Sunday, June 2, 2019

Library worker levels

One night recently I was out at the front desk of my library. I was engaged there in general conversation with my desk partner. And in thinking about a blog post I was working on I needed to describe the level of this co-worker.  And so I have created, or perhaps merely articulated, these useful level descriptions for my library co-workers:

Level one: Platonic ideal level

No co-worker can actually achieve this perfected level, but I like to have it out there so they can unwittingly measure against it.

Level two: Friend level

These are the people you'd want to run into at the library, and so would I. Everyone has their flaws, but their bonus gift for being at this exalted level is that I won't discuss or acknowledge those flaws. They're all minor enough anyway. 

I expect them to look out for me, which, to my surprise, every rare once in awhile, they do! I expect them to read my blog, which, well, same, I guess.

Level three: Colleague level

We're in the same boat, sometimes even rowing in the same direction. I like them, and I only speak ill of them to people I trust, and even when I do I try to thickly lace that passing criticism with a wry affection.

Level four: Acceptable level

Mostly they are just... there, but we have our moments of sympathy, our chats at the desk or back room, and, hopefully a shared desire not to alienate each other too much. These people are... fine, they're fine. No, really, they're... fine.

Level five: Beyond the pale level

These are the few people who are deeply bad at their jobs, but maliciously so. Although here is a strange thing I have discovered in a quarter century of working in tandem with a variety of colleagues:

All people who are bad at their jobs are bad at them maliciously. Incompetence is never enough on its own. 

A secret touch of malice is actually required for a person to be bad at their job rather than merely acceptable.

Level six: Librarian level

Ha ha. I'm totally just kidding. They mix in just fine to the first five levels.

But they might want to watch themselves.

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