Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Library grrrl

Hey all,

If you're going to the ALA Midwinter Conference in Seattle, Washington this weekend, I'd love to see you, even if it's just a wave from across the exhibits hall. I've been looking forward to this particular conference ever since I moved away from New York City. I miss my old friends and colleagues from NYPL. Many of us have dispersed. It's a bit humbling to know that colleagues who have started their careers the same time I did are now managing branch librarians and award committee members. It's not as if my friends had pegged me "Least likely to pause her career in order to stay home with her child," but there are times when I am rueful about having left a 30 hour job with benefits and paid holidays. Truth be told (I get stomachaches when I lie), I quit my salaried job a year before I got pregnant. Officially, I quite because I believed I could make a steady living a substitute librarian while pursuing my writing career full-time. They say, "Don't quit your day job," and I did just that. It was the proverbial "jump off the cliff" into who-knows-where. Had I thrived as a freelance writer, people could say, "How inspiring, she followed her dreams, blah blah." Really, I wanted to see what would happen. If I didn't quit my job (which had a schedule that was leading to burn-out), I would have wondered what my life would have been had I not had the chutzpah to leave.

Did I make the right decision? In the short term, no. However, the long-term effects are still up for debate. After I gave birth, I was glad that I didn't have to think about leaving my child in someone else's care. I was relieved that I had made my decision to put my library career on hold before the era of multiple night-wakings and round the clock nursing. I would have gone back to work had there been need to do so, and yes, I know how extraordinarily lucky I was that the family could survive on one income. I was glad to know that my colleagues who had both children and full-time salaried jobs also had parents in the area who would take care of the grandchildren.

I don't miss my library work schedule, but I do miss my colleagues. I miss talking about children's books with patrons. I miss my colleagues and I trading wacky patron stories. Oh, whoops, we didn't actually do that last bit. Really!(Uh-oh, here comes the stomache-ache.)


Photo: Pre-pregnant Alkelda in her usual reference desk attire.

19 comments:

El JoPe Magnifico said...

Dear Ms. The Gleeful,

Perhaps you will run into Jessi, our other friend in the field?

Outstanding photo and caption!

Sanguinely Yours,
SeƱor Magnifico

Lady K said...

Don't regret it for one second. You are WONDERFUL no matter what you do. Have fun at that conference, enjoy your child, and just keep being YOU. I know *I'm* a HUGE fan of yours.

Lady K said...

P.S. Beautiful picture!

fusenumber8 said...

I'd love to hang out with you. Mind you, I'm booked out the wazoo. Maybe we can figure something out, or at least run into one another on the convention floor.

GraceAnne said...

J TheInfomancer and I will both be in Seattle - I hope we run into you. I will be at both BBYA and Children's Notables discussions, cheering them on from the audience.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

El Magifico: Make the introductions! Please.

Lady K: Thank you!

Fuse: Maybe all the bloggers should wear beanie caps with propellors? Nope, too undignified. How about tiaras? That way, we shall easily see the sparkles across the room.

Graceanne: Excellent! I hope to see you both.

The Moy said...

Great picture! Made me think of that Laurie Anderson song, "Beautiful Red Dress."

I, too, left a steady job to pursue writing, specifically at a corporation that shall remain nameless. (Let's just say the t-shirt I wore to company picnics, the one with the company logo, is now sort of a collectors item.) I still have the unpublished, intermittantly readable novel that resulted in a drawer in my desk.

Don't worry about regrets. They're inevitable. If you'd stayed, you just might have more of them.

Keep writing and having fun!

Melangell said...

I really like what "the moy" says... regrets are inevitable. They are always lurking, no matter what, and when you recognize that, they are de-potentiated (I think that is a Jungian term.)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

The Moy: You are wise. Why is it so easy to hear the wisdom in other people's words except for whem it applies to one's self?!

Melangell: I'm always half-admiring, half-resentful of people who say they have no regrets. It's great to have been able to learn from everything one has gone through, but I sometimes wonder, "Would you (said person) have really done the same thing had you known what the results would be?"

Nonny said...

You're a goddess in that dress. You should wear it everyday!

You are very brave to follow your gut. I'm sure you made the right decision. Now if I could just get brave enough to find a new career-vampire slayer is open I think :)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Nonny: Thanks! I still have the dress, and I hope to wear it again when I've lost my pregnancy weight (that now, alas, has become my weight). And you're right-- vampire slayer is open now. You're a Potential, I just know it.

limpy99 said...

That's a great picture. Even better caption.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

"Lady in red!
You're flying away!
Get back into bed
And do what I say!
Doo Wop! Doo Wop! De Doo Wop!
Yeah!"
But what's this about "wacky patron stories"? Please tell! I mean, libraries are hardly comedy warehouses are they?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy: Thanks!

YP: Of course libraries are comedy warehouses. You only have to read
Unshelved to know this. Yee haw.

BlueMamma said...

awww, i left you a nice shout of glee, and it didn't get posted. what's that?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Bluemamma: That's happened a couple of times to me, too. Humbug! But thank you for the ephemeral shout of glee.:)

Lone Star Ma said...

This is a lot of comments.

That gorgeous dress makes me think of the Oracle of Delphi or something...which would be kind of fitting for a reference desk(:

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

LSM: I love lots of comments! Of course, when I reply to the comments, I make more comments. O the wiliness of me.

By the way, I found the dress for 11 dollars in a thrift shop in NYC. It cost more to have it hemmed! For once, I was the "hot cousin" at the wedding I attended. (Whereever there's a wedding, there's always a hot cousin in attendance.)

Lone Star Ma said...

I bet you are always the hot cousin!

I love comments, too!

Know what else I love? Your Journal of Alien Contact (hint)