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Long retrain coming - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Long retrain coming
My job is so meaningless. I mean, I know they all are, in the end, but this one is definitely more so than many. Less than the previous one, though. I suppose that's something to be thankful for. That, and the very reasonable salary.

And, I mean, it's indoors, which is a good thing.

But anyway.

Poll #712898 What should j4 do all day?

j4 should...

stick with the job -- it's okay and it pays well enough.
4(25.0%)
apply for a similar job elsewhere.
2(12.5%)
apply for a different job (probably less well paid, given the intersection of skills/interests & available jobs).
0(0.0%)
retrain.
8(50.0%)
something else...
2(12.5%)

If you selected 'something else' above, give more details:

If I retrain, what should I retrain as? (The options below are all things that people have at least semi-seriously suggested.)

Librarian
4(30.8%)
Teacher
2(15.4%)
Driving instructor
0(0.0%)
Counsellor
2(15.4%)
Publican
2(15.4%)
Journalist
1(7.7%)
Programmer
0(0.0%)
something else...
2(15.4%)

Why? (And, if you selected 'something else', what?)

Any further comments?

Tags: ,

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Comments
strange_powers From: strange_powers Date: April 19th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whatever they tell you to do, I'm doing too. So - sadly - I cannot provide any useful advice.

As if I could anyway.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Let's go to library school together! No, really. It'd be great. We could pass notes to each other at the back of boring lectures. :-)
aldabra From: aldabra Date: April 19th, 2006 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not a librarian. Library school is unutterably dull, for *years*. And there aren't interesting jobs in libraries. The UL is one of the best libraries in the world. I love it. But working there was dull (apart from the teabreaks), and I was the only person I knew who had a shelfful of interesting books I'd collected. Librarians don't read books, because they get fed up of hoicking them around all day and want to do something different in the evenings. And it doesn't pay very well either.

I'd say don't go for teaching, you don't want to end up teaching, but I think not ending up at library school is much more improtant...
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: April 19th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
The people I know teaching at private schools are, on the whole, happier than the people teaching in the state sector - usually due to better support from the school they're at. There are exceptions both ways, mind, but I could picture j4 at a private girls' school. It could be like a female version of Dead Poets Society, only with more badgers and Shakespeare and fewer scary beardy men no pictures of Walt Whitman on the wall.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I could picture j4 at a private girls' school

Of all the people I didn't expect to have those sorts of thoughts!

But seriously, dude, I went to a private girls' school. I know what goes on in those places. *shudder*
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Years? Since when? It's a one-year MA, and you can do it part-time in 28 months. And I've seen plenty of interesting jobs that require Information Science qualifications (jobs which, er, in fact, I could clearly do, so possibly should actually ask the people advertising them "do you really need me to have this qualification?").

As for wages, well, Owen gets paid almost exactly the same as I do; I'll let him say more about how good the job is if he feels like it, but I see him come home smiling and relaxed, and -- unlike me -- he doesn't feel the need to rant for an hour non-stop. Okay, that's partly a question of individual personalities, but still. (And he reads more than I do.)

And I worked in a library for 9 months (while waiting to have the second attempt at my finals year after remitting), and really enjoyed it.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: April 19th, 2006 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
"do you really need me to have this qualification?"

If they like you but really do want the qualification, you could always see if they'll let you study for it on the job and / or put you through it or contribute to it. Shows enthusiasm and initiative, and potentially gives you a more varied (maybe full / stressful) workload.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a good idea, and ... actually, I wonder if I could persuade my current employers to let me study part-time for the Information Management qualification, as it's actually very relevant to what I'm theoretically supposed to be doing in this job (and likely to be supposed to be doing more of if I stay here).

Hmmmm. *ponders* *reads up on flexible working policy*
rmc28 From: rmc28 Date: April 19th, 2006 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
If there are interesting-looking jobs you feel you could do without the magic qualification, it's probably worth ringing/emailing and asking if the qualification is actually vital, or if your proven experience in x,y,z will do.
addedentry From: addedentry Date: April 19th, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not that bad. (Consider this two cheers for librarianship.)

For a long time I was jealous of my best friend for working as a library assistant in UCL, while drumming in a band, and telling me about his colleagues who were ex-punks or working-class avant-gardists.

So there are some interesting librarians, but more importantly, there are interesting jobs related to libraries: jobs at the intersection of computers and literature and systems and psychology and buzzwords.

I think the downsides of librarianing for j4 would be the hierarchy and the inertia (both of which I'm broadly comfortable with).
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
the hierarchy and the inertia

My previous job had so much inertia you could have scraped it off the walls and built some kind of evil golem with it; it also had a sufficiently inflexible hierarchy that they couldn't actually let me do the job they wanted me to do because there wasn't a name for it on the org chart ("computer says no").

This job has less inertia, and a theoretically more flexible hierarchy ... which is sufficiently complicated that to a first approximation it stops anybody getting anything done.

I suspect all the jobs I'm likely to ever be qualified to do and/or interested in doing suffer from these problems to a greater or lesser extent. But having colleagues who bothered to turn up to work were in sympathy with my aims a bit more, and having enough work to do that I wasn't reduced to Super-Evil No Really We Mean Really Fucking Difficult Sudoku Vol. XIV by 10am on an average day (or a context in which constructive extra-curricular stuff was valued, or where it was openly accepted that a de facto part-time job only required part-time attendance) ... [stops to collect threads of sentence] ... might make it a bit more bearable.

Also, you're less keen on the sort of library jobs where you have to talk to people. I, to coin an interview cliché, like meeting people. No, really. It frustrates me when I'm surrounded by people who are barely literate, but a) if they were different people every day then at least there'd be a bit of variety, and b) I'm slightly more forgiving of a lack of functional literacy when it doesn't come from PEOPLE WHO HAVE FVCKING DOCTORATES AND GET PAID FOUR TIMES MY SALARY.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: April 19th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
There is definitely sense in taking on whatever meaningless job you can find that lets you live in the manner of your choice while providing you the greatest quantity and quality of time outside that meaningless work, if you can fill the remaining hours with something that has meaning for you.

It's not the only way to do things, but it works for a lot of people.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can certainly see the sense in that (and it's what I've been doing since graduating), and I'm definitely a work-to-live (rather than live-to-work) person ... but at the moment I feel that "the remaining hours" are too few, and I resent having to fill a third of my life with something which is meaningless and not even that interesting, when I believe that there exist jobs I could do which might offer, if not 'meaning', then at least more interest or some kind of job satisfaction.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: April 19th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Would it make it easier to think about your work as a fifth of your life, rather than a third? Granted, it's a third of a day per day, but only on five-sevenths of days, and you get holidays in addition to that. When you take dinner breaks and commuting into mind, it's possibly more like two-ninths than a fifth, admittedly.

None of this changes the facts but it might make it easier to think about.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Would it make it easier to think about your work as a fifth of your life, rather than a third?

In a word, no.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

In more than a word...

Sorry, my reply to this was (on re-reading) more curt than I intended. I see your point, but to be honest, if I have to keep on recalculating the exact proportion of my life that's being wasted with this stuff to try to make it bearable, then something is Not Good. If you were in a relationship that constantly frustrated you and you could only make it bearable by reminding yourself that you didn't have to be with that person all the time, you'd end that relationship. Wouldn't you?

I mean, are we just arguing from different axioms here? I guess the problem is that I believe I should be able to spend more than 1/3 of my life doing things that are both useful to other people and interesting (or at least not frustrating-to-the-point-of-tears) to me. (I mean, I do have quite a lot of interests, and there are quite a lot of things which are useful to somebody, so you'd think there'd be a fair amount of overlap.) BTW that's "should" in the sense that I believe (and I admit that to some extent it's an article of faith) that in the current cultural context it should be possible; I don't have a sense of entitlement about it. I don't really think I'm "entitled" to anything but what I can carve out for myself without harming others. In that sense, I guess I think I'm entitled to try, or at least not actually morally obliged to just say "Oh well, I got unlucky, here's to another 50 years of boredom followed by death" [no Larkin quotes required at this juncture, please].

If that makes sense.

Perhaps I should have stuck with the original response. :-/
(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?

I was thinking of the end of "Dockery and Son". Beckett is always apposite.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: April 19th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: In more than a word...

Oh, certainly clearly explained. I'm just illuminating one possible approach, which (although I doubt it would be many people's first choice) works for a lot of people. I'm carefully not saying whether or not it applies to me. :-)

I've definitely had at least one job in the past which was so much fun to work on and was a project that appealed to all the workers to the extent that we all kept working on it for months after the money ran out, and can certainly see the appeal of trying for a job which could be something you loved rather than merely saw the good side of. It's certainly nice if you can manage it, but it's not essential.
claerwen From: claerwen Date: April 19th, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
You could try having the Careers Service vacancy system email you the "For more than profit"/"Arts, media and publishing" etc jobs in Cambridge every week and see what comes up - occasionally there's something that looks intriguing and a good proportion of jobs are plausible for people our age and not exclusively people who graduated last year. It's here but you need to register first. Sorry if this just looks like a naff plug - occasionally there is good stuff worth knowing about.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 19th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not a naff plug at all, but a jolly good idea -- I'm embarrassed to admit that it didn't even occur to me that I'd be able to use the Careers Service as a member of University staff, I've always thought of Careers Services as a student thing! I've now registered & will have a look. Thank you!
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: April 19th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't fill in the poll, because I don't know enough of the specifics to comment in that way. But I do think you should be able to find something to do which is more fulfilling and less frustrating that your current job, and that it's worth some risks/sacrifices to get there.

I will be watching with interest, as these discussions are all relevant to me too. What on earth am I going to do with this English degree when I've got it? :)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: April 19th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't fill in the poll. I have a fvcking doctorate and don't get all that much dosh but I haven't thought of trying it out on eBay yet!

I *will*give this some good thinking. In the meantime I am minded of a favourite Dilbert cartoon:

I am Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light, and I am here to punish you.
- Oh, yes?
Yes. You have to choose one of these horrible fates: either you will be paid very well and see your work burned before your eyes at the end of every day, or you will do meaningful work you enjoy but be paid a pittance for it.
- Wow! Either of those sound better than my present job! [peers over cublicle wall] Hey, Wally? You might want to get in on this.
livredor From: livredor Date: April 19th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're thinking of training as a librarian, it's probably worth talking to loreid. I think she's fairly similar to you in personality and the things she thinks are cool about the job are probably a lot of the same things that would appeal to you. I know you already have librarian contacts, but I figure more can't hurt and I think you'd get on with loreid in general anyway.

The first answer that sprang to mind when I saw your poll I decided was too dangerous to suggest. So rather than offending you, I'll go with the librarian option.
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