Friday, June 6, 2008

You work too close together

I'm not convinced that this isn't a stunt or a surveillance camera "movie", but thank god for two things: libraries don't usually look like that (imagine the damage an American Heritage Dictionary could do), and it's Friday.

Spotted on Jobacle blog.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hose or no hose?

Since I'm talking about appearance, I came across this article on WSJ about hosiery and dress codes. I think I would still wear panty hose to an interview (or really nice socks ;->) but I will be bare-legged during the summer under my skirts.

I got to be honest: I hate hose, it's a waste. It can be cute, but I wear them as frequently as I will wear nail polish.

This one is strong in the scent

Since I take the train to work, I have gotten a good whiff of people, not to mention some of the memorable trips snuggled right into people's armpits. I have to say that though I am not a fan of BO, excessive perfume is just a killer. I walked on the deck this morning and took a deep breath of some sweetly toxic miasma and prayed I would find a seat in another car. I couldn't imagine being trapped in a room with the person and being able to think anything but, you smell funny.

If you are going on a interview, ease up on the scent. Both men and women, since men can get a bit exuberant with the spray bottle, too. Despite what you believe about allergies to scent--there is a yes/no argument about how affecting perfume is and if scent allergies really exist--if I believe that your perfume is aggravating or will give me an asthma attack, I'm not thinking kind thoughts about you. Small room, huge smell? I'm not going to be thinking about what you are saying, just when can I escape. You should also be aware that there are some workplaces that are going scent free.

And no one likes to talk about smell: it is a basic, animal sense and our reaction is instinctual and sometimes hard to control. Who wants to say to someone, you smell...odd? Doesn't seem nice, does it? But if a scent, too much of good or bad thing, is too over-powering, it could leave the wrong impression.

And I am not saying, don't wear any perfume; I'm saying, moderation is a good idea. Think about it: you go to the perfume counter and you smell a wide variety of scents. You don't like all of them, but someone will buy the others that aren't to your taste. Imagine that you have purchased and worn the scent that makes your interviewer's back teeth ache. Yeah, you aren't buying either.

So, for one day at least, spray once and step in.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Layoff, not a fun way to start the week

I've seen a bit of chatter on some of the listserves that I subscribe to about recent and upcoming layoffs. Layoffs in the public service sector--as public librarians, that's where some of you fit--are the result of the economy's belt-tightening--or the mistaken belief that less spent on public services, the less it looks like government waste. Just when the public needs us the most.

A layoff is not a firing: it has nothing to do with performance--but it still hurts like a son of a bitch. It may also be temporary and not permanent--don't we wish rent and groceries could be the same? Put it on my tab, or trust me, the cheque is in the mail.

I'm trying to soothe at the same time I'm giving a smack: it's intentional. If you are afraid of a layoff, or imminent layoffs have been announced, I don't want you to wait. I want you to get your resume ready, find some job postings, line up some freelance stuff. Why? Not just because eating is important but because I'm betting something most outplacement specialists don't think of: you still want to be a librarian. And if layoffs come, the pool of available applicants will be that much bigger.

If you look at most layoff survival advice, it's buck up, or take this as a learning experience or opportunity to switch careers. I bet most of you don't want to: librarianship is cool, it's fun, we have great colleagues, nice places to work, the pay is mediocre to abysmal, but we can read and talk to people who are interested in knowledge and books and call it work. It's not just the dream, it's the wet t-shirt whipping cream dream. I would give it up to make my mortgage payment, but not forever. And you need to plan for how you will stay on track, not at a place, but in a particular occupation.

So, what are you doing to stay librarian?

Monday, June 2, 2008

More on microloans

CNET just released an article, At microloan sites, the new college try, today about microloan sites and student loans. Basically, a microloan is a "small" loan given to a person who is not eligible for or who has exhausted other forms of credit, with terms of repayment. The loaners are not always banks--though they or other agent can become a middle man--but could be normal people who just want to help someone. For example, I just made my first Kiva loan this past week, purely out of interest in the idea of microloaning. But I wonder: could I have had a greater impact, in line with my professional goals and personal beliefs, if I had helped someone with their education?

I have some other questions:
  • Will a microloaning movement in education affect the amount of money people give to scholarships? A loan is different from a scholarship, but recycling money with microlending may appeal to some givers.
  • Will it affect how much people give to their alumni association--which also disperses funds to students--if they are tapped out from giving their "charity" to microlenders?
  • Should student financial aid offices or faculties start looking for funds for students by acting as agents or intermediaries to vouch for students?
  • And, would you loan money on this site? Would you look for a library student who needed funds to complete his or her education?
I think this area is going to see a lot of action in the next year, possibly affecting some students this year and more in the years to come as credit gets tighter.