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…