Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cold Dose of Reality

Today I work at the library, where I feel we're at the front lines of the recession. The branch I work at is relatively affluent; at the same time, we have people come in to use our computers for job searches and resume-building. Some are very skilled at computers and simply don't have access at home; others struggle to attach a document to an email or to write a simple reply to a job request. I love talking about books and helping people find the types of books that they're looking for, whether for a school project or their own interest. But this isn't my favorite part of the job.

What I'm best at, I think, is helping that gentleman who lost his job five weeks ago get to that website he needs to connect to job possibilities; it's informing him about all the resources the library has to offer. It's empowering him by not doing everything for him but by sitting with him, patiently explaining what to do. One man thanked me, saying, "It's like I'm learning to ride a bike. You're giving me my training wheels so I can practice until I can do it on my own."

Since finishing my teaching job, I've been scrambling to put together a good application package before the September 1 deadline. I've written and revised my application essay, built a website to house stories as well as some of my favorite posts, and--for the first time in years--I've written some new fiction. I've thought, "This is perfect: finish one job, ready for the next!"

But of course, life doesn't follow a straight path, and I'm putting on the breaks to my own bicycle before I lose my way. It isn't feasible to put together a satisfactory application by September 1, complete with samples, recommendations, and essays. I've been writing feverishly, and I will continue to do so.

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