a little job offer and plenty of anxiety, to boot

I was offered a part-time job. Now, what?library shelves

Back in December I was given the opportunity to take a test for a possible library job. I took the test and, apparently, did very well. I know the Dewey Decimal system and having for years put titles of books in order on paper as a proofreader and copy editor, I could do it in a flash. The test was on knowledge (having to put three sets of fifteen books each in order by Dewey number, author name, or subject matter). It was timed too and I was finished in about four minutes. In my testing period (there were four testing periods of about fifteen people each), I was about number four to turn it in. I was asked to come back for an interview too, as were a dozen or more others.

At the interview, conducted by two librarians, one of whom is the supervisor for the aides, I did fairly well. I goofed on maybe one question, but the rest went pretty smoothly. I learned a few days later, however, that I didn’t get the job, and I assumed it was because of my age. The woman interviewed before me was about my daughter’s age. The librarian did mention, however, that another position would be opening up in a few more months. I went on with my life.

Fast forward to late April, and I receive a call asking if I’m still interested in the position that just opened. I ask if I can think about it and the librarian gives me a day. I kick myself for having picked up the phone, wishing I’d let it go to voicemail. Not having answered would have bought me a little more time, I thought, and an excuse to put off deciding, feigning I never heard the message. But I had picked up and I had spoken to the librarian, and I needed to make a decision.

That was my daughter’s birthday and the entire family went out for dinner. I ran the scenario by my younger daughter, who said she’d love to work in a library and wouldn’t it be great to be around all those books? She had worked at a bookstore full-time for nearly six years and had moved on to a better job at a publisher. So she gets me. The hours wouldn’t be great. I’d have to work Wednesday through Saturday, including one nighttime shift ending at 9, with an occasional Sunday thrown in, but the hours were four or five at most each day. The driving would stink, but after thirty-plus years at home, I figure I shouldn’t complain.

I called the librarian back the next day and told her yes. I start this coming Wednesday. I’m nervous, as everyone is when starting a new job, but a little excited too. It’s a beautiful environment to work in and it will get me out into the world. Once the first-day and first-week jitters are over with, I can see myself enjoying the job immensely.

I always have the option of quitting, especially if the commute is horrendous or the job takes me away from my family life too much, and the money just isn’t worth it. I am taking it to supplement my freelance editing career, and it will be nice during the famine editing months to have a little steady income. I’ll probably spend the equivalent of one shift’s worth of money on gas weekly, a drawback, indeed, but I’m hoping the benefits of the job will outweigh the negatives.

As a friends suggested, I will take it as an adventure, test the waters, and drop anchor if the water’s too choppy. I’m happy I have that option. Sometimes in life you have to sink or swim. I choose to brave the waters.

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