From a Savage to an Amazon?

The news reported this morning that Amazon is offering the opportunity for people to start their own business delivering Amazon packages. It’s possible to start with only a $10,000 investment. When I was looking it up just now, I saw that there is also the Amazon Flex option to be a “gig” driver, more like an Uber type set-up. I was just saying recently how much I miss having a job where I’m outside and on the move all day.

One of my first jobs out of college was working for the Cincinnati Post delivering papers to street racks and stores. It was a summer job before I started grad school. I arrived in the morning, picked up my morning edition, drove around the city delivering them, ate lunch and then picked up and delivered the afternoon edition. Instead of driving to each rack, I would park on a block, grab all the papers for that area, and run to each rack or store to deliver them.  I was in very good physical shape that summer. My day ended when I delivered my last paper, so the faster I worked, the more free time I had. I had no benefits, vacation or holiday time, so it wasn’t the best job, but I really did like being on the go all day. Whenever I leave the branch for a meeting and I’m driving mid-day, I miss being out in my car alone all day. So, when I see jobs like the above, I’m always tempted to make the big jump from professional librarian to delivery guy. I would probably find soon enough that this type of job is not great for an old guy like me, but the temptation is still there.  I also think the job seems attractive because your interaction with other people is limited. That sounds really nice.

I’m not going to quit my job and become an Amazon guy. I will continue on as a Savage assistant manager, but for a day I will long for days alone in my car listening to the radio. It was a simpler time.

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Postus Interruptus

I was a few sentences in to a post this morning about feeling residual anxiety from a dream last night and how that is rare for me. I was already struggling to get the wording the way I wanted when there was a knock at the door. As I mentioned earlier in Destruction Day, are master bath is being renovated. The knock at the door was the person who is doing the renovation ready to start the day.  I am not going to attempt to restart the interrupted post(It wasn’t that great anyway) so instead I will just post some stray observations from my conference I attended last week:

I was spoiled that last two years at conference with multiple people from my system attending. I didn’t have to worry about eating alone or trying to join a random pub quiz team. This year went back to the old ways of me being one of only two non-admin employees at the conference. I did go to dinner once with people from work, but I had more times when I was eating alone. Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about pub quiz. Two people from work showed up(including our new CEO) and I found people I played with last year.

I always struggle with mingling and networking at conferences. I’m really bad at it and, if given a choice, will eat alone if no friends are there and spend time alone in my room. This year, I made an attempt to spend more time actually talking to people instead. I’m not sure if those people appreciated me talking to them, but I feel good about my attempts to be a normal person.

I finally won a raffle in the vendor area after 20 some years of attending the conference. Multiple bottles of wine were won and then my ticket was drawn when they were giving away three childrens books. Even when I win, I am a loser.

Every time I leave the conference I feel like I’m ready to make a leap and do something new with my career. I never do. Even though I was better at talking to people this year I will not use it to try to move ahead in my career. I will continue to work for the same place in the same job until I retire. I do try to take back what I learn and use it in my job, so the conference does make me better at my job. I will never be the person who has the ability to use networking opportunities for career advancement.  So, sorry coworkers, you are stuck with me.

Is It Time to Jump?

I recently read For Every One by Jason Reynolds. It was very good and one of the messages of the book was to make the jump, whatever that might be. It even included the message that even if you are 50(I’m close) jump anyway.  I would love to be able to take his advice. I feel like there is a jump I need to take, but there are a few issues with this:

  1. Jump where? – It might be a midlife crisis. It might be stress over a few specific things that could be over soon. It might be any number of things, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel less and less like I am where I should be in my life. The problem? I have no idea what a jump for me would be. Is it as simple as taking the time to find a new hobby or to try to write something more substantial than a blog post? Is it a little more involved and means thinking about a job change? Is it even more extreme and I look to changing careers? A scary thought at the age of 50, especially with some of the other reasons I will list below.
  2. College – In August, I will have two kids in college. One of them will be just starting and the other will be in the final semester of undergrad and then on to grad school. Two kids in college is not a time to make a jump. Two kids in college is time to be happy you have a good, steady job for the next 4-8 years.
  3. Retirement – I am almost 23 years in to my job and that means  I am just about 7 years away from the 30 years of service I need to retire. It seems pretty dumb to think about making a major life change this close to retirement. That would rule out the extreme of a total career change.
  4. Others – Making a jump is easy if you are the only one involved. Making a jump that would affect the life of others is not as easy. Even something as simple as a hobby or writing will affect those around me. It would mean more time away from home or alone in a room. A job change might mean a longer commute and a change in salary. All easier if jumping alone.  I would not be jumping alone.
  5. Fear of the unknown – I will admit that this is also a big one. I’ve been with the same employer for 23 years. The thought of going somewhere new is scary. The thought of going to a new career is even scarier.  Even if all of the above was not an issue, I would still hesitate to jump. I’m just not the jumping sort.

So, after all of this, I will likely not make a major jump. I might try the simple thing of trying to write when I am going to be home alone anyway. That will just mean sitting in a room away from the distraction of the TV and making an effort. It likely won’t go anywhere, but at least I will know that for sure. I likely will never have the courage to make the bigger jump and will instead focus on finding some peace with where I am. But, you should consider jumping if the desire is there.

The Retiring Type

I took the day off on Tuesday.  It was in the middle of what would have been my 7 day stretch at work. I’m old, tired and a little burned out and couldn’t deal with the thought of 7 days of work with no break. So, I did what I needed and took a break. This is unusual for me. I rarely just take a day off. I take vacations. I take time off at Christmas to spend time with family in Kentucky. I just don’t take time off otherwise. I rarely even call in sick. This time, though, I finally listened to my gut and took the day.

The problem with taking the day, though, is that it gave me a taste of what retirement will be. I had a day with no where I had to be. I went out in the morning to get gas and breakfast. I did a load of laundry. I did dishes. I watched DVR’ed TV shows. I went to the local library to return some books and for my daughter to browse. We watched a movie. It was a good day. Unfortunately, no one will pay me to stay at home, watch TV and post mediocre blog posts, so I have 7 years before this can be my normal life.

People think I’m weird for wanting to retire so early. They think I will be too young to retire when my actual retirement date arrives. I think I would rather retire when I am still young enough to enjoy it. I also feel like it is easier to retire when your identity is not completely ties in to your career. I generally like my job, but I don’t really feel like the essence of me is tied in to being a librarian. I could be a substitute teacher(and work only when I want to) and be just as content as I am now(am I ever content?) I would be happy to be home cleaning bathrooms and other housework all day.

I think it is more a “I don’t want anyone else to control my time” thing. I want to do something I enjoy without someone watching over me. I want to start and end when I want. I want to be in control of my own time. Since the odds of finding a job like that is low, I look ahead to retirement. Until that happens, I will need to learn to take a few more days for myself.

Some Short Wednesday Thoughts

I recently hit 200 followers on this blog. I would like to say welcome to the new followers and also I’m sorry for the inevitable disappointment you will feel when you read my posts regularly. There are some people I follow who start a blog and 6 months later they have a gazillion followers. I would like to meet all of these bloggers in person so I can punch them in the face.

I drove down to a local shopping center today to get lunch and buy a gallon of milk. Every single 4 way/all way/ 3 way stop was a practice in frustration as people sat and waited because no one knows how it works and so nobody drove. This includes the people who are coming in to the shopping center and are not supposed to stop. It’s really not that hard. Why don’t people know how to do this? I’m not sure what confuses people more a 4 way stop or a traffic circle. It is really annoying.

My library is about to announce who they have hired as our new CEO. I went to a meet and greet with the candidates where I talked to each of them in a group setting for 10 minutes. So, of course, I think I know exactly who they should hire. Why would I trust the people who have interviewed them all twice and have seen their resumes. My gut feeling is obviously better than actual work, right? I am trying to remind myself not to really think this way when they announce the CEO. I’m sure they will make the right choice regardless of who I liked best in a very causal, brief meeting(but I’m sure I’m right).

We upgraded our TV service recently and now I can record u to six shows at a time and twice as much can be saved as before. I know this seems excessive, but for someone like me who gets more excited about the network upfronts than they do the Oscars this is big. I can finally sample all of the random new shows that air without juggling my recording schedule. Maybe I will try writing a few reviews even though I suck at writing reviews.

That’s all for today. Happy Wednesday!

My Life as a Jailbrarian: Library Fight Club

As I promised in the last installment of “My Life as a Jailbrarian” today I will write about the fights I saw while working in the library. This is not going to be as exciting as it sounds. There were rarely fights in the library. I can really only remember two actual physical fights inside the library. There were numerous arguments that could have turned in to physical altercations had the officers not responded to my call and stopped it before it started, There were times that I was threatened, but that also never turned physical. I saw the aftermath of fights in other areas of the jail. I think the library had fewer fights because they didn’t want to lose library privileges. I had the law books, so they were nicer to me. So, now that I’ve told you that this post is boring – here are the two fights I remember.

The one common theme of both fights is that they started fast, with no warning. There were no arguments, no yelling, nothing that would indicate that something was about to happen. Just a sudden burst of violence.

Fight one was the oddest one. I was at my desk answering a question when suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw a chair raising up in the air. The library went from relative quiet to violence in the blink of an eye. People who had been sitting quietly were now in a physical altercation and one of them was about to go after the other one with a chair. I have no idea why or how it started. It’s possible that this was a continuation of an argument that happened in the housing unit. It’s possible there was a quiet argument I missed. All I know is that I had an inmate going after another one with a chair. Luckily, it was not my job to intervene. I called for officer assistance and they stopped it before anyone was injured.

The other fight also happened quickly, but I know the reason for behind it. The county jail is a co-ed facility. The library was one of the place in the jail where the female inmates were allowed to work.  At the time, I had a woman assigned to work in the library. Apparently, she was also writing notes to two different male inmates at the same time. These notes were not allowed, but they were passed all the time in a variety of ways.  One of the guys she was writing also had a job within the jail. One day he was cleaning the halls outside the library and the other guy was in the library looking at books.  I was at the desk helping someone find something in one of the law books. Suddenly, the guy cleaning the call charges in to the library and jumps the other guy. The officers arrived quickly again and broke up the fight before anything too extreme happened. It wasn’t until after the fight was over and I was cleaning up the library that I found the shank(homemade knife) that had been dropped when the officers arrived. Someone had been prepared to stab the other guy over a county jail pen pal.

That is the extent of real fights in the library. Not too exciting. There was plenty of yelling, plenty of me yelling over them to try to calm things down and plenty of times I felt the need to call the officers because it was past the point I felt I could intervene, but really only two real fights. It could have been much worse.

My Life as a Jailbrarian: Life on the Inside Leads to Life Online

It’s been a while since I’ve written a “jailbrarian” post. It’s hard for me to decide where to start with my life in the county jail. As I mentioned in the last post, many days in jail are boring and uneventful and that is what you want. Boring and uneventful, coupled with the job being a very solitary job can make for a very long day.  At the beginning if my time as a jailbrarian I was in jail 8-4 four days a week. I only worked with other librarians one day a week. It was a very isolated life. There was also a lot of down time during periods when the inmates were locked down for count, lunch or emergency situations as well as times when only a couple of people attended library and sat and read magazines for an hour.  It was a small library, so tasks like shelving, weeding, etc didn’t take a lot of time.

All of this lead me to find ways to connect with other librarians, readers, and other random strangers. I joined email lists for librarians and book lovers. I joined one email list for book lovers that soon lead to me joining other outcasts in a new book lovers email list with fewer rules. This was The Book Barn and was my main escape from the monotony for a long time. I made several friends via the Barn and we are still friends today via Facebook. I even went to Pittsburgh for a weekend to meet some of them in person and survived. I joined bulletin boards, the best being the Christopher Moore board where I again made friends with whom I am still friends today.  I joined a site called FriendFeed that was eventually bought and killed by Facebook. It was my favorite social media site. There were a lot of librarians who posted regularly, so I felt more connected to the field.  It was perfect for actual conversation on a variety of topics. I’m still sad Facebook killed it. I did eventually join Facebook and Twitter as well, but they are not nearly as good as Friendeed. I actually started this blog with the thought that I would use it to post about library stuff, but decided early on that I didn’t really want to post about library stuff and also that I didn’t want to worry about what my employer thought about my thoughts on library stuff.

This may sound like I spent my time in jail doing everything but work, but I did all of this on breaks, at lunch and during times when I was watching two guys read magazines and couldn’t do anything else. It helped make a solitary librarian feel a little less alone.

Next time on My Life as a Jailbrarian perhaps I will talk about the handful of fights that occurred in the library.