My neighbors have been very neighborly lately. I can think of several possible reasons for this:
a) After 7 months they’ve realized that I’m not going anywhere, despite the “transitional” nature of the neighborhood (Mom, Dad, don’t worry, transitional as in an UPSWING) which means they’ve “accepted” my presence (I think this is a good thing, personally)
b) They’ve seen more of me lately since the weather is nice (YAY! Spring!) and I’ve taken to sitting on my porch after work [although it appears Spring has decided to take a nice little vacation to the South for Easter weekend so this practice will be suspended until the temperature climbs back into Spring-like temperatures]
c) I look like I need help (this is entirely plausible)
I think it might be a combination of all three. They’ve been talking to me more lately: saying “hi” as I walk the dog, walking over to talk while I’m sitting on the porch, offering to tell me what the “good” take-out and delivery places are, offering to draw me maps to the local grocery stores, etc. One even offered me BBQ chicken the other night. I have one neighbor that keeps telling me he’s going to send his sons over for tutoring. He’s been saying this ever since he found out I was a librarian. Apparently librarian = teacher for him. I don’t quite understand this, but ok, it’s better than other things he could assume.
This assumption that I am or have been a teacher is a theme in my life lately. I’ve had what I consider to be two careers in my life: 1) Student/grad student (which equals taking classes while desperately trying to scrape together enough money to take more classes and eat without going too far into debt), and, 2) Librarian (which equals trying to pay off said debt and eat on the typical salary of a librarian, which is lower-than-the-average salary for someone with the same level of education that a librarian is required to have – a Masters degree. One does not become a librarian for the money, trust me.)
I’m very lucky to have found a career right out of the starting blocks that I enjoy and makes me happy, that I have a talent for (at least a talent for my chosen field within librarianship, which has many many diverse fields in it), and that I’m passionate about. I watched my dad go through 16 jobs covering several different careers in the first 20 or so years of my life, trying to find that fit. He did find it, but it obviously took him awhile. I found my career with a perfect “fit” right out of college.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of teaching (I use the term loosely). My library is migrating to a “new” software this summer not by choice, but due to merger. This software has always been there, but no one at my current library has really been using it, they’ve always used that “other” software. In contrast, this “new” software is all I used at my previous jobs, dating all the way back to my days as a student worker and intern (almost 10 years ago now). So I was asked to put together a series of sessions to train the people that will have to start using this software (whether they like it or not). Kind of a “software 101” type thing for everyone, from the basic “all I need it to do is x and y” users to the “power users” (not an easy thing to accomplish, FYI). This morphed into 2 basic topics for all user levels, doing 4 one hour sessions on each topic to break the 70+ people up into manageable groups, PLUS more sessions on other topics for smaller “power user” groups in the near future. Whew.
And lets not forget the handouts, all of which now need to be put on our internal staff web pages. Somehow, me sending a message asking who I send the Word docs to so they can be put online translated into me getting a password to the staff pages so I can create, post, edit, and maintain a page myself. Apparently I blinked. Oops. [Notes to self: don’t blink ever again at work and dig through boxes to find that HTML for Dummies quick reference book this weekend, I’m a little rusty on my tags.]
Fortunately, the sessions have gone well so far. The flip side of them going well is that I do still have to do more on specialized topics. In addition, after these sessions, I’ve had various people come up to me and tell me some combination or pieces of the following: I speak clearly and with authority (thanks, Mom and Dad, the authority thing is all YOUR fault) but while not being intimidating, I also stay approachable so people don’t mind asking me questions, and I break things down well so they’re understandable. I’m good with this information (or complements, whatever you want to call it). It’s great to hear and those are all things I strive to do well, so the affirmation that I’m succeeding is really really nice.
Then things get weird. They ask me if I used to be a teacher. Um, no. Not ever. I’ve tutored, and I’ve team-taught a workshop or two, but no, I’ve never been a teacher. That’s usually answered with a “well, you could be, you’d be a good one.” Um, thanks. The first time I was asked about my “teaching” background I was surprised and a little frightened, by person number 5, not so surprised anymore, but still a little frightened. Even more weird and scary, when I’ve shared this with various friends, they’ve all AGREED with it and told me it’s occurred to them, too. Hm. Interesting. And frightening. At the same time.
I guess if this librarian shindig stops working for me, I could have a third career, as a teacher.