6.07.2013

in which i remember what big life change feels like

Even though I'm following several important news stories - from the revelations about the massive NSA domestic spying campaign to the slow-motion implosion of the Conservative Party of Canada to the show-trial of Bradley Manning - I seem unable to blog about anything but my own life. I remember two other times when this happened: just before and just after we moved to Canada, and when I started grad school. Big Life Change has a way of swamping everything else.

Career changes are huge transitions, but librarianship is even more than a career change for me: it's an entire change of lifestyle. With the exception of a few years after graduating university and some scattered months here and there, my working life has been fluid and unconventional. As a writer, editor, and activist, I worked from home, and always had the flexibility of my own hours. The paid employment that subsidized that work was usually compressed into either weekends or evenings, and required very low commitment or personal involvement.

This means that for nearly 30 years, I've scheduled appointments at my own convenience, gone shopping or out to dinner without crowds, gone to the for a walk or swim in the middle of the day, and so on. I'm glad that public librarianship is not strictly a Monday to Friday, 9-5 job. I'll be working one or two evenings each week, plus every-other Saturday, and some Sundays. That means I'll have some time off during the week, and I like that. Plus, Allan is still working on weekends, and we need at least one day off together.

But still, I'm working a defined schedule, in a workplace, and figuring out how to fit the rest of my life around that. I'm working in a field that demands personal involvement, which means it can encroach into your non-work time - or take over, if your boundaries are weak.

* * * *

Much of what overwhelms me is my reluctance to work full-time. My position right now is 24 hours per week. With that, it's still possible to have outside interests (like activism) and have a balanced life, with free time and without a lot of pressure.

But as Allan and I get older, I feel it's important that I increase my income and have better job benefits. Also, I will want to advance in my field. This means that I will have to pursue full-time work.

And full-time work scares me. I fear I will not have enough down-time, or time to pursue other interests. I do not want work to be my life.

I know I will eventually sort this out. I'm just explaining what's on my mind these days.

* * * *

Sometimes my mind reels with questions, as it has done throughout this entire process, beginning with my decision to go to graduate school, back in 2009. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. When that happens, I take deep, slow breaths, focus on the present, remind myself I can't answer all the questions in advance, remind myself that the answers will become clear in time.

2 comments:

impudent strumpet said...

It is interesting to us though. Apart from the fact that people who read this blog are interested in you as a person, there are a lot of people are writing about the important news stories, but not so many writing about behind the scenes at the library :)

laura k said...

Thank you very much for that. :)