Posted by: raesalley | June 10, 2007

back on the horse that threw you

Thursday I was called into my boss’ office for a mini conference with her & the CFO. I was handed a loverly envelope and told that it wasn’t working and I was out. After I got over my stupid shock, packed up the boxes and called my dad I was doing a lot better.

My dad had a similar thing happen to him six months after I completed my bachelors degree. He wasn’t doing his job because he was expected to do the equivalent of three different positions. He laughed when he figured this out, as they hired four people to replace him. Oh, and they still have to hire him in his new job as a consultant on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, he’s more relaxed and happier than I remember him through my entire high school career. He has more interesting work, more entertaining time outside of work and the only downside is he’s driving an hour each way to work and (in my mother’s opinion) working with low class heathens who enjoy shooting and hunting way too much.

My situation is a little different. I’m not really certain what fully led to my removal. My boss and I have been at odds with each other since the day she was hired. Truthfully, she put me off during the interview process but the research librarians loved her so I thought I must be insane since I don’t. Next time, voice instincts. The day after she started, I was sent out of state for training and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was full into a project that I really wanted to continue and stay within its scope and not return to the drudgery that had become my position. I can take routine quite well and have a preferred profession that is nothing but routine…but what makes it so rewarding is that the production going through the routine is always different. And the three shows I’ve worked in multiple places, the routine is different every time because of location or people involved.

For the time of the project implementation, I was loving work. I showed up and enjoyed everything about it – even the butting heads repeatedly with fellow staff members because they didn’t listen the first few times you talked to them. As the project further progressed and my boss became more involved, she was doing good things with it. There were points where she could push because of her position and I could not. We talked, got over some of the original apprehension and moved onward. Or so I thought. There have been many situations where, while I might not have had anything substantial to add to a discussion, I was still left out of the conversation. This wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t expected to know the information later on the line. I brushed it off though and dove into my project work.

Once the project was technically completed and I was part of the wrap up crew, I was at a bit of a loss. I knew what I had to do – clean up the information – but not in what order. I knew what was considered important, but not what was most important. I relied on others to suggest paths and worked in those paths. Sometimes, those were marked well and able to be tracked and reported discreetly to my boss. Other times, they involved massive research or time spent immersed in the program putting pieces together. I’d start talking to myself and being driven bonkers by a coworker before I’d declare a break. Sometimes I’d take a quick walk around the building, more often I’d flip my screen to something mindless or check email. Apparently, I should have walked more.

I was told, once, when pushed for answers, that I too often had my screen on something other than the program I was being paid to clean up. Once. About two weeks ago. When pushed. I asked what I needed to do in order to show that I was working and no ideas surfaced. I offered to send an email each day outlining that I did, in fact, do a lot of work that was not solely information that was reported to her. We previously had one on one meetings every month. At first, I was doing well because I had completed all my objectives except the one that was currently in progress by January. Then, I was told I was possibly the best fit for the job, but she had reservations that I wasn’t working fast enough. I improved, was offered the job and accepted. After that, I don’t think I ever had a one on one discussion again about my work. I was left to my own devices as long as I checked off a list of things and the list gave me numerous options of things to do. I’d often work on one thing until I went crazy and then switch gears, only to come back to it. I recently completed the tickets from implementation then helped another get hers done. That was the day before I was fired.

Do I think I really know what my boss wanted out of that job? No. I don’t think she really knew either. I think that the field between my old job and new one are so muddy and so unclear that nobody knows fully who should be doing what. I know that one is supposed to be more in the database and the other should be more into the journals/physical collection. But the lines between blur often, and nobody has set down to paper to say what they are. I’m confident that my lack of formal library training weighs in somewhere. The fact that I have other things in my life never quite helped.

But all this has helped me really think about where I’d rather be and what I’d rather be doing. Like not having the commute from hell or doing more project based work. I’ve already applied to one job that starts Monday and I’m working on others. So I’m back on the horse that threw me.



  1. Hang in there, Rae … the next horse may be even better than the last! Give me a call during the day if you want company while you’re looking, or want to take a break … classes don’t start for another couple of weeks.

  2. Hey Rae- Sorry to hear about the job. Keep your chin up and something better will come your way. Just know I am thinking about you and sending good thoughts your way. Only 23 days until I graduate. Hooray. Love Miche

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