Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, September 05, 2003

This is the longest thing I've written about my current job situation...

to a librarian who'd been really supportive over the years, putting me in for this year's Scroll of Exemplary Service, etc., who was shocked by the news. It pretty much sums up the situation and how I feel pretty well, so I'm pasting it here, too.

In terms of my position, no, it's not being combined with anything. I already do the web page as part of my job. In a way I'm lucky; we lost our PR director, an occupational therapist, and a part-time secretary for the motion lab, eliminated two vacant positions, and moved one of our care coordination positions to inpatient. Those who were laid off had no real warning, and I was given a month before my hours went down (of course, they had severance packages to make up for the lack of warning). But it shook people up, here. Seventy-eight years without any layoffs and now this!

I should be eligible for unemployment for the difference. I can't officially apply until Monday, my first day of reduced hours, so it's not 100% guaranteed yet, and although I've been doing remarkably well considering the shock, the lack of jobs in this area, and my lack of savings, I guess it is finally getting to me--I'm have problems sleeping and whenever I do, I have evil anxiety dreams with rollercoasters, floods, etc. Once I get the skinny from unemployment one way or another, I'll probably feel better. At least I keep my benefits.

In the meantime, I've applied for about seven jobs, mostly library positions in neighbouring cities--but with UK's library school it may be a little difficult. At least I do have several years' experience now. Only one of those is part-time (and severely underpaid). Another is out of the library field, but it's a supervisor at the grad school's research centre and I used to work there years ago, so it was a possibility. The other thing that's frustrating is that although I don't get paid, say, a standard library rate, I do get paid more than the average retail or other easily obtainable part-time job, so it's going to be hard to get a job that will allow me to work here and not be detrimental. In the long run, though, I'm afraid that what will be best for me is to get another position entirely, especially if I have any hope of ever start saving for retirement, a car, a house, or just plain old emergencies. In a way, maybe this is a good thing. I was getting complacent and the situation in terms of pay, etc. was really never going to improve. I don't know where they get their figures, but supposedly I'm at level in terms of pay now, even though any entry-level job I got in the Lexington metro area would pay about $8000-$15000 more per year. For years the stability of the system was used as an excuse for why I shouldn't expect more pay. I'm afraid that's rather gone out the window. It's a shame, really. I love my job. I love the environment, and the people here. It would be great as a second income, or in a situation where I owned a business and just needed to work for benefits. But it's not working for a single person, even one who lives pretty simply. And of course, being the only librarian, there's nowhere to really go in terms of career. I've expanded the library services immensely, mainly because I guess I'm one of those people who try to always push the envelope, but it's not meant much more than raising people's expectations without additional hours, pay, or recognition. That's been frustrating. Now I have to figure out how to maintain those services on nearly half the hours. I've already had to drop out as a superuser/teacher for the electronic medical record training in preparation for our go live date (we're the first of three pilot hospitals on the schedule)--it'll be too difficult for me to train or oversee classes with the reduced schedule, especially in addition to maintaining core services like interlibrary loan and online searches. That's disappointing, because it's been a way that I've connected with people who don't ever come to the library, and we've been working on this for a couple years now, so I've already had a lot of training and done some preliminary teaching, only to not be able to see it through when we finally get up and running. I've learnt a lot about how clinical areas work from it, though.

I'm just glad this is happening now instead of say, last year, when I was still dealing with major depression/anxiety issues and I was feeling suicidal at times already. I scrabbled at times, but even with everything else falling apart, I kept the library going, served as president of our consortium, etc., and am now back on my feet in terms of health. Now I'm at a better place in terms of being able to handle stress, and I know that whatever life throws me, I'll handle. I do have a lot of skills, and I'm pretty resilient at the moment. I've got several 'plan Bs' in place. For example, now that I'm up to school again, I'm looking at finishing up my phD--I'm about a year, a dissertation, and a defence away. :) That'll give me more opportunities in the academic world, and I can say I've finished what I started so long ago (and am still paying for in terms of student loans). :)

Thanks for the concern.

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