Saturday, December 26, 2015


This blog stands a very good chance of--at least in the short term--very much more of a rant blog. I've been called on the carpet yet again for poor communication and lack of tact and general 'meanness' at work.

The latest spark was a convoluted series of events including being very understaffed in Technical Services staff this month, an email asking everyone to please hold off on any new projects that will involve T.S., and finding an email last week when I was off-work from the children's librarian announcing a Big New Fucking Project That Totally Involves T.S.

My original email (the topical part of it):
...Can I request that any project-y stuff in Tech Svc that we've been discussing be postponed a bit till we know what we're doing going forward? I'm not even sure what that entails--all I can think of is "Star Wars"--but if you have other stuff...maybe file it for now?

Last Wednesday's email from Children's Librarian (again just the topical part):
[YA Librarian] started weeding J Fiction for me. We are changing our series over to the same style as the Young Adult department. That means all our series books will have labels like this:
Book Number
After some thought, I've decided that all of our series will be like this. I'll update you as [YA Librarian] gets farther along.

For clarification, Technical Service is where all the cataloging, labeling, stamps, etc. etc. happens. So all the new stuff coming in will need to be changed. This is a massive project that absolutely changes how we work. It doesn't necessarily mean more work per se, but there are changes that need to be made--and I don't want to spend time redoing a bunch of labels on things that are currently sitting in the back waiting for attention. In fairness, we had discussed this project about a month ago, but were holding off for now.

My reply (the one I sent--not the 3 or 4 I deleted because they were out of line) to the to librarians involved, and my boss:
When was the new labeling decision made? Tech Services absolutely cannot be left out of this process.

The email I then sent just to my boss:
Did you know this decision had been made?? I certainly didn't. And it certainly affects how Tech Services work is done. Frankly, I'm furious. We absolutely cannot add any more work to our process right now per my email last week.

Frankly, this is far from the first time [Children's Librarian] has made decisions that blow our (T.S.'s) work out of the water, and this is the straw that just broke my calm. The last think we need at this point is another unconsidered decision piled on when we are short-staffed and -houred anyway. But she tends to do this and I'm tired of it.

That's all. Good thing I'm at home today.

Reply from the boss:
Did I know? Yes and no. [Children's Librarian] and I talked about doing this, in a theoretical sense, a few months back-- I think you were actually there for some/all of it. And I approved of the switch as something to work toward, since I do think that the labeling system we used in YA is the best way to go with all of our series, regardless of material/location. I did not know they were at the point of moving forward with it, though, no.

However, talking with [Children's and YA Librarians], they assure me that this will have virtually no impact on you or technical services. Which is why they were going ahead with it without consulting you, or me for that matter. I have expressed to [Children's Librarian] the very real and strong need to communicate with me about things like this prior to initiating them, in part to avoid the type of misunderstanding we are having here. In part to make sure there isn't something they are missing in the process. And in part, just to be respectful of her coworkers. She gets that. She apologized for blindsiding us.

For now, I have given [YA Librarian] the green light to keep working on the prep stuff-- getting some of the series together, figuring out what the labels will be and the like-- while holding off on tweaking the [database] entries until you have a chance to review what they plan on doing and weigh in on the discussion. If, in fact, this has virtually no impact on "you and yourn", I have no problem with the project proceeding. If there is more impact than they realized, we will put a hold on it until things have settled out on the staffing side, particularly in your area.

I replied to him with this:
Yes, I was there for the 'theoretical' discussion awhile back. I knew it was coming. And that is precisely why I sent the email last week saying something to the effect of "no no projects." Apparently, that's not clear enough. And to start it up while I'm gone, which at least LOOKS like she waited for me to not be available to question her.

The immediate effects of starting to work on this right now have more to do with the fact that if we get new series books in, I'd prefer not to relabel them. So, having a look over [the processing] carts--and mine--and pulling off series titles would be helpful in that regard. Also, shifting the way I look at the kids' books as they come through going forward. [Tech Service staff] need to be up to speed on what the labels will look like. We haven't even had a discussion of this type! "Virtually no impact" my left elbow! What do they think we do all day?

Also, from a purely financial point of view, we'll need to stock up on labels again. They do cost money, along with the label covers.

I'm just gobsmacked that there's this complete lack of empathy, awareness, however you look at it....amazing.

So that's where it sat. I posted something on Facebook about not liking it when I get blindsided, ignored, and mentioned the apparent "wait till Cat. isn't here to start mixing things up" thing. I worked with the Children's Librarian on Sunday. She said nothing apologetic to me at all, so I didn't bring up the topic.

The boss's intro to my (one-month late midyear) review was, "So how do you feel about your communications last week about this issue?" [hackles rising, I look for a trap] "I thought it was pretty calm, considering what I didn't send!" He then pulls out these words as clubs: "over-reaction", "paranoid", "defensive", "hurtful comments", "poor communication skills", "angry." He suggested enlisting our Employee Assistance Program to get therapy. He told me that it might actually be easier if I was just angry all the time instead of "everyone" not knowing when I was going to "overreact" to something. Mind you, not one specific example of "over-reaction" and "paranoia" prior to this mare's nest was mentioned, not one concrete option beyond the EAP was suggested (I've been in therapy that started with EAP over two years ago, I just changed and upped the amount of anti-depressants I take daily, and I go to two Al-Anon meetings a week, which I told him after his suggestion of therapy). I asked him three times, "What, specifically, do you want me to change? I am doing my best to not discuss anything not work-related with people here. I'm not gossiping. I'm not 'yelling' at people for being noisy in the workroom. I try to keep up on changes that are made every 10 seconds without communication. I'm doing my best. WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?"

Apparently someone showed him what I posted on Facebook--he's not on my usual distrib list because this sort of BS has come up in the past about my opinions about City stuff. My Facebook post "makes the library look bad." O--Kayyy. I came home that night and put everyone I work with except two people into "Acquaintance-Land" on Facebook so they will see what the Boss sees now, i.e. not much. He asked if I would apologize for that post on Facebook, and my reply was, "Sure, but I'm not instigating it, because I didn't stir this up to start with." In other words, I'll apologize when I receive one. Still nothing from the Children's Librarian.

As stunned as I was after the original email from her, I am flabbergasted that he can't seem to understand that there are two different games being played here. If I have a problem with someone on staff, or rather with something someone is doing, I talk to them. I do not, ever, run up to his office and whine and complain about how horrible that person is. I actually truly like the people I work with, all of them, and I think they're all good people working toward the same goals. Yes, I vent to him occasionally--that's what those emails to him alone were, venting--but I never, EVER expect him to act on the venting. I've told him that multiple times. It's a point of pride that I don't go up the ladder till I've exhausted my own resources in problem-solving. And it pisses me off no end that apparently other people do, and he listens to them, and gets himself involved in solving the problem.

### Break ###

OK, I needed to get this vented. It kept me awake for a couple (more) hours last night and I need to drop it and focus on work on Monday. And on having a good post-Christmas weekend, too.

Going forward, my plan is to continue the work-only communication, my counting-to-ten (or thiry-four-hundred) every time I feel my blood pressure rising, removing myself from situations that are "not my circus, not my monkeys," not gossiping. Ultimately, what the boss wants is for me to treat my coworkers like I treat the library patrons. Since I'm cordial and impersonal with them, that's where I'm headed with coworkers. Totally unsatisfying, but if that's what he wants, that's what he gets. As I told Beast, my new MO upon walking into work is "Showtime!" This is how I've approached work on days I knew were going to be particularly hectic--i.e. Sundays--but now I guess I'm just going to be "always on."

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