There is an office Christmas party going on this morning as I type this. But I am not only not there, I wasn’t even notified of it until late yesterday afternoon, when I was at my other job.
Seems I’m forgotten often at the municipal branch library where I work, even though there are only ten employees and one volunteer besides the head librarian. In a way, it’s good. I don’t think I’m long for that place, especially if an opportunity to work more hours at my other part-time, better-paying job comes through in a couple months. It will be nice to simply slink away, practically unnoticed. Still, who likes to be ignored?
There are times I feel like a very small cog in an enormous machine. I am made to feel, by the type of job I fill and how I have little time to interact with other employees or patrons, that I’m just filling a spot, just doing the lowest-level grunt work, which mainly involves shelving, and that anyone with a little experience could take my place at any time. I’m made to feel expendable.
Woe is not me, though, because I have an outlet–other work that I find fulfilling and a husband with a much better salary than my four little jobs put together and multiplied by five.
But we all want to feel like we belong, right? I’m not getting that feeling.
A case in point:
- Not being told about the Christmas potluck breakfast and gift exchange until late in the afternoon the day before. If I were to have participated, I would have had to prepare ahead of time to shop and wrap a gift for the exchange and prepare or pick up some food to share. At least a couple days’ notice would have been nice, not fourteen hours. I’m easy to reach: I was last at work less than a week ago and I have a personal e-mail address, a city e-mail address, and a mobile phone. I’m an afterthought.
- Another case in point: My boss texted and called on a day I had requested off last week, asking where I was and why I hadn’t shown up for work. She had totally forgotten and failed to write down that I had asked for that day off weeks ago, twice, in fact. Even worse, she had completely not realized that it was my birthday. I’ve been working at this library for 2.5 months and yet my name hadn’t been added to the list of birthdays. Let me repeat that there are only ten employees. One of the other workers had a birthday around Thanksgiving, and we all signed a card. I received no card. I also had turned in my time sheet for her approval two days ahead of the cutoff, which fell on my birthday, but even that didn’t tip her off that I may not be showing up on Friday.
- Yet another example: Festive little stockings have been hung on the circulation desk with care, but there’s not a one with my name on it. There’s a “Ryan” and a “Brenda” and a “Felix” on the stockings, but no “Rose.” I suppose the Ryan stocking will suffice, for it has the same number of letters and it begins with an “R”!
But as I said, I’m probably not going to stay in the job for long. All the walking and kneeling on a cement floor, in addition to the reaching, bending, crouching, and lifting, are causing my osteoarthritis to flare up. I’m getting all the aching joints–and a new one–I experienced just before leaving my last library job with similar responsibilities. My health is much more valuable than $12-something an hour.
I’m lucky to have an out, but there are plenty of people who need this type of work. I just hope whoever takes my place (which would occur about eleven months after I quit, because nothing in the city moves swiftly) gets his or her name on a Christmas stocking, a timely invitation to the Christmas party, and a birthday card, because no one likes to be forgotten or ignored. No one.