Sunday, November 23, 2008

off my chest

I am a librarian, and I'm in love the very core of what the profession is: helping people find stuff.

The chasm between not knowing an answer or even exactly what the question is and the stuff (stories, poems, how-tos, information...) that answers questions, raises more questions, transports, passes time, uncovers a path, or opens another door can be unsettling and intimidating. Nothing tears at me more than someone paralyzed by that chasm—someone who feels they have a stupid question or that they are stupid because they don't know where to begin. Nothing satisfies me more than helping someone overcome the paralysis and gain the ability to approach the next unknown with more confidence and daring than before.

I took a gamble a couple years ago at the encouragement of an on-again, off-again mentor that landed me in (brace yourself) management. I had somehow gained a reputation of someone who could set things straight, bring order to chaos, in other words: a cleaner. I don't know that there was any real justification to my reputation. I tend to think, instead, that I was a convenient sucker.

I have not enjoyed management, and have tried to get out. I did the work and earned praise for an unwanted job well done. Recent budget conundrums resulted in cuts that, though uncomfortable and scary, oddly gave me hope (cursed hope!) that I might slip, demote, to a plain old librarian position where I would be in charge of no other messes but my own. But, nope to that hope. The supposed mess that I tidied is going away and a new managerial mess has sprouted elsewhere that I am ideally suited for, given my wealth of experience in such things. And the choice was simple: this job or no job. What a lovely, hard-earned reward.

I've been led to believe that the new year will bring me options, but I've been led to believe many things and am burned out on hope. We all know what hope is, right? That warm, lovely, plush designer rug you've curled up on that gets yanked out from under you.

Somewhere inside me is this silly belief that it is possible to land a position that allows me to at least get close enough to the core of what I think is good about my profession to make the other crap bearable. Battling with that whim is the belief that I'm merely cursed with chronic dissatisfaction that comes with the grass-is-always-greener syndrome.

For the time being, it's best to try as hard as possible to find some green grass where I stand.

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