My Terrible, Horrible, Not-that-bad, Still-Kind-of-Good Day at Work

So this was a few weeks ago - my third shift, I think. To backtrack a bit, I had gone in to talk to the office administrator after my first shift and she had told me a place I could park where you're technically not supposed to park (by the dumpsters) because I'm out by 2:30. The second week I drove in and saw the spot I thought she meant, but it really looked like you shouldn't park there, so I parked on the street again and DOUBLE-CHECKED with her that it was the spot she meant. So today, I parked there.

I went into the library. Did I mention that the learn-to-play-ukulele club meets in the library at the recess that is just before my shift? So the environment is less-than-serene at the best of times? But today when I went to log in to the computer, it was stuck in an update. This means I can't check books in or out or look up whether anyone has books out. Did I mention that my first classes are all of the autism unit? Where routine is, shall we say, key?

So, okay. I will roll with it. The younger two classes come in and fortunately the teachers have a record of who brought their book back, so I just write down everybody's name and the bar code of the book they take - the autism classes are small, so it's not overwhelming. This all goes swimmingly. Then the older two classes come in. In the middle of the same routine, an announcement goes out that a black SUV is parked in front of the dumpsters and needs to be moved.

That was me. In front of the dumpsters. Where the office manager told me TWICE to park (I thought). So I tell the teachers I'll be right back and go out and the maintenance guy is standing there looking annoyed and I apologize profusely and say that I was told to park by the dumpsters, and he points to the back of the lot and says "she probably meant THOSE dumpsters", and honestly, as my friend Hannah says, how many dumpsters does it take to run a school ANYWAY?

So I rush back to the library, only to discover that the morning librarian has left and locked me out of the back room, where my purse is, with my key. Fortunately I realized I could beg to borrow one of the teachers' keys instead of having to go to the office and further humiliate myself (yes, I did go home and order a lanyard forthwith).

THEN, during the next class, another secretary asked over the speaker if "The Librarian" was there. I gaped for a minute until the teacher said (to me) "she can hear you" and (to her) "yes, she is". The secretary said there was a call for me on line 2. I went to to the phone. There were no buttons with line numbers. I stood there for a minute waiting for further instructions until the secretary came in and told me I had to come take the call in the office.

THEN, during the NEXT class, I have to throw down with some grade 3 chick over Amulet books. The other librarian who has been at the school for twenty years, has a shelf of more mature books and graphic novels that are only accessible to grade four and up. Did I mention that I have one class that's a grade three-four split? I had more or less determined to stick to the policy, but I haven't gotten entirely comfortable with just saying "because I said so". So one grade three girl tells me she's allowed to read Amulet books (graphic novel series) but she only has them at her dad's, so she'd like to borrow one to read at her mom's. So I say yes, like an idiot, partly because I'm wishy-washy and partly because I know what it's like to be a kid who reads above your perceived reading level - my dad used to have to come approve my books at the local library. Then this other grade three girl gets up in my face because if R. gets to take one then she should too. And I argue (again, like an idiot) that her parents have said she's allowed to read them and she has them at home. And the girl says "well if she has them at home, why does she need to borrow one?" (okay, solid point), so I blurt out (like an idiot, probably violating some kind of confidentiality rules), "only at her dad's!" And the girl says "oh, okay" and skips away happily.

Then there was another incident where a boy checked out an Amulet book, flipped through it and then brought it back in high dudgeon and insisted that I check it back in because of the naked blue man. So I said "oh, okay."

The good news is, ten to twenty years ago this would have sent me screaming from the building, never to be heard from again. Now? Meh. A lot of things went wrong and I handled them with varying degrees of skill, the lowest level being Very Low Indeed. Won't be the last time. I made stupid mistakes doing this kind of work for years as a volunteer. This time I made stupid mistakes and got paid.


I have had the exact same conversation with kids about books that they say they can check out but the library “rules” say they are too young. And generally I override those rules because I don’t like them but then sometimes I fret and fret in the night about some book that I gave some kid and the whole thing causes me to be super strict for awhile until I decide “meh, whatever, books for everyone!” And repeat. Anyway...been there!
StephLove said…
I'm glad you're rolling with the punches at work. And can I say I'm really charmed by the idea of the ukulele club.

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