Sigh . . . let me explain. I’m a librarian at a large academic library. I started out at the reference desk, but they gradually phased me over to the circulation desk, and they put me there full time when I volunteered for the position.
See, I have a lot of experience with customer service, having done it on and off for over 20 years since my high school days. I used to love working with customers. I got a reputation for deftly handling the nightmare customers who made everyone else on my shift cower in the break room. I would handle them with politeness and courtesy, and somehow, at the end, they would follow the rules and regulations of wherever I was working, and I’d get congratulated. Customer service is one of the very few things in life that has always come naturally to me, and I’ve always loved it. And when I started working directly with the library patrons, I continued to love it. Until now, that is.
Part of it is the situation, I suppose. Looking at the big four-oh looming in the future, I realize that whatever it is I am cut out to do for the rest of my life, I’d better find it spit-fiddley. And part of it is age. At my age of . . . well, late thirties, I’m not as quick and energetic as I was when I was 19 bussing tables and pouring coffee for tips. I can’t identify with the undergrads anymore. I can’t even identify with the grad students in our library. Hell, the grad students are starting to piss me off, and part of it is just the age gap. Another part of it is how the grad students seem to believe that the entire planet revolves around their research involving medieval potty training, or whatever the hell it is grad students study now.
I can tell you that it’s not the grad students fault. It’s mine. I’m tired. I’m way too tired to deal with people for the rest of my life. I was going to grad school for my second masters in education, but over the past week, I’ve changed my mind, and I’m going to look into a masters degree in accounting. Just something that involves my own freakin’ cubicle with a nice large pile of paper waiting for me in the morning to be done by the end of the day. Something that does not involve me being all perkiness and sunshine in the face of utter douchebaggery. Something that involves working with, ohhhh, I dunno, six, maybe seven people in a day. I think I can be civil with that many people without losing my mind.
Anyway, to make a long story longer, I was staring at the computer at work this afternoon, when suddenly it hit me what I had to do. After I post this, I’m going upstairs now to my library. I’m going to dig out my old computer textbooks. When I get back up to speed on that, I’m going to go out and buy a basic COBOL textbook and a guide to job searches. As soon as I feel halfway competent with working with databases, applications and creating basic webpages, I’m going to apply for every entry-level corporate job I can find in my area until I find one crazy enough to take me on. Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually come around to my customer service mindset someday and rediscover the joys of working with total strangers . . .
. . . but I doubt it.