Recently, I left my library for the last time as the Head of Access Services. It was not a voluntary action. I was reassigned to “Special Projects” for a failure to perform up to stated standards and failure to improve after much coaching, counseling, and (yes) abuse from a past supervisor. As such, my contract is not being renewed and I was given 90 days notice of termination. In the meantime I’m performing my special projects duties (such as they are) from home.
I spent months grasping to hold onto something that was never mine to keep. I was in a position for which I was not well-suited and could not succeed in. I’m disappointed by this, but I do not feel shame. I do not know what the future holds. Even though this was foreseeable, I thought I had more time. I thought I’d have time to leave on my timeline and not theirs. Over the last year there has been grieving, fear, and despair. There have been tears and breakdowns, anger and hurt. But as time went on and after many conversations with my wife I’ve chosen a different way to deal with the hardship.
If you read my previous post — the post I thought would have been my last — I talked about how this was supposed to have been my dream job, the one I wanted when I got my library degree in 2015. I also talked about how my mental health had deteriorated and about how I’d changed over the years. My generalized anxiety disorder stems from childhood trauma in which I was rejected by my culture, by and large, for not being “boy enough.” The daily exclusions, rejections, and insults to which I was subjected took their toll and throughout my life it was any perceived slight that triggered an angry reaction out of fear of sliding back into that victimhood. I could easily do that again, now. But there is no good there.
Instead, I’m seeing this as my second act. The basic three act story structure goes this way: Act 1, get your hero up a tree; Act 2, throw rocks at him; Act 3, get him down from the tree. In my story, the rocks have been thrown and the tree is now on fire. It’s perilous for our hero. While I would love a deus ex machina to come and pull me out of my predicament, it’s up to me to rescue myself. The thing about the trials of the 2nd act is that they are the forge in which you change for the next phase of your story. This is not the end of my story. My story continues.
When I started working in libraries 16 years ago I didn’t intend to make it a career, but two years later it was. I believed that it was the professional realm and environment I would be most successful in. It still could be, but through circumstances and choices I put myself in an area of librarianship that I dearly wanted to succeed in, but did not have the aptitude for. As such, this chapter of my life is closed.
My next chapter is not written, yet, but there is a sketch of an outline. I recently made myself a notary public and am seeking certifications in a few other professional areas, especially in real estate. I’m seeking a mortgage loan processing license and have begun the process to achieve a real estate sales license. I like the idea of these jobs because they are nearly recession proof, provide an environment in which I can see the product of my labors daily, and have the opportunity of taking a big and scary process and making it easier on people taking major steps in their lives. I also like the idea of being more entrepreneurial in my work. At forty-two years old I am ready to shed this librarian skin that never completely fit in the first place, and try something new. I’m ready to take risks.
I’ve always thought of myself as a story teller, but until recently I haven’t applied that kind of thinking to my life. I’ve always kind of drifted along with the circumstances. It’s time to finally take charge of my story, though, and be my own hero.
To be continued…