I’ve realized that I can’t stand training new people at work anymore. There have been so many of them it is hard to care. It is hard to form an attachment. How long will they stay? Are they going to be gone in a year, having found a job that pays more? Are they just a temp and will work at another branch?
It is hard, having new people there. They are in my way. They are underfoot. I’ve been there since the beginning. That is thirteen years of being in the same place. We have a certain routine, a lot of which I formed. There are certain ways that things get done. There are certain places where things go. I get a little bent out of shape when I can’t find something, or something isn’t restocked, or something isn’t completed.
I’m thinking I have a bit of Aspergers’. Or maybe this is just being old and being set in my ways.
I’ve tried to really invest a lot of energy into new people for all these years. I want them to do well. I want them to learn all the tricks. But then I remember that nobody told me all these tricks. I had to learn them the hard way. I had to figure it out and struggle through and then mess up and get yelled at by either the patron or the branch manager or both. I wonder why I’m trying to save these new people from all this when nobody tried to save me from it.
Maybe this is selfish of me. Maybe I should want to save them from a lot of trouble, even though nobody saved me. Maybe I’m really trying to make myself feel better by thinking I’m useful to them, or I’m trying to establish myself as an authority figure they can go to when they need help.
Or maybe I am a curmudgeon.
Or maybe I’ve spent just enough time working for a government agency that I realize that even if I give my job my all, that I won’t get paid more and I won’t get promoted and I won’t get noticed. There is something about working for the government that promotes mediocrity. The worst employee, who is just doing the minimum, and the best employee who is really inventive and creative and enthusiastic are the same in the eyes of the job. They both get paid the same. They both get the same benefits. It is kind of disheartening.
And then I think that part of my issue isn’t new employees at all. It is the fact that I dislike spending all my waking time at work. All of my healthy, productive years are given to a job. I’ll be 60 before I’ll be allowed to retire with a pension. While I’m grateful for a job that uses my skills and has a pension plan, I also resent the fact that the job gets more of my useful years than I do.
This is why I shoehorn in my writing time. I write before work, at lunch, and any other time I have a spare moment. I write in doctor’s waiting rooms. I write while waiting for my car to be serviced. I write while my husband is driving us on vacation or to go out to eat. I write all the time.
This is also why I exercise. I want to be healthy enough to enjoy my retirement when I finally get it. My parents died before they could retire. I’m very aware of how short life is.
Ideally, I’d work part time, or at most 30 hours a week, but the pension plan won’t cover either of those options. So I’m trying to fold time a little to get some living in there in the meantime. Because you never know if you will make it to retirement. You might get cancer. You might get hit by a bus. You might get stuck in a tornado. Things happen.
In the meantime, I keep having to train new people. Why have I stayed here this long? So many others have left. It doesn’t pay much. There is no real path for promotion. But if you are a people watcher, this is the best job ever. People come right up to you – you don’t have to make up stories about them. Every part of the drama of human existence happens at the library. Sometimes it is explained in books. Sometimes it is lived out in patrons or coworkers. There is a lot to learn in a library.
Honestly, I’m not sure I could do much else. I have a degree in English, but my training is in retail. Working in the library is a lot like retail. It has a better image than retail, sure, but the process is the same. And I feel really tied to the idea of health insurance and a pension and vacation and sick time. I’ve built up quite a bit of time. If I started at somewhere else, I’d start at the bottom.
And I’d be the new person, in the way, having to be trained.