Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Okay, more as promised

So, here's the promised update about my jaerb. I'm going to try to make both this post and the blog fairly anonymous from here on out, for obvious reasons. Just a little heads-up.

For those of you who don't know, at the end of August I got a new job working for a county public library system in my area. The position for which I applied was listed as "Reference Librarian," but when I came in for the interview, my interviewers indicated that they were instead interviewing me for a different position, one that would involve working for a new library branch (not yet completed) that would open sometime in the near future. This new library would combine an existing county government library with a small popular collection. I would split my time between this library and the county government's Information Desk, located in an office across the hall from the new library. The pay for this position was markedly less than the pay for the reference librarian job, and less per hour than my previous part-time position (and this position required a MLS degree, whereas my old one did not). But since I had sent my resume to about 15 places and this was only my second callback, I decided to proceed. The next day one of the interviewers (the Division Chief) offered me the job, and I accepted.

A few days before my first day on the new job, that same interviewer called to inform me of "a little change in plans." Gulp. Apparently, the new library wasn't close to being finished (and, as of this writing, still isn't), so now my time would be split between the info desk and a branch library located in the far fringes of the county. The info desk and the future library are/will be located steps from a train station, but in order to get from the info desk to the new library (which I had to do in the middle of the day three days a week) I had to take the train five stops, and either get out and walk uphill 20 minutes or try to catch the bus that passed every half hour. Keep in mind that I didn't know this at the time of the phone call. I reluctantly agreed, since no leads on any other job opportunity had presented themselves in the intervening weeks.

On my first day, I met my new boss. I really don't know how to describe her. In the initial meeting, she told me no less than three times that she'd be "the easiest boss I'd ever work for," and she's spent the last few weeks trying hard to discredit that statement. She's one of the most negative people I've ever met. Nearly every word she says is either hateful gossip about a coworker/superior, some other person in another office, or the people she helps at the Info desk (Can you imagine spending the forty hours a week making nasty comments to coworkers about every single person asking where the elevator is? I sure as hell can't). Of course, these types of statements really jive well with the Jesus/Scripture/positive thinking crap posted all over her cubicle walls. She complains constantly about her superiors, and on several occasions has refused to do the work they assign her because "it's stupid" or she "doesn't feel like it." More on that later.

So, after my first week, which was spending farting around doing nothing in the Info office, I shuttled between the Info office and the branch, cursing, wondering if I'd done a stupid thing by accepting a job that required so much, paid so little, and had caused me so many headaches. Work at the branch was fine, even though the building is old and too small for the collection. My boss at the branch informed me of my schedule for the next few weeks. I wrote down my hours and reported them to Info Boss to see if there were any conflicts. Then the shitstorm erupted.

Info Boss informed me that she was under the impression that I was to spend only one week working at the branch. I have no idea where she got this impression other than a bout of wishful thinking, since it was clearly stated to both me and her by the Division Chief. The thing about working at info is that there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO THERE for 40 hours a week. I spent my first week doing just that, sitting in the back, reading, browsing the Internet, and hearing one my coworkers curse out 80% of the people he had just spoken to on the phone. (Have you ever heard a man with inch-long hair sticking out of his ear canal make fun of a woman behind her back because she had a hint of a mustache? I have.) At least at the library branch, there was always shelving or other such busywork.

So, anyway, Info Boss refuses to accept her immediate boss's judgment that the branch is short on staff and really needs another warm body to help it operate. She crafts a nasty email to her boss, the Library Boss, a library administrator, the Division Chief, and in a kind gesture, blind cc's the note to me, I suppose to show some sort of "solidarity," that she's a-fightin' for me and my right to be at Info 40 grueling hours per week. Some very curt and vitriolic emails are exchanged over the next few days, and eventually the matter reaches the attention of the Library Director (!), who reinforces the earlier statement that I have to split my hours between Branch and Info. By this point I'm glad to hear that, since work at Info is boring and full of negativity, and Library work is familiar and fulfilling despite the commute.

Library Boss informs me later that week that the heads of all the branch libraries, plus members of library administration, Info Boss, and a few others were getting together to discuss my fate. I felt like a child in the center of a custody battle. The afternoon of the meeting, I get a call informing me that I am no longer working at the branch to which I have been assigned, but that I'm being moved to a different, albeit more transit-accessible, branch. And instead of splitting hours evenly between Info and New Branch, I will now work 32 hours at New Branch and only 8 a week at Info. At that moment, I wanted to shout for joy and kiss the Division Chief's bald little pate.

So how did it come to pass that I only get 8 hours of Info per week after Info Boss insisted I get 40 there? Simple. Like a scorned child, she decided not to participate in the big meeting. The heads of every branch in the library system (8 in all) came to try to pick me up for their shorthanded staffs, and she, the boss I report to, the one who was a-fightin' for me, the one who signs my timesheets, did not show up to claim me. Did she feel that her lack of participation would make everyone feel sorry for her? I don't know. She didn't go to bat for me, so she lost out. And guess what? She's not happy about it. Big surprise, eh? Info Boss even told me that when the Division Chief called her to inform her of the decision, she hung up on him mid-call. Professional, no? Sadly, one of my Info coworkers who was also splitting time between Info and a library branch had her branch assignment switched as a result of Info Boss's refusal to participate. In the words of Julia Roberts in that prostitute movie, "Big mistake. BIG."

After that weekend Info Boss and I discussed the new plan, and I made very clear that I was happy with it, without trying let on that Info work was both hellish and boring. Info Boss of course told me that my new Library Boss was a miserable person, impossible to work for. She said that Library Boss "doesn't trust her employees" and even goes so far as to (horror of horrors!) schedule when employees should take their LUNCH BREAKS. Yeah, sounds like a real tyrant, huh? A regular Genghis Khan. My guess that Info Boss simply can't stand authority, because nearly instance of talking to her involves some invocation of "they can't tell me/you what to do!," etc.

As it turns out, New Branch is even better than Old Branch, and the commute is a thousand times easier. The work is fulfilling and straightforward, and I'm even getting the opportunity to work on the Reference Desk like a person with a MLS should. The new boss is a little reserved and brooding at times, but she's very organized and hands-off, which I appreciate. It's so incredibly drama-free compared to the complaint-fest that is/was Info. Those eight hours a week I spend there seem nearly endless compared to the 32 easy hours doing working in the field in which I got this spanking-new graduate degree. So, overall, things are better.

I'm sure this blog will be peppered with all sorts of wonderful stories from my crazy-ass job for years to come. Count yourself fortunate that you get to read it. :-)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lead balloon magnet

Why am I such a magnet for negative people? Despite the impression you may get from reading these pages, I'm a pretty friendly, positive person.

But good lord my new job is slowly breaking my will.

More later after I make this anonymous.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Stranded on an island

Sometimes I feel like I'm stranded on an island. A desert island, to be precise, since it's August and the mercury rises past ninety every day while the humidity continues to oppress anything that dares to move. My apartment is a tiny little rabbit hole, half underground--the view outside my living room window allows me to see the bare side of a bush that keeps its leaves all year round. Between me and that bush is twelve square feet of dirt and mulch, crawling with insects that look like they escaped the set of a horror movie.

I'm working only twenty hours a week, so there are many days when I'm in the apartment all by myself in the mornings and afternoons. With my trademark lack of a significant attention span and my hypocritcal aversion to housework (I can talk a good game, but damn if I ever feel determined enough to do anything about the piles of crap suffocating me), I feel the need to escape. But where can I go?

I live in the city. Granted, not THE city--that's a few miles to the north. I'm also not technically in the suburbs--though the buildings that comprise my apartment complex all look pretty much alike, there's a fair amount of grass and hundreds of trees to prevent the place from looking like the back cover of a Desaparecidos record. There's stuff around here, I'm told--monuments and museums and history and heritage and big green open spaces that contrast with modernity and urbanity in a most pleasing manner. It's over across the river, at least most of it. If I decide to go, I go alone (mildly depressing), and if I drive there's no guarantee I'll find a place to park. If I take public transit, the time it takes to get to these places quadruples (double time there and back). Should I stay long enough to meet Debbie? Can I make that work? Will she be mad that I don't have the car?

So, going into the city is out. So close, yet, cruelly, hours away. Maybe there's something closer that'll suit my desires. I live on a side street that motorists use to cut between two more well-traveled roads--during morning and evening rushes the street is full of vehicles carrying exactly one passenger to the destination that awaits them--home, school, work. But what's around here, really? A dilapidated park. Rows of ugly townhouses that no doubt cost the marginally attractive twentysomething couples who live there a cool three-quarters of a million. A strip mall under construction that boasts little more than a Rite Aid and a Subway. The only item of promise is the library, a mile away on foot (I refuse to drive), but you can't blame me for being a little burned out on those types of places.

Is trying to find something around here worth the trouble? Will I go somewhere that requires me to shower and put on decent clothes? Because the highly-touted salubrious effects of showering seem to melt in the August sun the minute I open the door to my building. Why the hell do I sweat so much? I guess I could go to the pool right next to my building, but that's no fun by myself.

Is there anything on TV? Nope. Is there anything online I could dig up to interest me? Probably, yet the prospect of doing so is depressing--and yet, I still find myself doing it.

Why have I lost my attention span? It makes reading so difficult--I can barely read anymore. I never really was much of a reader--sure, I was an English major, but discussion of themes and theory always excited me far more than simple narratives. I have a stack of books here I've never touched, as well as a stack of films my lowly ass should get around to seeing (again, a depressing idea, to watch movies while the sun shines [but, then again, am I really going outside? Probably not.]).

All of this cumlinates and ferments and leaves me feeling the way I do--depressed, unkempt, unwanted, and forgotten. When Debbie comes home, yes, I feel better, but I know that tomorrow will bring more of the same.

We have to move away from here. Debbie and I say this nearly very day. We have to go at least one more year in this area, but I want no more than that. We have to leave. Go somewhere else. A kinder town, a more walkable neighborhood, a less yuppie- and power-driven populace. We have to leave.

But I still can't even get out of my apartment, most days.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The "Done with Comps" Edition

I'm done with comps. Here's a Kate Bush video that will brighten the rest of your day.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Entrevista Gigante

Hey gize,

Not much to say here really. I'm trying to get myself to study for comps (it's practically a mirror of that final dreadful semester at Milligan when I had only ONE MORE FUCKING THING to do in order to graduate but I can't quite get myself to do it...). So, I'm busy procrastinating, being a horrible househusband, working, and fighting depression.

All that as intro this... I have a job interview tomorrow for a part-time reference position at a local public library. Despite only being part time, it'd be a great place to work-- it's literally within walking distance, for one, and it's a bump in pay and a little more prestigious than the job I have now. If you're the praying type, it'd be great if you'd do that for me. I'm a little nervous--I've told many of you that I feel library school has made me dumber and less articulate, so I'm worried that will evidence itself in the interview. Let's hope not.

What's funny is I interviewed the person who'll be interviewing me a few months ago for a class assignment. So far she doesn't seem to remember me.

I got my hair cut today and ate some incredibly spicy Chinese food for lunch. Tonight it's Coke + rum and study and prepare for interview.

The Reds lost today, but that's acceptable after the AWESOME finish to last night's game. I told Debbie I might leave her for Ryan Freel someday, but after last night it might turn out to be Brandon Phillips who plays the homewrecker.

Now go back and read my first sentence.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Come put it in my life

Updated 05/16/06.

Ok, I'm selling a bunch of CDs. Make offers.


All American Radio/Somerset-- Instruments & Landscapes
The Appleseed Cast-- Low Level Owl Volume I
The Appleseed Cast--Low Level Owl Volume II
Belle & Sebastian--I'm Waking Up to Us (single)
Blenderhead--Prime Candidate for Burnout
Blenderhead--Muchacho Vivo
Brandtson--Letterbox (Steadfast Records version, not the Deep Elm re-release)
Codeine--Frigid Stars LP
The Colemans--s/t EP
DC Talk--Free at Last
Dr. Dog--Easybeat
Eager--Pre-release (This is the DJ/radio version of the album in a cardboard case. All the songs from the full-length are on it)
Fantomas--Suspended Animation
Ida--The Braille Night (cardboard packaging)
Ida--Insound Tour Support Series No. 11 (only 1000 of these exist)
Johnny Q. Public--Extra*Ordinary
The Juliana Theory--Understand This Is a Dream
The Juliana Theory--Emotion is Dead
Ted Leo/Pharmacists--Hearts of Oak
Microphones--Don't Wake Me Up
MxPx--Teenage Politics
One 21--When the Dragon is Finally Laid to Rest
Oneida--Anthem of the Moon (insert is water damaged, disc is fine)
Anders Parker--Tell It to the Dust
SeaLifePark--s/t EP
Seam--The Pace is Glacial
Lenny Smith--Deep Calls to Deep
Somerset--Discoveries and Illuminations
Suffering and the Hideous Thieves--Real Panic Formed
Summer Hymns--A Celebratory Arm Gesture
Training For Utopia--Plastic Soul Impalement
Unwed Sailor--The Faithful Anchor
Yeah Yeah Yeahs--Maps (single)
v/a--Songs from the Penalty Box Vol. 1 (if I have to explain, you don't want it)

Send me an email if you're interested... highlyarcane (at) yahoo.com. Vagrant friends send me a PM.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I'm alive. Finished a final today and one more to go.

It' s getting warm and my Reds are in first place.