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March 15, 2006

Job thoughts, once again

This is one of those entries that may or may not be a good idea, but I've been thinking about it for a while and feel like I should go ahead and post.

First off, the Carnival of the Infosciences #28 is located at Frequently Answered Questions this week. My previous post about the Arizona Convocation was included.

This is somewhat relevant to today's forthcoming rant, since one of the Carnival entries, by Mark at ...and the thoughts are broken... is directly related to my complaint.

Like Mark, I'm not one to hold with the whole generational typecasting that has been all the rage for the last couple of decades. While I'm firmly ensconced in "Generation X," I feel that there is not enough time between Generation X and the "Millenials" to warrant a new generational category. Additionally, just like all labels, these only provide an excuse for division. The primary outcome of labels is to promote stereotypes ("Oh, you know those Millenials are all so impatient!").

But here I'll just state the event and let you be the judge. In my new, temp position, I'm trying to streamline the ordering process for library acquisitions. Currently, materials selectors submit orders in paper format, with no standard for form or what information is required. I'm trying to push electronic submission and have created an online form to this effect, with a minimum required amount of information (selector, fund and title). One thing to mention here is the form is only meant to be used for about 30% of total orders, since the remaining percentage will eventually be automated.

One day into our test, some of the materials selectors are complaining about the extreme effort of having to cut and paste order information into the form, or god forbid, have to type it out. They point out that this is clerical work and beneath them as professionals.

This seems ridiculous and unreasonably lazy to me, but my viewpoint could be skewed by the fact that I was a paraprofessional only a month and a half ago. Perhaps this is a part of library professional etiquette that I am unaware of since I my entry into the professional world is through a temp position, so I was not taught the secret librarian handshake or whatever. If not, is this a generational thing, dating from back when men were men, women were women, and highly paid library professionals had secretaries to take dictation and such? All of the selectors who feel this way are in the over-45 crowd. Perhaps I just don't understand this mentality, since I type everything since it's all on the computer anyway.

Forgive my getting a bit silly about it, but it's the only alternative I have at the moment to keep from getting mad. I'm genuinely trying to understand where they're coming from and would hate to jump to the conclusion that they're just those stubborn Boomers. I'd be really interested to hear from others about this - am I being unreasonable? Are they?

In any case, don't worry. Professionally, I know that it takes time and patience to initiate change in a library setting. I'm not popping off and insulting anyone (unless they read this blog, in which case, I might offend someone. But hey, it's my blog).

In order to leave this on a positive note, here's a nice article about taking temp positions that makes me a little more hopeful for my future.

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