My First Day of Work – Random Memories

Today was our library region's AGM and, though it fell on a different day (April 5 this year, March 31 last year), in my mind this marks one year that I've been with Southeast Regional since that was the day that I officially started. 

It's funny to think back to that first day – just trying to remember the names of my new co-workers let alone figure out what was going on with all the policy and budget discussions that were happening as the day progressed. 

Here are some other random memories of my first day on the job…

All the staff were wearing library golf shirts so I asked the staffer working the merch table (yeah, librarians are like rock stars – we sell t-shirts! ) if I could get one.  “Oh no, you don't get yours until you pass your six month probation,” he replied.  “Oh…uhm…okay” I kinda mumbled (while thinking something a bit stronger in my head.) 

The funniest part is that the shirts are stored in my office so I happened to “acquire” one quite a bit earlier than the passing of my six month probation.  Oh, and that's something else that I think I first heard that day – my boss doesn't usually pass professional staff at their six month performance review even if they do a really good job because (I think) he believes very few people make enough progress in six months to earn a passing grade.  Something like that anyhow.  Well, I must've managed to pull the wool over his eyes because I managed to pass mine (to be fair, as did the person I was replacing so it's not like it's unheard of either.)  Of course, in the end, that and a handful of loonies will get you a Starbucks coffee, right? 

I remember wondering if it was a conflict of interest to give a hug to the Indian Head trustee who also happens to be a longtime family friend whose son is currently renting our farm land?   (I did anyhow.)

More small town stuff…I remember talking to the rep from a town near Indian Head and (of course) he knows my mom because she taught him CPR. 

I remember rushing around with the person I was replacing to print out copies of the Branch Awards pamphlet and take some plaques to be engraved in the few short hours before the start and end of the meeting.  (I understand why my boss runs this surprisingly politically sensitive decision about branch awards by his Executive at their morning meeting before making it official but it does make for a bit of a crunch during the day!)  Today wasn't too bad because I'd printed the pamphlets yesterday with the knowledge that I could still print more this morning if there were last minute changes or the Executive didn't like the little dashes of humour and “personal voice” that I inserted into my write-ups over the more typical generic blurbs that are used.  (“Library A wins the Branch Service Award for having a committed board and successful programs that have led to increased circulation and a much respected place within the community.  Congratulations!”)

I also remember thinking “Holy crap – this is a lot I'm going to have to know how to organize for next year!” (and then not realizing for nearly six months, until right before the very similar fall semi-annual meeting, that it was a different staff person who did all the organizing for this one!  I'm only responsible for the twice-annual Branch Librarian training workshops.)

I gotta admit – I was a bit taken aback that first day to hear that staff didn't get paid for the hour we spent at the AGM over lunch – even though we were obligated to be there and true, not really “working” but still, it wasn't like I could take off for an hour to go visit Shea or whatever so it wasn't like that hour was mine to do with as I pleased.  I'd never worked in a place where this was the case before so I'm not sure if it was a literary non-profit vs. library thing or just a local policy or what.  Being my first day (and knowing it was only a year and a half contract), I decided not to make (too much of) a stink about it anyhow. 

I don't know if you do that thing where, maybe you wake up in the night and look at the clock and go “Oh, five more hours of sleep..yay!” or have a busy week ahead of you and think “If I can just get to Friday, I'll be fine.”  I was doing the same thing on my first day – not in a positive or a negative way – but just wondering, “What am I going to be like a year from now?  Will any of this make sense?  What will I have accomplished in the next year?  Am I going to make it as a librarian or will I have to go back to school for my Masters in Journalism?”


Going to the bar with my new co-workers at the end of a long day and having one of them jokingly slurp up some beer that someone else spills on the table.  “This is going to be a really interesting year” I remember thinking to myself. 

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