WILL UNWOUND #143: “Angry Librarians are Angry…Now what?” by Will ManleyJune 15, 2010
Angry Librarians are Angry…Now what?
Everyday when I sit down to type up a post, I never know what will hit and what will miss. Last week’s post, “Librarian Anger is Real” is fast becoming my most heavily trafficked post in terms of readership, comments, and e-mails. That post hit even more nerves than the one on library layoff horror stories.
Librarians are angry.
Library school students are angry because they are quickly waking up to the fact that they are mortgaging their futures to get certification in a profession that doesn’t have any jobs. Newly minted M.L.S. degree holders are angry because they are now working at Starbucks rather than the library down the street. Working librarians with less than five years of experience are angry that the “Last Hired, First Fired” maxim rules the day with library layoff lists. Mid career librarians are angry because they are on provisional layoff lists and they feel terrified at starting their working lives all over again. Retirement age librarians are angry because there’s nothing they’d like better than to escape this whole mess and retire, but how do you pay for medical insurance without a job? Library Administrators are angry because everyone is blaming them for the cutbacks even though they are just as vulnerable to downsizing as anyone else. Administrators get all the heat, but how would you like to spend four months going through the pain of firing a bunch of people only to get fired yourself? Those who have survived the layoffs are angry because they have twice as much work to do for the same salary.
Is anyone happy out there?
No? I didn’t think so. But that’s okay. It’s good to be angry. Anger is the emotion we were hard wired with to let off steam as we try to function in this pressure cooker called life. Anger is our safety valve. I would much rather work with a co-worker who has the occasional outburst rather than the passive aggressive jerk who holds the bitterness in for a lifetime and makes the workplace toxic with negativity. When someone displays anger, you know there is a problem. So you address the problem. It’s the people, who say “NOTHING” when you ask them what’s wrong, who drive me nuts. They are ticking time bombs filled with organizational carcinogens.
Okay, everybody, you’ve had the outburst you are entitled to. Now what?
This blog over the past three months has turned into a group think tank. Need a good book? Read the comment board. Need tips on interviewing? Read the comment board? Need advice on how to sneak out of the staff potluck? Read the comment board. Whatever the issue, the unwinders come through with good, well reasoned, experienced, and insightful advice and information.
Unwinders, now it’s your turn.
Today’s question is the hardest I’ve ever posed to you. What advice do you give to angry librarians. To students and graduates who can’t get jobs, what do you say? To working librarians who have been laid off, what do they do now? To the folks who qualify for a pension but who are scared to retire, what options do you suggest for them? Finally, let me ask you the million dollar question: what alternative occupations are available to librarians who cannot get library jobs?
REMEMBER THIS BLOG IS A GROUP EFFORT. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP. YOUR COMMENTS ARE THE REASON I BLOG EVERYDAY!