I had a fine first week down at the branch. I got a phone call asking about the Sir William Stephenson Society on Thursday. Evidently they meet up down here. I imagine them discussing which of the Bond actors should play the spy known as Intrepid in a film version.
All the reference staff are friendly (and every second Wednesday I’m not the only guy). So often when I tell people I work at the library I get comments like “Ugh I’m sorry.” It seems a lot of people have had bad experiences with librarians. Especially older female librarians. Random people I’ve never met before have gone off about “those horrible old bitches” down at their library. Then they say “I’m sure you’re nothing like that.” Like I’m some kind of lawyer (I feel for you, Brian).
I get much more time to talk with my coworkers here, not pushing carts around the building in silence. On Thursday I was changing the status of some books and putting stickers on them to show that status while we sat around talking about the Olympics. Then a person comes up with a question and you try finding them something appropriate. And you have a chair. I feel a little ashamed that my pants won’t be wearing out at the knees so quickly anymore; that always felt good to me, like I was really working. The effects on my clothes aside, Reference is where it’s at.
I have a new job! Starting in a couple of weeks I’ll be a level 3 Library Services Assistant working as a Children’s/Adult Reference person at a farflung branch. It’s kind of funny working in an organization that has levels. I feel like my XP count just surged after the DM had forgotten to give us anything for a bunch of sessions.
My job will involve answering questions at the reference desk (for both Adults and Children), making displays and doing things like Story Time and that kind of thing. I’ll be getting training for all the programmish kinds of things, which is good since my prior experience teaching Chinese university students may not be 100% applicable.
I’m pretty excited about it. I mean, if I’m going to have to have a job, one that’s all about getting good books into kids’ hands without having to sell anything is a pretty good option. All recommending things to people who haven’t become “too busy to read” or anything like that. And that branch doesn’t have anyone who knows anything about science fiction or fantasy so I’ll be like the resident SF expert. That is what my misspent youth of bookishness was for.
And I get paid a lot more too.
At work today I was sort of a team leader for the Shelf Hauling squadron. Jeff explained what he wanted done on Thursday and there were four pages to do all this crap. I hate leading. I mean, I hate the actual process of me saying “Here’s what you need to do” even though I know what the person needs to do. If I had my way I’d just pick a task from a list and do it leaving the rest of the people to figure out their own thing. But I was sort of nominally in charge so I thought some direction was needed. Bah I say.
I think I’m going to finish reading Samuel R. Delany’s The Fall of the Towers tonight. It’s a novel in three volumes that’s been kind of odd. The first part didn’t grab me much at all, but then the second part I just tore through because I felt like I finally got what he was talking about. The third part is going back to the more “Green of cicadas. Lightning burst. The city’s sand smooths to the horizon.” style of writing which I am less than completely enamoured with.
I asked for leave today. My supervisor filled out the form recommending it but told me he didn’t have the final say. It still had to go up to the business office for some other person to sign off on it. He said that office is getting stingy with these kinds of requests, so he also asked if it was okay if we might do something with my unpaid vacation time, and I had no problem with that.
The end of that conversation was when he asked, “Now, if this request isn’t approved what would you do?” And I kind of winced and told him I’d probably have to quit at the end of February. And he winced and said he’d go make sure that information was in his superior’s hands too. I was looking at the page scheduling for the next couple of weeks and I’m one of the top hour-getters (since I have no other job or school to schedule around). That could be hard (read: ridiculously easy) to replace, so I think I did the right thing by telling the truth about my options in a non-ultimatum-giving kind of way.
So we’ll see. I’ll hopefully hear on Monday. When I told my immediate supervisor (who brought it to the department head’s attention) she asked if I could take her with me. I didn’t tell her I was going carry-on only and she’s probably more than 100mL of liquid.
Today marks one year of working at the liberry. When I started I’d hoped I would be done being a page by May (07). Twas not to be. I kind of go in spurts of really disliking it (mostly when my thoughts start straying towards the future) and realizing how much worse a job I could have. I still wish I had a job that didn’t waste the hell out of whatever talents I possess (and one that would allow me to save a bit of money), but at least I’m not outside in the cold.
My passport came back today, loaded for panda. I’m good to go for China in March. All that’s left is my request for leave. And I’m keeping in mind that this is exactly the same situation I thought I would be in back on October 30th or whenever the day before I saw the Cairo posting was. Then it feels a little less like I’m a horrible failure at life.
Dude, I’m going to China for a month, that’s pretty cool.
A “You didn’t get the job!” notice arrived today from the City. So no branch job for me. I have a feeling those notices will start coming every week now, since I applied for a tonne of jobs with closing deadlines seven days apart.
I kind of laugh at how my work situation has worked out since I returned from China. I applied for a bazillion little newspaper jobs (bazillion may equal a dozen). Didn’t hear back from any of them. Oh good for me. I’d probably hate that anyway. I get told, “Dude, I can totally hook you up with freelance CBC Radio work” so I decide to move into a friend’s and stick around the city. That work never materializes.
Then I realize my money will run out eventually and apply at the library, where I get in! Yay! I should hope I get this job as I’m insanely overqualified for it. I hope to follow in an acquaintance’s footsteps and be a lowly page for a very short amount of time, as the pay is just enough to get me by until I get my hours cut by a third when summer begins. But it can’t be that hard to get something else; I’m in the system and that’s the main thing, right? It’s now three months in and I can’t get anything better than stacking books. I’ve got two weeks left before I lose my Sunday shifts. Ha ha ha.
One would think that going to work would provide me things to write about. It has appeared not to this evening. I do have a notion for an art project. We’ll see how it ferments.
Kwame Nkrumah (the real one) wrote a book called Speak of Freedom. The more you know.
So I have worked. It’s really pretty simple since they won’t give me the “difficult” areas like childrens’ books to reshelve for a couple of weeks. The thing that I loved about it is how quickly the time went. Actually having a trolley full of books that you’re putting away is beautiful. You just find things until you’re done, and then when you are done, there are more books to do it again.
This is really the same thing as what you do as a journalist. You reorganize information so it’s where people can find it. You put it away. You’re sweeping and letting your mind wander. Who knew library cookbooks were so popular? You’re shovelling snow. Y’know, cultural snow.
My forms are in to the office where they needed to be for me to start work in a week and a half. This whole process has taken a long time. I feel like I’ve been working at the library for the month and a half since I did my interview, just without anything to show for it. I’m looking forward to actually going there for work, and wonder if people who work there will recognize me.