Monday, September 24, 2007

Turning My Badge In, But Keeping The Gun

This morning was my last shift on a public service desk--possibly forever, but at least for a long time. It was a difficult decision to give up my student reference job, but at this point I have four years of experience doing reference and three months of experience doing cataloging, so if cataloging is what I want to go into, then volunteering in cataloging, even though it pays nothing, is more valuable to me than continuing to work in reference. And doing both isn't an option if FoxyJ is going to be working also, and experience has taught us that life is better for everyone when both the money-making and child-rearing responsibilities are shared between the two of us, so FoxyJ working is very important to me. Add to this the fact that teaching experience will look good on Foxy's upcoming PhD applications and the fact that I'm getting paid this year to go to school, and quitting my reference job was clearly a good decision. But a little sad nonetheless.

The aspect of the reference job I will not miss is the "public" part of public service. I've worked in public service for just about all of my working life, and while I think I'm pretty good at it, I don't particularly enjoy it. This can be attributed to the following three oh-so-charming aspects of my personality:
  • introversion
  • faux-intellectual snobbery
  • social awkwardness
One of the most appealing aspects of cataloging, besides its anal orderliness, is the idea of being holed up all day behind a desk in a subbasement of the library.

What I will miss about my reference job is the regular interaction with the reference librarians and student reference specialists I worked with and the thrill of finding an answer to a difficult reference question. Ideally a year from now I'll get a nice cataloging job that has a few hours a week of reference desk time, which is not too uncommon nowadays. That way I can get out of the subbasement once in a while, but not have to deal with too many crazy people looking for books on building pipe bombs.


Katya said...

For what it's worth, both of my cataloging jobs have been in sunny, spacious rooms with large windows. So don't get your heart set on the dark and moldy basement.

Th. said...


All the books on building pipe bombs tend to be checked out anyway.

iwonder said...

I just had an operation on my foot by a doctor whose name I was informed was Dr. [fɔks] , and I assumed one spelt it "Fox". Well, apparently, his name is actually "Faux" [fo:], a fact which doesn't inspire a tremendous amount of confidence.

Your usage of the morpheme "faux" just made me think of that.

That's all I have to say at this time.

Bryce's Ramblings said...

My job right now is to be the tech person (so I get to play with cool toys and explore new technologies) and help at reference now and then, too. I really love being able to do a wide variety of things at work.