Thursday, February 4, 2016

The problem branch

My library system has always had a "Problem Branch". You can easily determine which branch this is by asking the employees of my library system if they've ever worked at another branch. When it turns out that pretty much everyone hired in the last five years started out at one particular branch, that, right there, is your problem branch.

As openings come up through the system, staff from the problem branch leap on them as their opportunity to escape. Indeed, they will chew off their own foot to do so. But as the problem branch constantly cleaves off their ever disappearing staff members, they find that no one ever wants to fill their newly opened positions. And so all of their openings must all be filled by new hires from outside our system.

Our current problem branch currently has four openings. Normally I wouldn't much concern myself with the new hires for some other branch, but I know just how much of a problem our problem branch is. I understand I will be seeing most of those people, and working beside them, as soon as they can get here, which will always be as soon as they possibly can.

As newer employees these people have a very narrow frame of reference for library work. They also, more importantly, tend to be far more politic than us grizzled old timers. So when I ask them "How was it over at The Problem Branch?"

They say "It really wasn't that bad. I mean, not that bad." 

But then they fall quiet for bit, and look down, and something dark passes before their eyes, and we don't discuss it anymore.


  1. So what keeps the Problem from being solved?

    1. Managers and management is my go to for answering questions such as yours.

  2. Great blog post today. Makes one curious about the "problem" branch.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment and appraisal! I can see how it would make one curious. My original attempt at the subject went at it very directly, but it sure ended up elliptical, didn't it? As you may imagine any of my co-workers, throughout my library system, even those who barely know me, could probably read this and give you a specific name.


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