When I read about library work and management advice, I am always a bit amused at the rosy tone projected in some articles.
- Imagine yourself succeeding!
- Stay positive!
- Grasp the bigger picture!
- Do it for love, not money.
- Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. (Awful Library Books posted a book with this very theme, hence the awful part)
I call B.S.
No one working in any kind of public service needs that kind of crap muddling up their head. I love being a librarian. It is a great job, I feel that I am contributing to a greater good, and I am proud to be a librarian. However, not every day is sunshine and roses. If you meet such a person that thinks it is great 24/7, ask them what meds they are taking. There isn’t a person out there in library land who hasn’t endured a rude, ungrateful patron and then looked at their paycheck thinking “this is so not worth it.”
I also bet everyone in library service has encountered the outraged guy with the ten cent fine who says, “I am a taxpayer. You work for me!” Or how about the person that says, “it must be fun to get paid to read all day.” This is just how the job works. I am a public servant.
The reality is that you cannot feel positive all of the time. You can’t be sweet and forgiving every minute of every day. Accept that there will be ebbs and flows to your daily work. Being a positive light force every minute of every day will eventually kill you and your love of library work. Balance is the key.
Here are some tips to keep your Grumpy Cat in check:
- Accept that there will be times that nothing goes right.
- Recognize that everyone, including patrons, have bad days.
- Support your co-workers when they are having difficulty coping. Offer help (and mean it). Forgive slights when work stress is piling up.
- Complain and share woes with other library people. They will understand.
- Take breaks and use vacation time. It really does help. Managers should help employees that are on the front lines recognize the necessity of time away from the fracas.
Now pass me another cocktail so I can live to serve another day.