TLDR; Underutilization

I have officially made it to the halfway point of Summer Reading. It’s been a lot of hard work, problem solving, book recommending, OverDrive helping, and YAS QUEEN-ing myself at the end of some interesting days.

In the midst of it all, I’ve been having what I’ve been thinking of as my second quarter life crisis. I’m a millennial, I’m entitled to having more than one quarter life crisis, mmmkay? I had the first one when I graduated from undergrad and realized the only place that was going to hire me was Walgreens. Basically, I found out really fast that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was, was even LESS personable than I thought I was, and much, much less employable than the girl who spent four years in a trade straight out of high school while I wrote mediocre poems in the Berkshires to the tune of $24,000 in debt.

I made the mistake that lots of Americans make. I derived pretty much all of my self worth from what I was ~doing~ rather than the kind of person I was. No longer a high achieving undergrad, I become a cog in a wheel. And I was miserable. So, I did what many people do: I went to grad school.

Now, I was lucky in the sense that I actually sat down and thought about a way to combine both my interests and my skills in a way that was going to keep the lights turned on. Did I envy my friends who went on to PhD literature programs at ivy league schools? You fucking bet I did. I still do. But I went to library school because I loved books, kids, and helping people and I knew I’d have better luck finding work in a library than finding a tenure track professor position. I’ve been poor my entire life. I wanted more for myself and my family. So, I made the choice. And for three years, I didn’t look back. Until now.

I’ve talked a lot about how my first job sucked horribly. I was in survival mode that entire first year of professional librarianship. There was no time to even look around and consider that there might be something more out there for me that wasn’t public librarianship. Then, I landed this job. With these amazing co-workers in this beautiful area. And I learned a shitload in the first year. I got to do things that I didn’t even know I wanted to do and now love. I ran some great programs. I also failed a fair bit. It’s all trial and error.

Things have become quite easy of late. Maybe that’s something that I’m supposed to aspire to but I’m not a big fan of sitting around and staring at the walls. I like to work. I like to try new things and do old things with a new approach. I like to make big goals and do everything I can to meet them. I know what you’re thinking and, yes, I am a Capricorn.

Unfortunately, the more I look around the more I see people who just want to fulfill the status quo. Have the same storytimes for the same age group month after month, year after year. Invite outside programmers to do all of your summer reading programs. Toss in a craft and be done with it. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is year 3 of my career and I can’t imagine working within that mindset for another 30 years or so.

I guess I’ve been feeling underutilized lately and I’ve been considering what I should do to remedy that. People always say that they want to be liked. I’ve never particularly wanted to be liked. I’ve wanted to be useful. I’ve been thinking of ways to maximize my own utility. Am I doing myself and everyone else a disservice by sitting in this small community library? Should I go back to school? For what? When? Where? How will I translate my current skillset into a new career? Do I even want a new career? What about my husband’s career goals? Do I really want to sacrifice creature comforts for the greater good? How far can I push myself in pursuit of this ideal before something has to give?

There are a lot of questions there. I haven’t answered many of them. I suspect that I probably never will. For now, I’m setting new goals for myself and working toward them with vigor until they’re complete. Once that’s over, I’ll find some new goals. If there aren’t any new goals to be had or I start running into a lot of resistance, I’ll look for a new opportunity.

Hopefully I’ll know when it’s time to move on.


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