Synchronicity

 

I’m here and I’m trying to make the most out of my day being here. So I’m searching for jobs online, and thinking so hard about what my next move is or can be, I’m thinking so hard I’m tired of thinking. None of these job openings are exciting me in the least so I just can’t focus. I keep thinking about a word I’ve been hearing these days.

Synchronicity.

I’ve been hearing this word lately, for a couple of reasons. But more so because yesterday we talked about it in a class that I started sitting in on two weeks ago. The reason that I’m there in the first place IS due to a meaningful coincidence to begin with. A little while back I said I needed a teacher, OK well I got one, literally. My favorite professor that I took about 13 years ago when I was in Junior College. I had just been talking to a student the day prior about his class and he is now teaching where I work and came into the library for some tech help. Long story short I told him I remembered him, and that I liked his class and he told me to come to his new class that he was teaching, Psychology of Religion. So despite the fact that I haven’t sat in a classroom in about a decade, and that I’m really not enrolled and I don’t take the tests or anything and people still look at me funny when I don’t sign in on the role sheet, I’m technically kind of sort of back in school. And it’s amazing. Yesterday we talked a lot about this word, and how when you start to notice these significant coincidences you are better able to follow them, leading to different paths that were otherwise not noticed or understood before. Are they coincidences or signs, or just the “universe” or “god” or “intuition” pushing us in a direction? The only thing that is important is what they mean to us, or how we interpret them. You are the observer, the experienc-or, the blank canvas that gets projected upon so you have to take that into consideration. Then we went down the spiral with Hinduism and the suffering and the cause of suffering and the YOU ARE IT notion of life, and by the end of the three hour class you get it, and lose it about 5 different times and end up in that cloudy brain haze that only happens when you start thinking about reality and how absurd it is and death and it feels so real and fake at the same time. He ended with a story about ex-president Reagan that I’m still thinking about today.

Apparently Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer’s at the end of his life. I don’t know much about Reagan, but after hearing this, and reading the 60 minutes article I just pulled up when I googled just now, I think I may have to add his bio to my list of things to read for the century, he sounds like a pretty interesting cat. Sometimes there is an innate knowledge in us, something beyond our own minds and our own comprehension, these things that draw us to people, places, occupations, etc. Familiarity that we know somewhere deep within ourselves that we can’t explain with logic, or cerebral thought. I know it because I’ve felt it before. I think it’s probably true for everybody. Here’s the story as told by the author:

“I think the single most shattering story I heard about him was the fact that a friend put a white ceramic model of the White House into this fish tank that he had in his office. And he took it home in his fist,” adds Morris. “And when Nancy pried his fingers open and said, ‘What’s that, Ronnie?’ And there’s this little, wet White House in his hand. He said, ‘I don’t know, but I think it’s something to do with me.'” (Morris, 2004)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/morris-reagan-still-a-mystery/

I love learning, it’s kind of the best. I’m think that I’m going to get a lot out of this class this semester. I need to keep making professor friends so I can sit in their classes for free. I also got some random email from a life coach that just happens to work in the same building s as my deceased therapist who sent out a mass email to women leaders in academia “aka my work email at the University” about carving out a meaningful life. She offered a free consultation. So you know what I thought, I’ll take it and I made an appointment with her in about a week. I don’t know what to expect there seeing as I have no idea what happens in a life coaching session, but again, synchronicity, so I took it.

Brick Walls

So far this year….

I have applied for 21 full time jobs (and probably a few part times). I know the number because I keep the applications organized on my flash drive. Most of them take over an hour to complete and include things like, cover letters, reference lists, diversity statements and supplementary questions. I’ve applied in California, Colorado, Washington, Montana, Indiana, Nevada, Utah, and maybe some others that I have missed. I have done and redone my cover letter and resume, making adjustments on the advice of friends and colleagues. As of today I have had 0 interviews. All I seem to get is the same old email from the automated Human Resources system that says hey thanks, but no thanks. Sometimes it can feel like a glaring reminder that tells you that you are not good enough to even sit down and talk to for 10 minutes. Sigh. I feel like I’m just running my head over and over into a brick wall. Over and over, brick, wall, face.

I’ve been upset about it, frustrated, annoyed, deflated, and confused. You can’t imagine what this much rejection on the job front both externally and within a place you already work at can do to your self-esteem. I try not to take it personal and remind myself that I’m still pretty new in the game, and that it’s just a piece of paper they see not really you, and there’s so many applicants. And then there’s the sympathy I get from time to time… “Man’s rejection is god’s protection”… “Be patient and the right job will come along at the right time”… I know. I know. There are some bullets I’ve dodged, and I know there are places that I don’t belong and that would literally murder my soul if I worked there but I could just use some good news about something in terms of moving forward in my career?

Many days I just want to be a child about it, throw myself on the floor and beat my fists saying it’s just not fair!!!! It’s not like I’m applying to be a beer taster that makes 100K a year or something like that. I just want to be a real life full time librarian with 1 job and health insurance, working at a place that I like whose values align with my own where I can be creative and useful and contribute to growth in a positive direction. I guess maybe that is asking a lot? Something that may hinder me is my inability to be fake on some levels, but there’s got to be some sort of professional puzzle piece that fits with my personality and beliefs.

Either way during times like this, where I feel stuck in a life situation I always ask myself. What am I not seeing here? What have I not learned in order to level up? Certain things need to happen in the universe and internally inside me in order to unlock doors and make it to the next stage in my life and I know this. So either something is not lining up with me, or I’m just trying all of the wrong doors. Maybe I’m wrong to think that in life the right things will just, well, work. Do I even have a key with me, what is it made of? Even if I have one am I just trying the doors that can only open with a fingerprint scan? Are the doors even there or are they a figment of my imagination? Is there a world without doors I can create? It all gets very confusing at times and I think on this one I’m just going to have to surrender for now, accepting my temporary fate in the tech dungeon. (Because life is the most temporary thing).

 On the flip side, check out this Marlon Brando meme I just found. Sums up how I feel AND there’s a cat in it. Plus it’s kind of an inspirational palate cleanser to my feeling sorry for myself rant. Thanks interwebz!!! When I feel like this, I just remember that I was alive in the age of memes. And that helps a bit.

brando

…Scene Missing…

I actually read the news stories on snap chat. Yes those ones from Buzzfeed and Cosmo, it’s my guilty pleasure. I came across one the other day that a young woman wrote about her issues with blackout drinking. She mentioned a book called Blackout: Remembering the things I drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola. Lucky for me we had it at the public library, I did have to call the other branch to get it transferred which was slightly embarrassing, but whatever. It’s like HI coworker can you transfer me a book about being a blackout drunk? Oh, yes a friend of mine was asking for it, no no, it’s has no relevance in my life at all. I swear I’ve never had this problem…

Actually I have. For a solid decade I operated under the guise of being a blackout drinker, often missing hours of my life at a time. From the outside you would have probably never known it. I was successful at any job I chose, put myself through college and grad school, was in long term relationships, and had a bunch of friends and drinking partners. I was functioning as far as anybody who didn’t know me could tell, but it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Anybody who has had blackouts can relate to this book, whether it was only that once or if it happened on a weekly basis. Hepola is a journalist that spent most of her 20’s in this same hazy booze cloud. She recounts sex with strangers, broken friendships and relationships, nearly burning her own apartment down passing out in the middle of making food, and finding herself in other interesting situations that I won’t give away. Alcoholism can be sad and depressing, nobody ever becomes an addict because they are just wildly happy with themselves. This book could have ended up being really heavy, but it wasn’t. Hepola has a knack for self-realization, and for describing what the bottom of the barrel feels like. I know because I’ve been at that bottom so many times before. It’s only fun, until it’s not fun anymore, then you just keep doing it for years after it became not fun, then you kind of want to die, then you realize that you ARE dead inside,  then you either stop or actually physically die. In the end when she does decides to really stop this time, she kept me laughing with stories about how life and relationships work (or don’t work) after drinking. When your life revolves around it for so long, it can feel like there is no other way to live. Nothing can be fun without being drunk right? It actually can be.

It’s really inspiring, and funny, and honest. Some parts you cringe, some parts you cry and some parts just make you downright laugh out loud. She explores feminism and rape culture, and outlines her first experiences with alcohol and sex and weaves them together to try to understand the motives for her behavior and addiction. I couldn’t put it down a read straight through in 2 days. I love reads like this.

Here’s a New York Times review that probably says it better than I can:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/books/review-sarah-hepolas-blackout-on-the-darkness-that-took-over-her-life.html?_r=0

After that If you are still in the mood for blackout drinkers and sensitive adolescents try out:

Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins. I know it’s a trendy pop read, and they are currently making a movie out of it. But the main character is also a blackout drunk, and much of the book she is trying to piece one particular night together. The author must have some experience with this because she writes the blackout experience so well. Here’s the review on that one:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/books/the-girl-on-the-train-by-paula-hawkins.html

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a Young Adult read. But, if you were ever a girl in high school the main character is astoundingly relatable. Be careful though, this one might dig up some old wounds you thought were long gone.

http://www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/

The only way you can solve a problem is by turning to face it. Sometimes this takes years, lifetimes to break down the things in our psyche that hold us back and keep us from being our best selves. It’s scary, and maybe one of the scarier parts of being a human is that we often feel alone. But we are not. The human experience can be so common. You can find friends in books and stories as well as the people around you to help you heal, it’s a beautiful thing.

 

 

You can’t like.. own a potato man..

Today I was sending a business student an example of a report from our Euromonitor database. By chance I just happened to pull the most recent report for consumer lifestyles in the United States. Of course you know I had to read it, at least a bit.

Something jumped out at me, as it usually does:

The Sharing Economy: young Americans mantra ‘access not ownership’ shaping future consumer landscape:

Among the characteristics of young consumers cited in the recent Goldman Sachs report Millennials: Coming of Age was that ―Millennials have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music and luxury goods. Instead, they‘re turning to a new set of services that provide access to products without the burdens of ownership, giving rise to what’s being called a sharing economy.

Young consumers ‘widespread adoption of this concept was supported by a separate report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers which said ―Communism may have failed to establish collective property ownership, but it has evolved to meet capitalism halfway in the sharing economy. Thanks to the mobile revolution and a confluence of other factors—35 years of wage stagnation, entrepreneurs challenging ossified business models, the appeal of convenience, environmental concerns, and affinity for social interaction—access has become the new ownership, at least from a consumer perspective’. The report went on to identify five sectors that it believed would see significant revenue gains in coming years as a result of this new approach: travel, car-sharing, finance, staffing and audio/video streaming.

Euromonitor International. (2015, July). Consumer Lifestyles in the US.  Retrieved from Euromonitor Passport database.

Millennials are the largest consumer group in history taking over the baby boomers as the most targeted generation to advertise towards. Many of us are in our 30’s, are marrying and having children much later in life and have disposable income since we all live at home. Well, not all of us have that luxury, but I thought I’d make the joke.  Personally, I love the idea of a sharing economy. I’m a librarian, we believe in collaboration not competition and that we ought to share resources and knowledge with one another. I know from a business standpoint that doesn’t make much sense, but I think there are a lot of like-minded young people out there that see how big business and the insanely greedy quest for profits at the expense of the decency of our race as humans has really gotten amazingly and sadly out of hand. Martin Shkreli, if you don’t know who he is, google it. A major plus for me in a sharing economy is that sharing teaches us how to reconnect with people and respect one another. I stayed at an Air BnB once with the nicest older couple who owned the home. It was a room in the house. Some may think, wow, people let complete strangers sleep in the same house as them. That goes both ways you know they are probably as likely to murder me as I am to murder them. But yeah, it was great, they talked with us, told us of some good spots to eat, offered me a beer when my friend passed out and I wasn’t ready to go to bed, and offered to make us breakfast and mimosas the next day. We talked about what we did, where their kids went to college, and I made sure to clean up after myself, make the bed and leave the room in as good of shape as I found it. It’s like a Montessori School for adults where you can learn how to respect other people and care for them and their homes. I’ve never felt uncomfortable using an Uber, but let me tell you I’ve for sure been on the shady end of many yellow cab rides.

It may sound mean but sometimes I cringe when I realize I’m a millennial. Maybe because I’m on the older end of the generation. Yes, I remember dial up modems, and I remember when cell phones first became a thing. But I also endured the recession hitting the same year I graduated from college and feel the effects of it to this day almost 10 years later (cough, cough can’t find a full time job). I don’t know if after the horrors I saw when the housing market crashed if I’ll ever want to buy a house. I’m not an economist. I don’t crunch numbers or analyze financial forecasts, I couldn’t even tell you how the stock market is doing, but sometimes it’s interesting to think about how the power of purchase persuades a market and changes society as a whole. I hope that we can continue as consumers to sway the market towards shared services, and companies and products that are kind both to people and the environment. Because really, we give them the power.

Never stop failing

Today a patron came up to me and handed me the armrest of chair #8. I said thank you. And walked over and re-taped it back on with our rainbow duct tape. This is how I started my day. I have been spending most of my tech time writing. Which has been really nice, but yesterday I caught up on the cataloging so I don’t feel guilty. Today is day 8 of work in a row, I’m glad I get tacos tonight and a day off tomorrow.

I had a late instruction last night at the University, after working a full day here at the public. I picked it up since the usual librarian couldn’t make it. I don’t know if it was the best idea because after working a full day at the reference desk I was not really at my best. Well I got thrown off for a couple of reasons. 1 the class wasn’t where it was supposed to be and I wasn’t familiar with where it got relocated to so I was a bit frazzled and 10 minutes late. 2. The instructor was super nice, but for some reason I just got so terribly nervous. I mean I’ve done this plenty of times now, but something about the situation and I felt like I couldn’t even get my words out. The room was really big, and the students were not really responsive. It was like being a stand-up comedian who was not getting any laughs. I only talked for about 25 minutes and nobody seemed into it. At. All. I pretty much dashed out of there and forgot my notepad, which the instructor kindly returned. But all in all I guess I was a bit mortified by the whole ordeal. A little like the nightmare where you realize you came to school and forgot to wear pants…

I called my friend kind of in a state after. I have a tendency to make a bigger deal out of things than they are sometimes. She talked me down, reminded me nobody really cares and they were all probably tired from work too and having to take a night class. That nobody thought I was stupid or struggling and even if they did it didn’t matter. I still couldn’t help feeling like a bit of a failure. This reminded me of a Michael Jordan quote I heard in a dharma talk:

7782-michael-jordan-quote-on-failure

 

Isn’t that refreshing? OK now I feel better. If Michael Jordan can suck sometimes than so can I.

Picture credit: http://quoteaddicts.com/topic/michael-jordan-quote-about-failure/

Textbook Time

No. We don’t have your textbooks.

I forget the whole first week of school students come to libraries thinking that we carry all the textbooks they will need for their classes. I’m not sure people really know how libraries work. Ok well they don’t, at all. First of all, if we HAD textbook materials there is no way we can afford to update them every year when the new edition required for you classes comes out? Second of all, do you think that a public library somehow has the syllabi for every single college course in a 20 mile radius and that we have them in time (and have the money) to purchase these books so students can check them out and have the book for an entire semester which is how long they would need them? And then even if by some really strange chance in hell we DID do any of that do you think that we would have enough copies for each student in your class, or are you just so super smart that you think we have one copy here with your name on it and nobody else has asked? People think. You are in college. Think. Think about systems, and how they work, and how they are funded, critically think about the way the world is structured for a second. I always ask them when they come to the public. What school do you go to? Have you been to their library yet? No? Ok, well maybe you should give it a try, as the college library will be more closely tailored to the needs of your individual school’s classes and curriculum. Even if they don’t have the book for check out sometimes they have a book on permanent reserve, which means you can use it in the library for a certain amount of time, say 2 hours. *College student’s eyes glaze over*

Sigh.

I get it. I went to school. For like 8 years. Sadly no I am not a doctor after all that time but I have had to buy a bunch of textbooks. It’s life. It sucks, and the publishers are annoying for updating editions and making so little changes but making it so you can’t buy used and you spend over 100$ on a biology book you may not even crack open. But we don’t have your textbooks here, I know it’s just so hard to believe.

It’s the same at the college, although they are a little bit more apt to find a copy on reserve (not every teacher puts a book on reserve it’s up to them to bring their own copy to us) OR there are very few but some classes we have the book on reserve. We do that for common classes that don’t change the book or edition often. You may find it in LINK+ and be able to borrow an older edition usually from another college, but even there you can only check it out for a month, max. Buy the book, or ebook. If you buy the actual book, think ahead, so you have it in time for your class. Yes, this is your responsibility. Then you can sell back the book at the end of the semester. Yeah, you may only get half or less, but it’s something. So that’s really what the whole first week or so consists of.

There is an upside to the coin of being in the tech cave. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse. Today I’m making it a blessing and zoning out on a short story. It’s actual nice to write in here. Even though it’s busy it’s kind of taking me out of it which is nice. My 2 normal saviors aren’t here to take some of my hours, but it’s been a literal zoo here since school started. So I guess I’m not that sad about missing reference. I just pray nobody gives me shit in here tonight. It’s rare, but it happens sometimes. My arch nemesis just walked out after being in here for over an hour. This is good, I can breathe again. However another frenemy is in the back row making eyes at me anytime somebody peeps. I can handle her today though. I just swivel my computer monitor up blocking my face from hers. There. Now she doesn’t exist. Its super packed in here right now. All 21 computers are occupied. I think maybe because yesterday was a holiday, and people had to go without use of their public interwebz and they must be making up for it today.