Sunday, February 21, 2010

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, I worked for a business management consulting firm in Boston, and I learned at lot. A great deal. I truly had some embarrassing times; I was, after all, a newly graduated philosophy major. Nevertheless, I learned a great deal about private industries and how they worked. It was quite enlightening, but I was not truly ready to be enlightened. I had children instead.

Now, no one can really say having children is not enlightening. It is. New lessons in humility. In hubris. In despair. At any rate, I had three beautiful, smart, talented children.

I worked at several jobs. During college, I had worked in bars, as a waitress, for a cobbler, made candy, worked a shrimp boat... there were some other jobs in there. I also worked in the print shop, on the college's literary art magazine. During my childbearing years, I worked for a newspaper, first in classified ads, and eventually as the feature editor. I worked at a bookstore; I volunteered at my children's media center; I sold craft kits; I edited a book; I did many, many things.

And then I went to graduate school. The first day after class, I was walking to the bookstore to purchase my text, and I had an intense experience. I KNEW I was doing the right thing. I just knew it. To this day, I remember walking to that bookstore, and suddenly, I felt like I was in a snowglobe... Everything coalesced, and I was certain-- more certain than I had ever been-- that I was doing the right thing. I was in the right place at the right time.

During grad school, we had a speaker from the SC State Library. Now, it had not taken long for me to realize there were job paths I really wasn't interested in. And there were places I felt I really wanted to be. Did I want to be in public services? Ah, no. I didn't know what "public services" really meant, but I was pretty certain that, if it was like retail, it was not the place for me. I felt this should be a very secret thing... I mean, after, wasn't a librarian supposed to want to work with the public? What if "they" found out, and kicked me out of library school for not wanting to work with the public? This was a disturbing thought for me. Seriously.

As it was, this was an amazing time to be in library school. Oh, sure, for some people it was a nightmare. It was the early nineties, and the Internet-- the World Wide Web-- was brand new. I started grad school after the Internet began, when we were still learning how to use Archie, and gopher, and Veronica. And then there was Netscape.

OMG!! The dreams I had as a kid were suddenly becoming true. Information was just about at my fingertips. Literally.

We had a visitor from the SC State Library, who told us what a state library was; and how no two state libraries were really the same. And she told us what the state library did in SC. I knew right then, I wanted to work for the SC State Library.

When I graduated and finished my advanced certificate, I was a little concerned. Time to start work. Those student loans would be coming due soon. I applied for two jobs: one was with OCLC, and the second wasn't even an MLIS position, but it was in a library-- the SC State Library. As it was, I was interviewed and offered the position of Automation Librarian at the State Library.

Talk about a dream come true. You see, as an employee of the state library, I would be acting as a consultant to the state's public libraries. Wow. I knew what a consultant was... remember, I had worked for a business management consulting firm way back when.

Let's talk a little about family history. I am the granddaughter of a USAF Lieutenant Colonel. He graduated from Clemson as a civil engineer, at a time when Clemson had many ROTC students. My grandfather later joined the Army Air Force, which eventually became the USAF. He finished his career as a civil servant, still in the same position. His last duty post was at Cape Kennedy.

I am the daughter of a USAF air policeman. He was the first to predict that I would become a librarian. I wasn't even a teenager at the time. He was proud of my abilities.

Suffice it to say, I have a strong leaning toward civil service.

This used to be a good thing.

It's not now.

Now, I wake up every morning wondering if I'm going to have a job by the end of the day....

(to be continued)

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