As some of you know, I got a new job in the Harold B. Lee Library. I'm now the stacks manager for Special Collections. That has been an interesting transition. I gave my 2 weeks notice 2 weeks before I was planning on leaving...InBio asked for 3. When that three weeks came, they had barely decided on who to hire and asked if I wouldn't mind staying just a little bit longer. I was like, "No, I actually would not be willing to do that."
Working there has been kind of nightmarish the past semester. We got a new department chair and let's just say that he and I don't get along royally. He calls himself "hard nosed" and wanted for me to be hard nosed as well. I'm not very good at that and I'm also not very good at handling being treated in a hard nosed manner. So, I kind of haven't been having a lot of fun. Add that change to the fact that all the office staff quit after the former department chair quit (which I might have taken as a hint to also vacate!), I picked up quite a bit of extra duties yet stayed at the same pay level and still was only part time. It was very frustrating.
So, anyway, I started my new job, which is still part time, but I think that it will be a bit funner than working at InBio has been for the last little while. However, the person I am replacing hasn't come in yet. Apparently she comes back on Friday, but by then I'll have been working in the library for three weeks and I'm not sure how much training I'll need at that point since I've learned a lot already. There are some questions that I've had but I've been able to find some pretty good answers by asking the students I manage as well as some of the full time people in Special Collections.
Speaking of asking questions. I went through my email the other day just to see how many questions I've fielded from InBio since I left them. We are averaging four questions a day for the last three weeks. This does not include phone calls, nor the multiple times I have gone into the office to help out. My replacement does not seem to be very self sufficient yet. She wants to know all kinds of things that I swear I told her at least three times previously...
I've stopped answering her directly and instead point her in a direction, give her a smile and tell her to fetch. "Nancy, I have a question about this student's contract. I don't really understand and was hoping you could explain..." The answer to that is easy. Talk to student employment.
"Nancy, I have a question about tuition awards..." Call Connie in the Scholarship Office.
"Nancy, I have a student's record here that is kind of confusing..." Right, talk to the Office of Graduate Studies.
Seriously, I have all these numbers posted on the wall right above her phone anyway so I don't know why she doesn't call them instead of asking me.
"Nancy, I have a question about travel..." Call the travel office.
Yeah, I've found that is a lot less time consuming for me instead of listening to her whole concern and then walking her through step by step. I've done that before. She took copious notes. I wrote a handbook for her. I mean, I started at "Turn on the computer." Her first question was, "How do I do that?" My first answer was, "That big power button there, yeah? You push it."
Emotionally I smacked my forehead in an exasperated fashion.
Thus has been our relationship since, my replacement's and mine.
This evening was the InBio Christmas Party, which I helped to plan. I thought I had every single detail worked out when, after arriving home this afternoon, I realized that I had forgotten to tell my replacement about the camera. So, I quickly emailed her and reminded her to bring the camera. I mean, it says in the handbook that the graduate secretary takes pictures at all social functions, so the fact that I didn't tell her is mute since I know she read the handbook and took copious notes from it.
So, Andrew and I arrive at the party and my replacement rushes up to me. "Oh, Nancy, I'm so glad you're here! I have a question for you." I'm surprised. Not. "Why do we take pictures?"
Okay, I can be honest. I like answering questions. I like researching and finding answers. That is why I like working in a library where I can do that all day long. But, when someone asks the question, "Why do we take pictures?" my brain starts to wonder about the timeless phrase, "There are no stupid questions." I mean, are there really no stupid questions? And how do you answer that?
After staring at her, I'm sure with my mouth open, I said, "Remember those scrap books you have in your office?" She's like, "Oh, the department ones with all the pictures and newspaper clippings in them?" "Yes, that scrap book. We take the pictures and we put them in there to keep a record of the happenings in our department."
Her eyes got big, "Oh!" She said and I could tell she was wishing for a paper and pen so she could write that down.
Have fun, InBio!