (it’s a workbook, not really a straight reading book), though it has helped me a good deal.  I should probably finish What’s the alternative?, hopefully before the week is out, and then start in on something else, now that I know that my mind needs to be stimulated to stop it from imploding (I get mood and anxiety issues along with embodiment issues, when I don’t think enough).

Now that I look back on that Sher book…I’m wondering if I’m even in the target market (something I learned in Business courses is that one has to self-select themselves out of any marketing blasted to the world; it isn’t necessarily directed at them, though from the perspective of a viewer it must seem like it’s all directed at them).  On a cursory glance, it talks about “Scanners” (as a personality type) and aims to further define the subtypes of “Scanners.”  This would surely have fit me just out of college (the copyright date is 2006, right after I graduated), but…growth can happen over a decade.

And, right, there is that book by Susan Cain, Quiet:  The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, that my counselor wanted me to read, which I’m not reading so much right now because I have an appointment coming up in two days and…Gordon’s book may be more applicable, right now.  Quiet is more of a background- or self-knowledge book (though with vastly more credibility, to me, than Refuse to choose, the latter of which is based on…what knowledge?); What’s the alternative? is more of a handbook for people who have Library and Information Science skills who are unhappy in a library setting (although it seems to be aimed at people who would fit well into a library setting…).

I wonder if my Research Methodologies class is going to call into effect the fact that the book I’m currently reading references other works I have experience with and don’t consider fully reliable…

Ha!  There’s a way to work-in that graduate skillset!  Though Research Methodologies doesn’t start for about another three weeks, maybe I can utilize this time to do some preparation for the work I will almost certainly have to put in…

And now that I have arranged my post-coordinate indexing (i.e. tags and categories), I’m going back to reading, for now…