Second Fall Semester (Aug 2009 – Dec 2009) Portfolio of Doom
· Last classes! I sign up for Advanced Children’s Literature and YA (yes, more kiddie lit. They never said what electives we had to sign up for. I went for easy.) Also, I take the dreaded Library Management with Dr. S.
· I die laughing over Dr S’s rules for class. My favorite: We do not service patrons. That is a sexual act. Haha. Clearly the poor man has been there too long.
· Immediately the stupid people in class start making idiotic comments. I wait for Dr. S. to pounce. He doesn’t. And some of them are just asking for it.
· Advanced Kid Lit is run exactly the same way as Multicultural Kid Lit and regular Kid Lit. I love Dr. V.’s classes. Especially how she tells us to remember the honor policy and not use our books on the quizzes. She had to be kidding right? Not that I really need the book, but it’s fun to go wild and flout the rules.
· Now is the time for the PORTFOLIO. It’s like Thesis, only you don’t get two semesters to take it and you do it along with two other classes. If you don’t pass it, you don’t get your degree. Since this is such a major deal, they decide to send us to Denton for the Fall Festival on a lark. We are going to learn all about the PORTFOLIO here.
· We learn a whole lot. Like how to get confused. First they put us up at a hotel that is all the way across Denton and costs 3 times as much as the ones that are close by the university. My poor mother and I get so lost we nearly lose it. Finally she dumps me at the restaurant with my luggage.
· We spend the first evening griping about how much we hate our professors. Well, most of us. A few nerds go and do actual productive homework.
· At the Fall Festival (which sounds way more festive than it is) we are lectured on how the PORTFOLIO works. And we get more confused. Also, Kathy points out that over 50 percent of students fail the PORTFOLIO the first time. How helpful!
· From what I can tell from the slide show (that could have just been emailed to us) we have to put together some work products that go along with the professional development paper that is a rehash of the professional agenda which is a paper full of B.S. about what we’re going to do with our degrees. I personally plan on curing Cancer and building huts in Africa.
· I decide that, according to the paper, I’m going to be a youth librarian, since I’ve taken all these kiddie lit courses. It sure sounds better than admitting I took them because they were easier. And that I don’t actually like children that much.
· Kathy decides that we should give Dr. G. a gift to thank her for all the insanity. When no one goes for it, she says it’s a group gift and demands 10 bucks from each one of us. I pretend my wallet is in my other red cohort bag.
· We do a leadership activity involving a personality quiz using a scary Satanic-looking Pentagram. This is supposed to make being a leader so much easier. I’m sure that selling one’s soul to Satan makes things infinitely easier. It sure explains my boss.
· People organize themselves into different numbers relating to their personalities. Unfortunately, some people do not know themselves. At all. My boss puts herself in with another cohort, peace loving hippie Jane. Ah, of course.
· Dr. Golden explains that she is a “1” because she’s a perfectionist. This is very true. She never stops screwing up until she’s got it done exactly right.
· We get back home and start working on our PORTFOLIOS. Dr. G. offers to proofread our papers and give suggestions. She looks at one page of mine and tells me I’m totally off the mark. But not how. Great!
· My boss goes into full on whacked out panic mode. While I’ve always known she’s nuttier than a fruitcake, most of the staff is now giving her the same berth as one would a live hand grenade. Methinks she’s worried that she’s not smart enough to pass. Bwahahaha.
· No one does much on their regular course work. Freaking out over the PORTFOLIO takes precedence. My boss has my 6th grade English teacher proofread her paper. God rest that woman’s soul. Afterward, my boss has to paste on a smile and put back together the shreds of her “paper”. Aws!
· The papers go in. We wait for our scores like people do for biopsy results. There is just no way any of us can survive doing this thing again. They finally send back the results with much fan fare. Next to my name are the words: PASS. No comments. Nothing. Just PASS. I find out my boss passed as well. Clearly, they exaggerated the difficulty of passing this thing.
· Next comes preparation for graduation. We discover that they aren’t paying a dime for graduation. Most of the cohort is a-okay with paying for silly gowns, a hotel room, travel expenses, etc. to stand in line for hours and walk across a stage. Two other mutineers and I say to hell with that. I’ve already been through 3 ceremonies. People are bored with me graduating by now.
· I am invited into an honor society. For 100 bucks everyone can know how smart I am. Or they can just look at my transcript for free. I figure there is some sort of intelligent process to this, but nope, they just draw names randomly from a list. Which means some people with 3.75 get in while some 4.0s are left out. Makes sense to me. Some cohorts are really mad that they don’t get the cheesy honor cord. Those are useful. My girls used mine from my last degree as a jump rope.
· The message boards get more and more tedious. Some fellow students in Library Management start talking about making library tree houses. I guess they’re going to have Tinkerbell checking out the books? Dr. S lets that go. He should have insulted those people for their own good and the good of society. The dean has apparently had him fixed somehow.
· Last up in that class is a group project that the group members – one is named “Missie” – take way too seriously. I know it’s too late in the semester for him to read it. My daughter is ill and in the hospital. I’m still expected to do my share. Good luck with that.
· I have several job applications in but no interviews or offers yet. I have to fax a paper to the grad school saying I’m not going to graduation. My boss interrogates me on my use of the fax machine. Despite not having a job lined up, I give my notice the next day. It’s either that or the Looney Bin.
· My boss takes such delight in my notice that she fails to realize that I work more hours than any other part timer and never take vacations. They have no idea how to fill in all the hours I worked. Merry Christmas!
· Graduation time! The others take off. I stay home and relax for the first time in a couple of years. I find out later that my boss says that she has NO IDEA why I might have quit and is CONCERNED. The other cohorts are deeply suspicious of us mutineers who didn’t go to the ceremony and have FUN. Oh, well, don’t have to see them again.
· Oh, wait. There’s still one more TLA. Hey, didn’t we graduate already?
TLA 2010: FUN with Leadership
· The previous December, I received an early Christmas present. After only a few dozen (it seemed like) interviews, I got offered a job at the university library in Special Collections. I’m still not totally sure what that is, but since I was ready to mop the floors of the place just to get a position there, I’m thrilled.
· My new boss turns out to be the polar opposite of Mrs. Satan. She actually likes my work and tells me so. My training under the Evil One has not prepared me for this. It takes me a while to adjust to not getting in trouble every single day.
· Yet despite having graduated, I’m not completely free – I still have this one last conference with her. I forgot to check the fine print. Turns out there’s going to be a leadership conference at TLA just for us. It’s Tall Texans, only not, because we don’t actually get the title. Just two days of meetings. Oh, joy.
· A fellow cohort Linda – one of the Three Mutineers – and I can’t imagine what leadership skills these wackos are going to impart to us. We start googling leadership games and laugh ourselves silly. Possible leadership activities: wrapping ourselves in Saran Wrap, pulling off pieces of toilet paper, sitting on one another’s laps, fighting with pool noodles, butt head tag, and an activity that involves yelling the word “Hooowaa!” I swear I am not making these up.
· We make it to the final TLA with the cohort. This time we are roomed at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio right across from the Alamo. It is rumored that the upper floors of this hotel are haunted, so my boss and her unfortunate roommate decide to change rooms in hopes of meeting one of the ghosts. If there were ghosts, I’m sure the ghosts were scared off.
· The other cohorts start to realize my former boss isn’t quite right.
· At the first meeting, I get to tell everybody about my brand new super job that I love and my awesome boss. My former boss tries to force a smile, and her face cracks.
· As it turns out, we don’t get to do any of the fun leadership activities. Mostly we listen to boring stuff that I can’t remember. At one point my boss asks if people who are no longer at public libraries should be allowed to be at this activity, or to breathe, or something like that. She looks right at me.
· Fellow cohort Linda and I mouth “Hoowaa” to each other during the boring workshop and try not to giggle like eight-year-olds.
· The leadership meeting finally ends. Now on to the actual conference. Weee.
· I do try to go to as many of the conferences that are related to Special Collections (turns out these are archives) as I can, but most of them turn out fairly useless. The speakers are not prepared, and don’t even have enough handouts. It’s like being back in school.
· I visit the Alamo and realize that it is wedged between several huge hotels. Kind of takes the mystery and awe out of this symbol of our independence.
· It is next to impossible to catch a shuttle to the conference center, since they only run once or twice a day. So I get a lot of walking in back and forth. This involves cutting through a mall, darn the luck. I discover Macy’s.
· This time I get a roommate who has to leave early for a funeral. Sad for her, but happy for me. I get a room to myself for a while.
· I run into my former boss over and over, but it gets easier. I can tell she’s frustrated that I am out from under her thumb. And happy. At one point I smile her right out of the room.
· Finally, TLA ends. And so does the online MLS experience. Hooowaaa!
This just in from the “I swear I’m not making this crap up” files. Earlier this week, we had a rather exciting afternoon at Small Town University. About half past three, a warning scrolled across the bottom of my computer screen that said “lock down lock down, shelter in place, lock doors classroom/offices.” Apparently there had been a robbery at a nearby fast food place by a suspect described as a black male with “heavy set silver short white shirt.”
Huh. Well, this was different. When I stepped outside my office this same warning was blaring across the speakers they’d managed to fix since the evacuation drill when half the staff didn’t hear the alarm. Also a strobe light was flashing. We figured out to get the flashing light when we accidentally forgot a hearing impaired employee in the building during another drill. Now we’ll only have to drag out an epileptic patron. Progress!
We had already practiced the fire drill (that was the one where we forgot an employee) and had been mostly successful (except that one little detail). We’d managed to annoy the students who were forced to take their headphones out of their ears and pack up their laptops and move their bodies elsewhere. I wonder if they would move even if there were a real fire. Probably they’d have to make sure their angry birds took out all the green pigs first.
We’d also practiced the evacuation drill, to the annoyance of not only the students but the entire town. We hadn’t warned them we were going to do this, see, because criminals are always nice enough to warn you that next week on Thursday at 4 pm they are going to set a bomb in your building so do mark that in your day planners. Anyway, people were a little weirded out to see the entire campus leave at the same time. In an orderly fashion. I’m just kidding, it was a total gridlock. Supposedly, the campus shuttle was going to transport people to cars that were parked miles away. I saw a lot of students wandering around blindly, yammering to each other and stepping in front of cars without looking. You know, the usual. But no shuttle. Oopsies.
The news had a field day with this. They managed to interview quite possibly the two dopiest students on campus who fretted “We was scared and they didn’t tell us nothin’.” Education at its finest – you can find it here, folks.
Now this is what happened when staff had warning that the drill would take place. This was not a drill, but an actual emergency so naturally no one knew what to do. We didn’t even understand what it meant. I kept reading the warning as saying the suspect had a heavy set silver short white shirt. So he had a short heavy shirt? That was silver and white? Wait, what? The fast food place the suspect had robbed was located directly across from the university – in fact, the part of the university where the campus police is located.
So we knew there was some guy who robbed a fast food place, but not whether he had transportation or say, a gun. Or where he was. Or what we were supposed to do about it. The students kept firing their birds at the pigs while the alarm repeated itself again and again. My boss, coworker and I went downstairs to see if anyone else knew what was going on. The office staff said to take cover in a room and lock the door. So we went upstairs. Then it occurred to us that there were patrons out there. What were we supposed to do with them? They wouldn’t know what was going on until the gunman actually had a gun directly against their skulls and then they’d say “Five more minutes, I’ve almost got the last pig.”
A call downstairs told us that, no, we didn’t have to go take cover, we just had to lock the outside doors of the library so no one could get in. Or get out. Hooray. Now I had started out the day with my typical anxiety that was now notched up to about 50 what with not knowing what was going on and the constant reminder from the speakers to lock down, lock down, lock down, lock down already! I started hearing that song from Beverly Hills Cop in my head – shakedown, breakdown . . . breakdown, breakdown, breakdown!
I texted my husband that there was a robber on the loose and the whole university was locked down. He replied to my urgent message with “k”. Yup. “K”. Now saying said gunman had actually managed to get into the library (the only reason I can think for most people to willingly go into the library would be to take cover from police) his last words, er word, not even a word, was “k”. He couldn’t even say “Okay”. Thanks, honey. Glad romance is DEAD.
Now I’m really hyped up. Every ten minutes we get that alert to lock down. As if everyone trapped on campus has not freaking heard it by now since none of us can LEAVE. This goes on for almost an hour and a half –until ten till closing when they finally announce the “All Clear. Resume Normal Activities.” Whatever they hell that might be. We were just thrilled we got to go home. But what about this gunman? Haha, it gets even better, guyz.
First we found out the gunman wasn’t in the restaurant. He wasn’t armed either. He just knocked over an female employee leaving the place, took some money, and ran. This has to be the stupidest idea ever. We’re talking about a tall, African American man in a town that is mostly white, robbing a woman in broad daylight across from the police station and then trying to escape on foot. What kind of moron would do that?
The same kind of moron who would decide to cover up a shortage at the register by staging a robbery, which is what happened. The girl, the robber, and another genius involved were all employees of the store and figured that instead of admitting there wasn’t enough money in the drawer, they’d just pretend the money was taken and no one would ever figure it out. Brilliant plan, Einsteins. So, in summary, because of three bozos we, for an hour and a half, locked down an entire college campus, had a helicopter flying overhead, had cops search through each building on campus in a painstaking manner, and freaked the hell out of hundreds of people.
Just another day at the library.
Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?
I have many favorite quotes, but the one I want to talk about today is by Alfred Hitchcock. “Revenge is sweet and not fattening.”
Revenge. Have you ever wanted revenge? I’m thinking you have, whether or not you have actually taken it. Even Jesus got cheesed off with those moneychangers. That’s totally my favorite part of the Bible. You go, Jesus!
But there are people who want you to be all peaceful and crap. Aren’t they annoying? John Milton said, “He that studieth revenge keepeth his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.” Yeah, well, bite me, John Milton. I still want it. But the problem with revenge is pulling it off. You gotta be sneaky. Otherwise it could end up biting you. Douglas Horton or possibly Confucious famously said, “While seeking revenge, dig two graves. One for yourself.” These guys were real downers.
By the way, I’m getting these quotes from this site, so for once I’m not making them up. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/revenge.htmlThough they might be, since I’ve already found one quote attributed to two different people. I should probably do more research. Nah.
Revenge is possible! And I’m not talking about George Herbert’s “Living well is the best revenge.” Pfft. No way, I’m talking people that did it and actually got away with it. These people are my heroes. Alfred Hitchcock said, “Revenge is sweet and not fattening.” Damn straight, Alfred. He was not someone to screw around with. Piss him off and suddenly you have freaking birds come after you and peck your eyeballs out. I would have liked to have been buds with Alfred Hitchcock. I bet he could have helped me out a lot with my AliceRage.
What’s bad is when it’s someone you can’t touch, like say a boss. My current boss is really great, and I’m not just sucking up here. She really is a wonderful person. But I’ve had bosses in the past that made this lady look like a real peach.
One in particular was especially bad. Fellow staff members and I had fond names for her, such as “Dead Alien Soul Boss” and “Satan.” She treated most of the staff horribly, but I was her special whipping girl. She really wanted me to quit. I stayed for years. There were various reasons behind this, chief among them a crappy economy and desire to eat, but also that it really would have made her happy for me to leave.
I couldn’t yell at her, or punch her, or stomp on her face, or punch her again and stomp on her face, and fire codes prevented me from setting her on fire. So all I could do was keep showing up, and this seemed to piss her off most of all. She kept trying to find ways to torture me, but the problem was that she was a moron. You have to have brains to properly get revenge on somebody (I guess she wanted revenge on me for being super awesome and, you know, sane). One of her strategies was to never allow me to learn new skills. So while the other people were say, stuck at the desk working, she’d send me out to read shelves. When you read shelves, you’re just checking to make sure the books are in order. There’s really no way to tell if you’re doing anything or not, unless you stand over the person. So I went out there, all by myself, and did nothing but stare at the books while daydreaming about her head exploding.
Besides being mean and stupid, she was insane. No, really, it was a fun guessing game to try to figure out her psychiatric diagnosis. I’m thinking Narcissitic Personality Disorder would have been pretty close. Also you can’t forget “nuts”. She talked to puppets. Not just to rehearse puppet plays, just because. If I ever had to talk to her, and believe me I tried to avoid it, it was like shoving words into a wood chipper. They came back at you completely distorted. Her moods could change from morning to afternoon. One second she was balling you out for breathing and the next she was asking about your day like you were best pals. Freak-ing nuts. It should come as no surprise that her major was Communications.
She tried everything she could to hold me down, to make me appear less than, to hide all my fabulous Alice light under her big fat bushel. And it almost worked. But I finally quit. Fortunately, one of my interviews came through and I got my current job. But I was willing to shovel fast food at that point. She had power over me for so long, and she used her pathetic bit of power to try to push me down. I had done nothing to her. She made my life miserable, and nearly ruined my health. And there was nothing I could do about it.
Yet when I left, I left a hole in that place. I had worked more hours as a part-timer than anyone else. I knew how to do things that no one else knew how to do. I had done all the dirty jobs that no one wanted. So I left, and suddenly, it was the holidays, and everyone took vacation and she had to scramble to fill spots (I heard this from my former coworkers later). Merry freaking Christmas! Also, after I left, others started leaving. One by one, till only a year later almost every employee – many of whom had been there for years and had tons of experience – had left. Now they are left with teens who look at their jobs with the same passion and drive as any burger flipping job. And then one day she ran into my new boss, and my new boss raved about me, and she looked like she had swallowed a cantaloupe. That was sweet, not fattening, I tell you.
But it still would have been nice to have done some face stomping. Have you ever wanted revenge? Did you ever manage to get it? If so, please leave your stories. I’d love to read them