A Day on the Job

Good tattoo (Photo: bmezine modblog via jasonpuckett.net)

Good tattoo (Photo: bmezine modblog via jasonpuckett.net)

I am responding to the offer at Declutterer to share what one of my days is like. I am changing jobs this week: moving from one library location to another. For the past 3 months, I have been managing both libraries. I thought I would capture one of my busy days before the changeover.

So here is November 26!

5:30-6:30 am – Haul myself out of bed and work out at home on my mini-trampoline and elliptical machine

6:30-7:00 am – Make coffee, eat cereal and catch up on blogs

7:00-8:00 am – Shower and get ready for work; check personal email

8:00-9:00 am – Commute time. I drive Rom to work. He has been listening to a podcast about entropy and he tells me all about it. I continue on to Library #1.

9:00-10:00 am – Prep time. The library opens at 10 so we have the first hour to ourselves. I catch up on email and start cleaning out my file cabinet before the next manager comes  along and inherits 4 drawers of unnecessary paperwork, much of which I inherited from the last manager!

10:00 am – 12 pm – Meeting with next manager to discuss ongoing manager job duties. It sounds very official with planning, staffing, programming, collections, technology and community development. Staff come to find me three times – the first time so I can have a discussion with the plumber about a malfunctioning toilet, the second time to tell a worker which of our window screens needs replacement, and the third time to explain our sound system for a future press conference. Oh, the glamour! Wonder what New Manager is thinking…

12:00-1:15 pm – I am out “on the floor” (in public areas) helping out staff working at the public service desks. There is an altercation among 3 patrons in the computer lab who are all arguing and swearing at each other. They don’t respond when asked to leave. Eventually they start threatening each other, the police are called, and two of the parties leave while the remaining one defends himself to the police.

1:15-2:30 pm – En route to Library # 2, which is near where I live, I go home for lunch and make myself some cheese toast. I resist turning the heat on because I am only home for 40 minutes, but I make myself a big mug of mint tea. I read a few pages of my Book Club book. I decide not to walk to Library # 2 because it is raining buckets, so I take the car.

2:30-5:15 pm – At Library # 2, I visit the children’s reading program. I speak to staff about: (a) setting up an information table at a community fair next week; (b) setting up a meeting with a childcare group that wants to visit regularly; (c) deciding on the set-up and take-down dates of an art exhibit; (d) which library magazines to add to our collection or cancel; (e) moving storage items so staff don’t trip over them; (f) a situation in which one regular teen library visitor is being cyber-bullied by another; and (g) a staff member’s reluctance to use up their vacation time. Nothing too strategic today!

5:15-6:30 pm – It’s Rom’s night to cook but he is taking the bus home and his meal choice is easy, so I make it: a lentil and potato curry. I realize there is no way my nephew will eat this (even I have to admit it looks like greenish paste), so an alternate kid meal is found. They both arrive by 6:30.

6:30-7:00 pm – Supper time with Rom and The Nephew. N had the courage to try the lentil curry and didn’t make a big production over the fact he wasn’t keen on it. Good enough! Next, I did the dishes.

7:00-9:00 pm – N read my Adventure Time comics while Rom watched guitar videos on YouTube. Although I don’t routinely bring my job home, I spent the evening cleaning up electronic files on my work laptop, deleting early versions of documents, trivial information, outdated items and personal stuff. Memo to Self: don’t let this go until the last week of my next job!

9:00-9:30 pm – Reading time and bed time for N

9:30-10:30 pm – Continued with work files; quick blog check-in. Cats annoyed by lack of attention and start misbehaving.

10:30 pm – Read 2 pages of book before falling asleep

Postscript: I usually ask N if he has any homework and he always replies he did it after school. Today I didn’t ask. This morning, I found out from his mom (my sister) that he has a project due – and he had spent the evening at my house reading comic books. Oops!

I look forward to seeing what my days are like when I work in just one library instead of two, with no commute. Am I deluding myself if I think it will be a piece of cake?


  1. I need to take a page from your book and get up early to workout.

  2. I also get up at 5:30 (to be at work by 7) but I’m in bed by 9, usually asleep by 9:30 at the latest. I can’t imagine being up til 10:30! And the thought of calling the police to a library is just so strange to me . . the most rowdy scene I’ve ever witnessed at my local library was some two-year-olds wrestling over a bean bag chair . .

    • Yes, during the week I get 7 hours sleep at best (10:30-5:30) and catch up a little on the weekends. I currently work in an inner city library and the police know us well. We provide daytime shelter to a lot of folks who have nowhere else to go, and who have difficulty getting along with others. Over time they usually adapt to the library’s rules, unless they are truly unable to.

  3. Wow your job sounds wonderful! Im sure things will get on more of an even keel once you get settled into your new library full time. Libraries used to be calm, serene places of learning but now it seems–especially in our urban libraries–that the librarians are called in as social service workers as well. The poor, the homeless, and the mentally ill seem to congregate at libraries and now all kinds of craziness ensues!

  4. I wish I could follow your example and exercise in the morning – but it has never worked for me. And I need to get more sleep.

    I have a suggestion for your new library’s strategic plan (tongue in check): had a drop everything and read time for the staff so they can get to know the collection. Or just for yourself!

    I love how as a manager in public service we deal with the mundane and lowly, what I call dunnies, drains and dickheads. (Dunnies is Australian slang for toilets.) And then we try to be all strategic and focused on our core business – planning how we can do better; all mixed up in our day.

    My mediocre yesterday = getting small graffiti removed, signing a zillion order forms, responding the whinging/complaining parents, chasing reports and nominees for awards and talking about drains. Getting better = talked about work, health and safety issues and had several lengthy phone calls about a worker currently out on workers comp injury. Really good = designed and ordered furntiure and computers with Computer Coordinator for a new computer lab to encourage collaborative learning; talked with staff about rough plans for future library development; met with team that are redeveloping Discipline Policy to be more positive and instructive; spoke on assembly to gee up the kids; visited the senior students camp and played commando in the dark with them. Was another long day. At work by 7.40 and left the camp at 10.15pm, with over an hour’s drive home. Bed by midnight. About to get up, running late will be another long day.

    • Now that is a jam-packed day you’ve had. I trust they aren’t all like that! I can relate to what you describe – it is strange swinging between being strategic and being down with the “dunnies” as you say!

  5. Fiona

    Woah – busy day! I’m amazed, too that you had to call the police! It must be wonderful to decide on programming, collections, technology and community development. I hear the managers at my work constantly shaping directions in those areas and it’s exciting. I think it would be a very rewarding job!

    • I do love my job and I truly believe I picked the right career for me. As you saw, I can get wrapped up in everyday details and lose sight of the big picture, but it all gets done over time. I will try another of these posts when things settle in my new location – thanks so much for the idea!

  6. I loved this – especially as Fiona does something similar to you! I must write out one for me, and today’s a good a day as any, though admittedly, some days are interesting and others are boring!

  7. EcoCatLady

    5:30am!?! Of your own free will?!? That’s cruel and inhuman in my book. Of course when I was still working I usually didn’t get home until after 10pm, and sometimes after 2am, so maybe it’s all a matter of perspective!

    • Yeah, I get about 7 hours of sleep and I think I function pretty well. On the weekends I get up when I like – sometimes I sleep until 7:30, LOL! (I don’t need 9 hours of sleep that often).

      • EcoCatLady

        I guess that’s the thing… I just can’t imagine being able to go to bed and fall asleep early enough to get a reasonable amount of sleep if I got up that early. Midnight is about the earliest I’ve ever been able to fall asleep, and I generally can’t sustain that for more than a day or two, no matter what time I get up… she writes as she looks at the clock and realizes that it’s already 12:40am, and she still has to medicate and give fluids to a cat who currently is refusing to come out from under the recliner. Sigh… maybe I’ll make it to bed by 2 if I’m lucky.

      • I fall asleep at the drop of a hat; it’s the anti-insomnia!

  8. Alice

    That was a busy day! And you have an interesting job! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. I’m an early riser but the thought of exercise in the mornings…..before coffee….?! Anyway you’re so busy (and organised) and I feel very lazy reading all this!

  10. Gemma Ptolemy

    I’m planning on starting to get up early to exercise and following some kind of daily schedule. I don’t have much of a routine since I barely work in a week. Last night I stayed up till 5:30am watching Netflix.

    Also I remember working in the University library and having to tell patrons that our dept doesn’t have magazines like Maxium and Playboy and that they had to go to Special Collections. lol Didn’t happen often but it happened.

    • Well, no need for you to get up THAT early! Funny about the magazines – did Special Collections really carry them? I wonder what faculty ordered them.

      • Gemma Ptolemy

        They did carry them. I was told to send them there if people asked. I’m sure it was to keep tabs on all the pervs. I don’t know how your libraries are but some questionable things happened in our library.

  11. It sounds like a busy day! You guys all seem to be such early risers – I think my day would shock you 🙂 I’m planning to do a post this week though 🙂

  12. Exhausted just reading about your day, how do you do it?

  13. Pingback: A day on the job (as an electrical engineer) – Live To List

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