Monday, April 26, 2010

Balancing work and self – or why a young librarian needs to learn to say “no”.

I’m one of those people that tends to work themselves into a corner – the kind that volunteer for a whole bunch of activities, and who really wants to help out…until I pause for a moment and realize that “oh dear, I have volunteered for far too many things.”

Well, that is exactly where I am right now. A quick list off the top of my head (meaning I’m sure I’m forgetting SOMETHING) leaves me with the current responsibilities: library faculty assembly secretary, library representative to the student life committee, co-chair of the newsletter committee of the SEES section of ACRL, volunteer topic editor (foreign travel, travel warnings, and nutrition) for, SAILS committee member…and I think that’s it? Of course, that’s on top of my normal job, which involves coordinating our government documents collection, purchasing for three academic departments, teaching classes, and providing specialized reference. Oh, and redesigning the website. And putting together a tenure portfolio. And writing something that will hopefully be publishable. Since I need that for tenure.

Is it any wonder that I’m a little overwhelmed? Or that I’m having a lot of trouble balancing work and home? On top of all that I’m at a disadvantage for two reasons: (1) I’m the kind of person who will work myself to death. It’s just what I do. And (2) I moved halfway across the country to a city where I knew no one to start this job. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret moving here (well, maybe when I have a bagel craving I do - but mostly I’m ok). But when you move to start a career, don’t bring anyone along for the ride, it can be tough to make friends and find activities to balance work. The interesting twist of being a tenure track librarian is that I have all the stress of tenure, with none of the preparation associated with getting a PhD.

I guess the whole point of this entry is to say “Wow. I’m really, really stressed.” And the week is just beginning – on Thursday I drive to Detroit for a state conference, and on Saturday morning/all day I have to participate in graduation. There is a good chance that by Saturday night I will have keeled over from exhaustion. I do love my job, but I really need to work on this whole balance thing. And the friends thing. And possibly even the boyfriend thing, although I don’t have much hope for that one.

No comments: