I am a nerd.
I am a book nerd.
I know this and I have proof!
I was once a Librarian!
Well, a Library Circulation Manager.
I have had a plethora of jobs in my 10 year long career as an adult, but none have touch my heart, angered my being, rattled my cages, and drained my wallet like working with kids.
I started my journey into the education field at 20. I was fresh faced, doe eyed, and bushy tailed. That is, I was until the first day of school working with middle schoolers.
OMG, I wanted to rip out my ovaries. They were whiny but wanted to be independent. They had energy like they each drank a truck full of Redbull (Side note: The lime summer flavor was amazing and I’m beyond depressed that it’s gone), but I loved working with them. It was this great emotional high that gave me a purpose that I never knew I wanted. When my time with Americorps was up (sad for my heart but my wallet was excited), I got what I didn’t know would be a life changing job.
I started working for a very well performing public high school as front desk security. It was the dream job. I got to work with kids and I didn’t have to lesson plan! My only responsibility was signing people in, keeping kids from picking up illegal gained Chinese food, and giving directions! It was prefect! I read all day. I took a couple courses. I made friends with kids and visitors.
Then my life took a major turn and I quickly had to quit (Yes, I’ll talk about it later).
18 months later, I returned to do a friend a favor. The staff was so excited to see me and offered me the job in the library.
My life changed so much in the 16 months I was in that library. I discovered a new passion. I met my husband. I was home. Or at least that’s what I thought. My time at the school was rough. Within my first year, I was let go suddenly twice but told shortly after that I could come back. I was a single mom at the time and that was a hard pill to swallow but I came back both times because my heart sat in that drafty hallway covered in book dust.
I started the new year with a new boss. My last boss, who was beyond amazing, had packed up and moved across country to fulfill her husband’s dream. I walked in the first day of my second year to find out that not only had they not hired the Librarian with over 10 years of experience who was a friend of my last boss, but they hired a Librarian with absolutely no experience, no job history in the past 10 years, and I had to train her on how to be a Librarian. Yes I, the high school graduate with one year of experience couldn’t be promoted to head Librarian due to my lack of a Masters, was deemed qualified enough to teach my new boss how to do her job. How bad could it be?
(Prolonged insane laughter)
If that job was a test as to whether or not I survive judgment day, then dress me in my bathing suit because I’m taking a dip in the Lake of Sulfur and Fire. Now I love helping people. Hubby will tell you I have a huge heart. If it was up to me I would adopt every kid and animal and I would build a town just for homeless people to get them back on their feet. That being said, I have my limits.
I sat back down at my desk, watching the dust twirl around in the sunlight embracing the silence that only a school can hold before the school year. The air smelled of hope and old paper. I turn to the right and in walks a bright eyed little woman with a mess of curly dark hair. She seemed friendly enough. We made our introductions and got started on her questions. She was a bit neurotic but she seemed eager. Those kids were going to eat her alive. I felt sorry for her and then the introductory offer on her personality ran out.
Maybe it’s me and you can tell me if it is, but when I start at a new place I don’t like to start trying to redo everything before finding out how the current system works. We had started something the year before called “The Wall of Shame.” This marvel held all the badly forged hallway passes students tried to use. We loved it. The students loved. Even Administration and visitors found it hilarious. It was the first thing she killed. According to her “shaming students isn’t the message we want to convey. We want them to feel welcome.” Fine! It’s a small price to pay for peace. Then the mass amounts of appointments in her car. She would be gone for a few HOURS a day talking on the phone to this doctor, that doctor, a nutritionist, and of course her lunch hour. I took one long lunch break and she started asking students and staff how long my lunch is supposed to be. She joined cliques at school (yes, even teachers can act like children and be in cliques) which meant even less time at her job. I was left to handle all the major decisions and the extremely large crowds that came in during lunch. I can handle working alone. I can handle crowds. Ican even handle you taking credit for my work and pretending to micromanage when the higher ups come by because you’ll eventually fall on your butt, but what I couldn’t handle was the “classism”
Classism- when you look like a butthole for talking badly about the financial situation of someone else.
After one of her forever lunches that started at 930 in the morning, she came back stating that it took her so long to come back because a mother was taking too long paying for her food with multiple cards. Her exact words were, “Why would you have kids if you can’t afford to pay for them? If you can’t pay for your things with one card, stop having kids.”
… You rich, no good, nappy headed *EXPLOSION*
Sorry. I may have forgotten to mention that she lives in one of the richest areas of the city, sends her three children to private school, and repeatedly mentioned how she got the job because she was bored and couldn’t believe that she gets paid $60K to do nothing all day.
There’s nothing wrong with making that much.
There’s nothing wrong with having a nice house.
There’s nothing wrong with sending your kids to a private school.
HOWEVER, there is something very wrong on deciding whether or not someone should be able to reproduce depending on how many cards they have to use when shopping.
Maybe one was a rewards card.
Maybe one was a discount card.
Maybe she was a single mother who was using both her bank card and a her child support card to pay.
Or maybe your ignorant assumption is correct and she is on government assistance. Maybe she doesn’t work. Maybe she was fired recently. Maybe she was a stay home mom who’s husband passed away forcing her to rely on some help in the mean time. Maybe she works multiple dead end jobs and is going to school to better her life.
Maybe you’re a bit judgemental and wouldn’t survive a month in that woman’s shoes and instead of talking about her, you should applaud her for taking care of her children instead of neglecting them like we see in our society all too often.
Needless to say after that, my ability to let her idiosyncrasies greatly decreased. I stopped picking up the extra slack. I stopped covering for her. I started calling out left and right. I let the place I loved burn to ground. The worse part is she didn’t suffer. I did. The students did and the administration didn’t renew my contact siting that my lack of degree made it impossible for them to rehire me.
I never loved a job again after that. The students were devastated when I told them. They even threw me a going away party. I gave a little speech and cried like a baby promising to be there for graduation and prom. Little did we know this would be the last time I would see most of them. They offered to save graduation tickets but Administration crafted a new law stating that small children couldn’t come so as a single mom, that made things impossible. It wasn’t a personal attack but it cut me just the same.
They kept in contact at first but as time went on they grew and forgot me, as well as they should. I rarely hear from them and that’s okay. I occasionally stalk their social media to make sure they’re okay. Sadly, last month we lost one. My heart aches immensely at the loss. I miss his smile. I miss how he tried to his intelligence behind the vice that ultimately killed him but yet that brilliance shined through like the sun on a cold winter day. I can still hear him calling my name, explaining some crazy half real story as he sat across the desk from me in that long hallway like Library. In our home, that’s where he’ll forever stay dancing with the dust in the sun covering the Hawthornes.
My name is Meg and it took me three years to realize that in the end it wasn’t my pride or her lack of basic common sense that mattered. It was all about the fragile lives we touch and the memories we make.
Plus, they loved me more 😊