I’m not sure what I’m feeling today.  I woke up feeling very tired and slightly ill, but I managed to get to volunteering, albeit very late.  Looking after the children today was very exhausting as there were lots of kids and almost no one supervising them.  Unfortunately there was some misbehaviour and I never know what to do about that.  I feel uncomfortable telling off other people’s children and half the time I didn’t see what happened anyway and it’s one kid’s word against the other’s (and “word” is stretching things as they often aren’t really verbal).  Then there’s the ethical issue of letting them take toys home with them: we do let them do this, but within reason: they can’t take too much, or stuff that’s too big, or stuff that’s really popular in the play area.  In other words, we have lots of teddy bears and they can take one home, but not the doll’s house.  It can be hard expressing this to a crying child or a parent who doesn’t speak English.  It can also be hard making decisions on borderline cases.

I came home exhausted, not least because my bus suddenly terminated earlier than the original destination on the front.  I think this happens when the bus is stuck in traffic and the bus driver will be doing overtime if he drives to the destination.  It’s very irritating whatever the reason.  I had a twenty or thirty minute walk home.  It took longer than I expected, otherwise I might have waited for another bus or rung my parents for a lift.

I’m not sure what to do with the rest of the day.  I planned my route for tomorrow and did about twenty minutes of Torah study.  My brain has switched off now and I feel too tired to work on my novel.  I suspect I will spend the evening vegetating.

I feel nervous about my interview tomorrow, not just the interview, but whether I will be able to essentially run a library from scratch by myself, which I think is what they are asking.  When I was in further education, my contract was to be extended on condition that I ran the library at our secondary campus largely by myself, and promoted it to staff and students.  I didn’t think I could do that and I felt that my line manager had made it clear that she didn’t think I could do it, so I turned it down, which was probably a mistake in retrospect; I’ve certainly gone for more than a year without a steady job because of it.  Strangely, my line manager was surprised I turned it down even after having expressed her scepticism of my abilities.  This makes me worry about this job, but I also worry about turning down jobs because of lack of self-confidence.

I tried to find some blogs or mailing lists about one person libraries (libraries run by a single librarian) for support, but I haven’t found any.  CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, has some online groups, divide mostly by region or specialism, but nothing I could find on one-person libraries or religious libraries.  I admit I haven’t been following these groups well enough to know if they are mainly top-down with people promoting CILIP conferences and books or bottom-up user-led discussion and support, although it looks mainly top-down (and on a social media-style feed, which annoys me a bit).  There’s also a thing for “connections” that looks a bit Facebook-style and scares me slightly.  I nearly connected with the further education college where I used to work, but then thought better of getting back in contact with my then-boss.

I have found some lists of general library blogs to work through.  I feel too tired and overwhelmed to look at them properly today.  The one I did look at looks like one of those things that makes me feel scared and inadequate because, unlike the writer, I have no real career plan or idea of where I want to go.  I don’t see my job as the main part of my life, but in our culture (whether you want to call it capitalist or consumerist or whatever) employers, and often employees, do feel that way.  Probably most people who achieve something at work feel that way.

I’m going to stop now because I feel as if my brain is imploding.

5 thoughts on “Childcare, and Low Self-Esteem at Work

  1. While career is a major status marker, I suspect the majority of people work to live rather than live to work. The people who live to work are more visible about it, though.

    I hope it goes well tomorrow!

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  2. If it’s a small specialist library and fairly quiet, running it on your own would be quite different from the further education library you used to work for. And part time jobs are often done by people who are doing other things they value more. In your case, your writing is what you value most. I think your previous negative work experiences and being unemployed for a while plus all those job rejections have eroded your self-esteem and confidence. Just find out as much as you can about this job and keep reminding yourself of your strengths — your qualifications and your specialist knowledge. I don’t expect there will be many applicants for the job who are qualified librarians, with an in depth knowledge of Judaism and Hebrew. Will be thinking of you tomorrow!

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    1. Thank you!

      It would be different, but I hope I have the skill set to run it by myself. It would probably be like the first library I worked in, but I would be running it rather than assistant librarian. I did always want to be in that kind of environment, but the thought of jumping straight in is scary.

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