Friday, September 8, 2017

The Doldrums - Feeling Discouraged & Frustrated

I don't usually get too personal in my blog, but I'm sure there are many others who can relate to how I've been feeling lately. I don't know if it's just the let-down after the crazy hectic pace of summer reading ends, a perfect storm of frustration and disappointment, or just that I'm overdue for a vacation, but I've been in a funk all week that I'm having trouble shaking.

First, I absolutely hate the class I'm taking now. It's a subject I'm not interested in and the professor is well-known for not being very good as well as being MIA for long periods of time and not grading assignments. There have been multiple complaints from students to the chair for at least the last 3 terms, to no avail. He's tenured, so they just shrug their shoulders and say there's nothing they can do. I'm trying to make the best of it, but these assignments are ridiculous! Not hard, but hours and hours (and hours) of mind-numbingly tedious, repetitive worksheets that are just pointless busywork, and I HATE busy work; it makes me very grumpy!

Then there are a lot of changes going on at work, with little communication or transparency, so that leaves everyone feeling a bit anxious and on edge. My job hasn't been directly affected yet, but I know it's just a matter of time. I try to ignore it and just focus on doing my job and doing it well, but sometimes it gets to me. I am thankful my job is not stressful and is a lot of fun most of the time, but it is a lot of the same thing, as I spend 85% of my time doing storytimes, about 25 over a 2-week period with the same theme. So I go through cycles of feeling a bit bored and restless, but I always get past it. My boss has been great about letting me try new things and have opportunities for professional development, so I really can't complain, but sometimes I just wish I could exchange jobs with someone for a month or so to just do something different for a while.

But I think the one thing I'm having the most trouble with is being in this in-between-place. I work in a library, I'm almost halfway-thru library school, my job entails some of the duties of a librarian, requires some of the skills of a librarian, and I think like a librarian. But I am not a librarian. I'm in this nebulous space of a largely invisible, part-time paraprofessional (and the position is not even officially recognized as such, but is graded the same as a clerk). Other MLS students have said they share similar feelings; it's hard being an almost-but-not-quite librarian and feeling like you're stuck and excluded from the club.

I am very cognizant that I am not a librarian, but it's a pain to try to tell non-library people what it is that I am! My title is a very generic, non-descript "library assistant", which can be anything from a clerk to a paraprofessional depending on the library, and means nothing to a layperson. I can say I'm an early literacy outreach specialist, which is a much more accurate description, but still meaningless to the average Joe. My husband tells people I "read to kids", but it's so much more than that! My in-laws ask me if I'm still "doing your library thing" as though it's just a hobby or volunteering. It would be so much easier to just say I'm a librarian; people at least have a concept of what that is, even if it itsn't always accurate.

But I don't, because I'm not. And I'm feeling discouraged at my chances of ever being one, with the over-saturated job market and the trends I see in hiring, combined with being geographically restricted, at least for now. But I keep plugging along, building my skills, and learning as much as I can, and hoping for the best!

The good news is I do have a vacation coming up soon, and hopefully the break will be just what I need to recharge! 

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