Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm Looking for a Hard Headed Woman*

Confession that probably isn't at all shocking to you, my faithful readers: I hate it when I look like I don't know what I'm doing. Generally I avoid situations in which I have to depend on someone else or let everyone know that I am clueless. And I'm not going to lie--I don't know what I'm doing most of the time (that's life, isn't it?) and this creates issues. In my non-work related life, this all stems from my issues with vulnerability. I hate being vulnerable, I hate asking for help (and if I do because I trust you, I will feel guilty and say "sorry. thank you. sorry. thank you." until you want to kick me.), and I hate looking foolish on accident. (If I'm *trying* to look foolish, then that's a whole 'nother story) This is why I quit piano and quit clarinet: I wasn't good at it automatically and I couldn't handle it. In my professional life, I want to look as professional as possible and in my crazy little mind, that means never asking for help and always knowing what to do/say. (I know this is ridiculous and dangerous.) If I'm confused, I don't say, "Could you explain that to me?" or "I don't know what this means. Do you? Could you tell me?" or even better, "I've never done this before. Help." I pretend I know what I'm talking about and figure it out as I go along. This definitely creates issues but so far, I've survived. Perhaps even thrived??

Until now (dun dun dun). I won't go into tons of detail (I"m sure this blog is going to get me dooced at some point...) but the library is going through lots of changes right now. We're planning for the future, for a new building to be dooce-worthily specific, and because I'm the only one in my department, somehow I am supposed to meet with committees and discuss plans. These plans have been on the table for the last 10 years so everyone knows what they're talking about except me. It is horrid. Absolutely, panic-attackingly horrid. It's making me crazy.

There are two parts to the crazy... well, three if you include the fact that I've figured out how many parts of the crazy exist. Gah. Anyway. So. Crazy I: Too much responsibility now rests on my weak little unprofessional can't ask for help shoulders. There are architects and committee members who are asking for my opinion and then taking it into consideration to build a building which is supposed to serve this community for the next 10 years at least. What in crap's name do I know? I'm some little straight out of grad school twerp! Crazy II: This new building situation is like a challenge sent from God (or from the devil... how knows.) The girl who hates it when it looks like she knows nothing, knows nothing and is being called on it! Constantly!

Example of the crazy: Two weeks ago, I suggested window seats while looking at the library plans. Window seats are a lovely place for a child to read! For families to sit together! For conserving space! Today, there's a blueprint with window seats! Oh god, they took my opinion and used it! Then, a board member tells me that my idea is basically crap because window seats are uncomfortable in reality and no one sits on them, except maybe to take naps on them and we do not want that happening in the library. She visited libraries with the library design board three years ago and she talked to library designers and they would agree with her. I then have to say "That's a good point. I hadn't thought about that." Now I know that my opinions are worthwhile and that I do know a thing or two. I went to library school and at some point in some class I took, I'm pretty sure we talked about library architecture for children's spaces. But I also know that I am new to this process and don't know a damn thing about actually doing any of it. I'm having issues finding the happy medium between expressing my opinions and trusting them and not just making shit up so I stop looking green around the ears.

Okay, phew, I'm glad that's out. I'm not really asking for advice (see, can't ask for help! :))--I just needed to write this all down. Of course, if you have advice, I'm all ears...

*Is it bad that I really want some guy to fall in love with me and equate me with this song? And also perhaps She's Always a Woman to Me by Billy Joel? Yeah, probably.


At 2:40 PM, Blogger Alissa said...

There are tons of resources out there on designing library spaces... get some and take a look. Also- I know that the Waukesha public library redid their whole building just before I left Carroll- email their Chidren's librarian and ask her what s/he regrets or wishes she did but didn't do.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger Librarian Girl said...

I think Hard-Headed Woman is a nice song.

And as for advice...I got nothin. Exciting that you'll be getting a new building to work in though!

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Window seats seem like a great idea to me. I guess I can see her point as well, but why can't something be done to make them comfortable, like cushions? Don't you have some nice retired person in your cute little community that would love to make some cushions and get a little plaque on the wall or something to give him/her credit?

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous leah said...

Every "young professional" I know thinks they are a fraud at times, me included. If you didn't question what you were doing, or feel worried about learning more and doing better, you would be one of those asshole douche bag jerkfaces that we make fun of.

That being said, I'll bet you *do* know what you're doing and the new children's space will be rad!

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous marty said...

I agree with Leah - I totally thought I was a fraud when I was just starting out. You'll do great. This sounds retarded, but do the best you can and fake it until you make it.

And I think window seats would be cook too!


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