17 March 2006

Being and Nothingness

My involvement in a major project --as far as I'm concerned-- ended last week. While I'm taking it somewhat easy this week by sleeping in & working part-time this Spring Break week, I sometimes wonder if what I do-- all my work is really worth it. Am I who I am because of what I do?

Sometimes I think the answers are in the affirmative. After all, consider my pen name, The Library Guy. When I worked in the public library in Laurel, I was often identified as such, and I liked that. Some my good friends in Jones County still refer to me as Library Guy.

However, am I fulfilled by what I'm doing? There's a part of me who wonders, who dares, should I strive for more? Should I do something different? I like what I do as a librarian. As far as what I've done regarding the Project, I've gotten plenty of positive feedback and compliments from co-workers and supervisors up to the vice-presidential level.

I feel good about that part of my worklife, but I also want more. I've taught classes online for the college as an adjunct in the past. In the past couple of years though, my involvement in teaching has been curtailed, which is to be expected when you teach as an adjunct. However, I also am a full-time employee of the college who wants to spread his wings.

Unfortunately, my efforts to get back into teaching haven't borne fruit. While I've gotten encouragement from people in distance education, class assignments fall under the authority of individual academic departments. Looking at the department in question, it appears that online classes are being assigned to people currently based in that department.

As a consequence of not teaching online classes, I became bored. Although I was bored, I was also "stupid busy at work" as Dylan would say, but for different reasons. I became bored in the sense that even though I had so much stuff to do with the library & college-- Reference, Interlibrary loan, Serials, Electronic Databases, Book Acquisition, Weeding, and Anime Club Sponsorship-- I didn't feel challenged. Work became increasingly monotonous. Teaching was a needed outlet for me.

During this past year, I was involved with this Project. It was a challenge, and things had gotten to the point where I had no life outside work. Not only that, but there were times I didn't desire or want a life outside work. Like Ali, I often found myself wanting to do nothing-- especially during the times when I've been involved with the Project. It was pretty stressful, but I liked it. It was a challenge, and I could make use of my talents in a different manner.

Now that I've completed this challenge, I want more. That's one thing I liked about the Project. I felt involved.

For a year previous to my involvement in the Project, I didn't consider myself to be involved. I wasn't teaching. I felt like I was discouraged from pursuing opportunities at the college to be an adjunct. I felt like that I wasn't supposed to be involved. Now that the Project is over, I wonder if my professional life will go back to a state of incompleteness. I hope not.

I've been looking at posted job openings more frequently as of late. I don't know if I will apply for any new job openings, but who knows what the future holds? I wonder if there's a job opening that's interesting, challenging, fun, and pays well-- admittedly a tall order for a librarian, but I can always hope. And dream. I see openings for positions at places such as Abu Dhabi, Rome, and Bangkok, and I think about moving and working someplace different.

It doesn't have to be someplace different, of course. I like being here in the Jackson area, and I've made some wonderful friends. And if there's something that's in abundance here, it's challenges. I don't mean it in a bad way. Jackson, being Mississippi's capital city, has organizations and businesses that deal with different (and often times, similar) challenges.

I'll be 39 years old in a little less than three months, and I'm single. I have serious doubts that I'll find Ms. Right. If I'm not going to be in a meaningful relationship, then my work had better have some purpose.

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