Cafe Hitch-hike


Baby steps into the real world

What happened the day before was that I was late for a 5:00 a.m. shift this past Friday at the university library; it was opened all night for final exam week. I showed up fashionably late, at 6:30 a.m., because my alarm clock did not go off. The librarian doing the all-night shift left at 5:30 a.m.

The mess-up on my part was I thought nobody would notice. Nobody was there to notice. The library was dead by then anyhow, with the exception of two people who are always at the check-out desk, and they know what to do if anything happened. The librarian I was supposed to relieve sent a note to my supervisor. Well, thought I'd be slick and remove the note. She must've been on to me because she sent an e-mail to my supervisor, Lady Jane. I didn't know for the whole weekend until after I did my all-night shift on Sunday night. I was asleep at 9:00 a.m., in the middle of my sleep when I got a phone call:

"I got an e-mail from Fanny. (growls) Will you explain to me what happened?" (I explain - she growls more)

I don't remember exactly what she had said to me, but remember she sounded very, very angry. I felt like I had just killed a baby or purposely set the library on fire. Why didn't I do this, why didn't I do that, I was asked some things like that, and then I started getting angry listening to her. When she was finished, I said nothing.

"Well?" she concluded.

"Well, what do you want me to do?" I said.

"You need to write a letter apologizing to Fanny," she said, still growling.

She then went on to tell me I screwed up on a couple minor projects I did for her (nothing that would affect library activities or people as we know it, just how it looked on paper).

The conversation finished and I felt lower than low, and very angry. I know I am not one of her favorites. I also felt this was further proof of our strained working relationship.

I then thought I had enough. I was getting paid $12 an hour to do all the things she didn't feel like doing: writing grants on short notice, covering people on medical leave, and doing all-nighters and early-morning shifts like the one that got me into this mess! To make matters sweeter, I was given a huge-huge-HUGE grant to write! I have all these weird demands placed on me, more than I write about here, but not a whole heck of a lot in return. Lady Jane also gets angry when she sees I'm still not fully employed (so I can leave), but it frustrates me because she doesn't realize I'm doing all I can to get full-time work! It's not that I want to make $12 with no benefits forever, being the lowest librarian on the freaking totem pole and given freak assignments! It is a tough market for everyone!

I thought some things through and made some decisions. One thing I determined was that I've gotten nearly everything I can out of this relationship. I can keep on giving my work and my brains for this, but won't be getting too much more than the $12 an hour. I think it's just time for some other new grad or graduate student to take over.

When I thought that over, I felt free and like a dam unjammed. If I only worked 20 hours a week at the pub.lib, I could do the rest working as a legal assistant with John; I've been doing work with him for the past couple months so maybe I can do it for a living. God knows I can learn a lot from him and his family. Fuck, why not? I could wait forever before any damned library can hire me full-time?

I came back to work today and I thought Big Boss and all the other librarians were going to hate me. Turns out, they said it was not a big deal. Lady Jane is just very particular and always wants things to be in place. They say that she is usually fair; she says what she has to say and doesn't drag anything further. They added she usually forgets about things anyway.

Souljah was saying this, and so was Big Boss. She noticed I had a look on my face like I was about to cry. I tiredly laughed, and went about my business. At least Lady Jane would be out for a good while. While everyone was still really nice to me despite my screw-up, I still made up my mind.

The whole thing really knocked the wind out of me, but it made me realize that maybe I've hit my limits with this place. They have really done alot for me, just as I have for them, but there is no room for our relationship to grow. That would happen if they offered me full-time employment. Sure, then it would be a fair trade: my services for pay and a position, but they are not in the position to do that at all. I think it's time for me to go soon. I need to go where there is room to grow. I really need to wean myself of the university. I need to let myself take those baby steps into the real world. The world is so full of unknowns anyhow; I just need to be able to do something where I feel I can breathe.

downwind | upstream