Wednesday, February 22, 2012

That's Nice of You to Say - But How Does it Put Gas in my Tank?

I'm such a horrible blogger and I apologize for anyone still hanging around here.  In my defense, I have been tackling other projects that have been patiently waiting for attention for years in some cases (catching up to all thirteen published volumes of The Wheel of Time before book 14, A Memory of Light, comes out next January is no mean feat).  But I come bearing updates, so do enjoy.

As I've mentioned before, I'm working for Salt Lake County Library as a substitute clerk, which is vastly different from working as an actual librarian, though I have the qualifications. You have to get in the door somehow, right?  Since I became a sub last summer, I've been trying to become a merit employee for the county.  See if you can follow me on this for a second - Salt Lake County (herein after known as SLCo) employs two kinds of employees - merit and exempt.  Merit employees are the ones with the set hours, salary and benefits.  Exempt employees are more or less considered temporary and just get the hourly wage.  This is countywide policy - not just for the library.  As a sub, I am counted as an exempt employee.  The library hires a lot of people internally - meaning people already working for the library can apply for these positions.  Sadly, only merit employees are eligible to apply for internal positions.  Which means that, even though I have a master's degree and have all this experience under my belt, it means bupkus because I'm just a sub and can't apply for these positions until they get posted on the external job listings.  But I am okay with that because something has to open up and I can keep working and getting experience.

Last fall, the SLCo announced that they were in a hiring freeze (and I counted my lucky stars I was hired mere months before the freeze was implemented) - however, the library has its own budget and several new positions had already been approved and they're opening two new libraries by summer 2012, so the freeze wasn't likely to adversely affect the library too much.  Even so, I wanted to scream to the heavens because I wanted to work as a librarian and most of the librarian positions I'd seen were only posted on the internal listing that I saw at work (the internal listing board for me is like a parent telling a child that they can look at the cookies, but they can't touch.  It's quite frustrating, but there you go).  There was one librarian position posted externally that I did apply for, but I was told that I didn't have enough experience (even with a degree and an internship behind me - I couldn't even get a blasted interview.  I'm well-aware that there are people with more experience, but couldn't I just get an interview, at least?).

So, my mission lately has been to become a merit employee and just keep working and it seemed my chance had come at the beginning of January when they posted a chance to apply for a general clerk position.  This pool of applicants would be used to fill clerk vacancies throughout the library system over the next six months.  And since I've worked at all the libraries in the system at least once (some considerably more than that), I had a pretty good shot at this, so I applied.  Long story short - I made it through the first round of cuts and actually got a couple of interviews!  It's not for librarian (yet), but it's a step forward.

My first interview was at one of the larger branches in the system and one that I've worked at quite a bit.  I know the staff and supervisors and they know me and I get along with them very well and I would be thrilled beyond reason to work there.  The position they had open was for a 20-hour position, which is about as low as you can start, but - benefits!  People I like!  Place I enjoy!  Yay!  The interview went well and all I had to do was wait to hear back.

About a week or so later, I got a phone call from the head supervisor and I immediately knew I didn't get the job (sadness).  However, the supervisor went on (for about ten minutes) to say that she wanted me to work for them so much and she thought she'd have a 40-hour position to offer me, but that wasn't the case and she was really disappointed she couldn't hire me.  Honestly - I've never had a rejection phone call go on like this.  On one level, I was sad that I didn't get the job (I was certainly prepared to wait the out the initial six-month probation as a merit employee to actually be a card-carrying merit employee and be eligible to apply for internal positions - trust me, it's in The Plan).  On the other hand, I was buoyed up by the fact that this is one supervisor saying this to me and taking the time to say it - how many other supervisors in the system would say the same of me? (hopefully, most of them).

The story doesn't end.  Because the very next day, I was scheduled to work a shift at that branch and I got the chance to speak to the supervisor face-to-face.  And she told me who I lost out to.  And... well, how would any of you take this news?

I lost out to the assistant circulation supervisor from another Library branch. In truth, if that guy hadn't applied for the job, it would have been mine.

AVPM Malfoy flopping

It should bolster my confidence, I suppose, that I lost out to someone who's been in the system before and held positions of authority (the reason he's taking a cut in hours, etc. had something to do with school or family reasons, which I can hardly blame him).  Still - it doesn't exactly make it easier to deal with the fact that I came thisclose to another step in my goal and now I'm back to square one.  I still haven't heard back from the other interview (and my hopes for that one grow fainter by the day).  The only other thing I can compare it to is my freshman year of high school when I tried out for the basketball team and made the first cut, then was one of only two girls who were eliminated in the second cut (and I was passed over when several of the other girls had to quit the team because of bad grades and injuries - nope, not bitter. Not at all).

One of the people I've worked with at the library put it this way - Out of all the losers, you were first place.  Which is a nice thought, I guess. But how does that put gas in my tank?

ETA: Just heard from the second interview I had. Apparently, The Powers the Be decided that branch won't be allowed to hire anyone at all!  Which means the supervisors went to all the trouble of interviewing x-amount of people - for nothing!

I'll insert a facepalm .gif here when I get home.

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