Unless you've not been reading this blog very long, you know two things about my relationship with...my job.
1) I am not entirely thrilled with it.
2) I am not entirely thrilled with the fact that I got a graduate degree in order to do it and then ended up less than thrilled with it.
Over the past several months, I have tried my darndest to reconcile myself to this job, but there are a multitude of things inhibiting my complete acceptance of my job, and not all of them have to do with the job itself.
I work where I grew up, in a town I've been trying to leave since high school. I've left it in fits and starts over the years, but as I told my parents today, "I love you, but I hope that soon I get to come back to VISIT."
I work in an environment that makes me feel emotionally stunted and immensely frustrated.
I have pushed aside what I really want to do (write) for fear of failure.
In the past couple of weeks, I've caught myself being impatient and sometimes downright rude, at least by my standards, with customers. And, folks, I know it's not their fault. I recognize this as a pattern in myself. When I'm ready to move on, when it's time to move on, my work starts to get sloppy. In this case, it's my customer service skills that start to fall to the wayside. I've even said "No" to a few people, and that is not something a librarian is EVER supposed to say.
It should be, "Oh, I can't do that, but I can do...," but I've found that simple "No" saves a great deal of time and effort on my part.
There are things I love about my job, as I know I would find things to love and things to dislike in any job, but I'd love to somehow built what I love into another avenue.
I'm considering pursuing the following:
1) A job in a public library not in California
2) A transition to academic libraries
3) A more taxing transition to publishing
4) A less taxing but less likely transition to journalism (hey, I have half a masters in journalism!)
5) A complete switch to a graduate program in English and/or Creative Writing
After finally accepting the fact that teaching even one class leaves me both physically and emotionally exhausted, I've let go of the idea of pursuing a teaching credential.
I've also let go of any other kind of social service job. Oooh, social worker! Oh, my, I could totally be a literacy program assistant! Oh, now wait, what about school counselor! Believe me, my mind has wandered to just about every career it can in the last little while, but I'm being careful not to jump wholeheartedly into something completely brand new. I now want a career that I already know about, in which I'm already a bit experienced.
But it will be hard to let go of moments like this:
I was working at the front welcome desk. A mother and her five year old daughter came in the back entrance, the mom sheepishly carrying a happy meal and asking whether or not they could leave it somewhere. I told her she was welcome to bring it in, and she smiled gratefully. A few minutes later, the mother had gone out to the car to get her library card, and the little girl, dressed in a pink t-shirt, denim skirt with red belt and brown cowgirl boots, squeezed herself in between a pillar and the desk where I sat. She immediately started a conversation about whether or not I liked my job. We talked about that, and, yes, with a five year old, I had the presence of mind to say I liked my job. I asked her if she'd been to feed the ducks, and she launched into this story:
"When I was a little girl, we came to the library to feed the ducks. I was SOOOOO scared of them. They ARE BIG. And so, my mom and me had to run away like this (proceeds to mime running really, really fast, in a way only a five year old can), and then we got away, and it was okay again."
"Wow," I said. And then, "I like your boots."