Thursday, December 28, 2017

Employee development

I have been working at this library for a very long time. This has given me some occasionally useful talents, like the ability to picture, upon hearing the title, the cover of any book published in the last 30 years. It has also given me a vast array of stories that are mildly interesting, in the right context, but only if they're told flawlessly. And then too all this time here has gifted me with more obscure and useless talents.

I'll tell you about one of those.

We have student workers here. They work 10 to 15 hours a week. Usually they're in high school although some of them stick around a little into college. Mainly they shelve in the kids' room. I have recently found that I can accurately chart their career here by what my relationship is to them. This measurement has become increasingly accurate and is measured in five stages.

1. I think they are maybe a volunteer or have mistakenly wandered into the back room.

This means they have been working here for 1-2 months.

2. I know they are a student worker but can't quite remember their name.

This means they have worked here for 3-4 months.

3. I know their name! Every month or so I greet them.

This means they are in the 6 months to a year stage of working here.

4. We say hi occasionally and I will toss off a trenchant witticism to them like we are old colleagues.

This means they have worked here for a little more than a year.

5. We chat briefly twice. They see me as a mentor. I have grown distantly fond of them.

They will be leaving for college or a real job in a week or two.


  1. 6. They move one to great things and never think about you again

    You still work in the library.

    1. I don't understand. You don't like libraries? You think working at a library precludes great things? You don't like clerkmanifesto which only wants to bring happiness and joy to all the peoples of the world?

      Or maybe you yourself work at a library? Don't feel bad about working at a library. Libraries are nice places! It is a noble service. We can all, if we try, if we want to, do great things wherever we are, even when leaving comments on the Internet.


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.