For those who don't know already, I work in the computer center at a public library. I've been there for nearly 15 years. I loved working there, not only because I could be around all those lovely books but because I believe in the public library system and in the importance of non-profit institutions. About 1 1/2 years ago we had a management change and things have been run more like a soulless corporation than a non-profit. While some rules in the past were enforced very rarely, everything changed into a ridiculous draconian thing. Even when a disabled worker asked for simple accommodations like starting a half hour later (generally the place is open 9 am-9 pm, so there's wiggle room for scheduling shifts) not only was she denied but she was written up for insubordination. Managers who were abusive verbally (and one time even physically) were praised and got even more free reign to be assholes. People started either leaving or were getting fired for nitpicky shit and sometimes even after a manager lied about them. The new director (who used to be a regular librarian like everyone else and was even considered a friend by me and some other coworkers) always took the manager's side even though as a former plebe she had to have known that the employee deserved to be listened to as well. Very few people (at most we're talking 2 out of 40+) working at this library were the type that would be total slackers who were incompetent and mean to the patrons. The atmosphere has gone from a non-profit with dedicated workers who were friends and like second family to each other to some corporate/retail-feeling place where the managers treat the employees as sub-human and the employees are horribly demoralized and see it only as a job. I was the most loyal and least cynical of the people left so if I'm bitter as hell now that gives an idea of what it's like.

So, getting back to the main topic, at a performance review I was weak in certain areas and I fully admit it. There was a period of 6 months before the follow up and while I had improved, my manager told me of areas were I still wasn't up to snuff and we brainstormed ways to make that even better and that there would be another follow up in December or January. I worked hard as hell in that time. My manager gave me positive reinforcement for many things and gave me no hint that I was doing anything wrong. And whatever I had left to improve was nitpicky stuff, not like as if I punched a patron or anything. So on Tuesday, the director wants to talk to me (and my manager had left like a half hour before this because she was a coward) and I'm told I'm still not good enough and I was gonzo. Remember, I have in writing that there would be a follow up to the previous meeting. Also, she didn't go into the areas where I was supposedly still incompetent and when I asked for that in writing, she gave a half hearted answer about supplying that sometime. I ain't holding my breath here. So, after nearly 15 years of dedication and even though I was improving by leaps and bounds, I suddenly was a shitty employee. Nice.

I shouldn't be too shocked about this. I think that the library is trying to get rid of my entire department. A coworker of mine who's been there 20+ years was suddenly told in December that her position was liquidated and her hours were being used to create a clerical position in the computer department. Now, I have to give a super quick lesson about the pay hierarchy in libraries. At the top you have librarians, who have a Masters in Library Science. They get paid the most, and you can't be a director if you don't have an MLS. Next you have para-professionals, who don't have the degree but are highly skilled and knowledgeable. Next is clerical, which usually is a little about minimum wage and finally there are the shelvers, who are minimum wage. My coworker was a para-professional, just like I and the others. So she had the option to either apply for the clerical job (which paid far less and she wasn't guaranteed the job if she applied) or just no longer work by the end of December. She took the latter, and is sorta retired for now. Right now there's only one other para-professional in this department, and I fear she may be next. The only real question is are they going to do some fuckery to get rid of her job position like they did with my other coworker, or suddenly find a thousand nitpicky faults as they did with me. Generally I'm not into conspiracy theories, but given what they did to her and to me, I wonder. Also, even though I was being fired for not being good enough, the director offered to be a rec if I was pursing anything writing related (as you may have guessed I was a writing major) and said she won't oppose unemployment benefits. But yeah, I was a crap employee.

Advertisement

I'm kinda glad to be gone because the environment was clearly becoming toxic, but I'm really sad seeing a place I love being changed for the worst. The patrons will suffer the most from this. But really, I shoulda known since the day I, the remaining coworker, and my manager were talking about our Hogwarts House standings. The coworker and I are Hufflepuffs, and the manager was Slytherin. I think the director is Dolores Umbridge. Or maybe they're HYDRA. One of the two.