Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Endeavoring to appreciate

My library is big enough that the particular contributions of us individual laborers can easily be lost in the shuffle. This can be disappointing when one wants to be acknowledged for one's mastery and industry, but, and I know this sounds a bit wise, but, after all these years I've mostly come to feel that all that doing a good job stuff is its own reward, that doing my job well is primarily a private satisfaction. Perhaps this is merely a response to the ignominious reality of Clerkdom, as is my complicated array of takebacks and rewards for my good work, which, since I'm left in charge of them, are manifold and given at every possible opportunity. But what this comes down to is that I am thus well situated to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of all this lost-in-the-shuffle work.

Aside from the self managing autonomy spoken of above, the principle advantage of this collectivism is in the possibility of enjoying all the work of my co-workers. This is not necessarily an easy task. I have had no great struggle enjoying the colorful and erratic skills of my good co-workers, and they can be nice to talk to as well, but after years of much teeth gnashing about my more challenged co-workers, I must admit that it is a more ongoing struggle to suss out their beneficial nature. Fortunately I encountered another learning opportunity today. I had been doing a good deal of other things during my shelving hour, some of them even job related, when I decided to pitch in and try and get a full cart of genre fiction shelved in the 20 minutes I had before I needed to report to the front desk. There, up in the fiction stack, was a co-worker. She had the same assignment as me but had gone upstairs with a cart long before I showed up on the scene. She was plodding along without much success, and though she'd been working on it for at least 15 minutes, she had only gotten about a quarter of the cart done. I passed by, noticing, and proceeded to apply myself, shelving my whole cart, straightening up as I went, and then racing down to the front desk as per arrangement. Passing by, on my way, I noted the same co-worker with the same cart. She was slowly working her way to the three quarter done mark. She hadn't made it yet.

I could be mad at her failure to sufficiently contribute her fair share. I could be bitter that I thanklessly shoulder a heavier load. I could cringe at the extra pressure of unshelved books that will lie around the library due to her lackluster performance. But I don't have to do any of that.

I can enjoy her measured pace, which sets the par for shelving comfortably low. I can take her lesson that everyone doing their tiny bit adds up to enough, and, most of all, I can let her shining example indicate that, later in the afternoon, when I have another hour of shelving scheduled, I can start it out with a 45 minute coffee break.


  1. Maybe she does not know the alphabet verry wel? I have seen that by my co worker.

  2. If so I then appreciate her caution. I also then appreciate her brave, self challenging nature that allows her to find work in the one place she is perfectly unsuited to working at.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.