I’m really amazed at how my previous job(s) as a broadcast journalist and a 9-1-1 emergency medical dispatcher keep seeping back into my current life as a (okay, not-so-mild-mannered) librarian. I am currently taking the 3 week Master Gardener course here at UAF, and hope to learn enough to maintain my own gardens when I buy a house. I’m also hoping to help out a lot of places that need willing hands to weed, plant and landscape their properties. I got a start at this while I was in Walla Walla, working for my friend Becky. BUT, Interior Alaska, as in all things, is just a WEE bit different in the effort it takes to grow things here. The classes are given over in the U Park building, which is the building that also holds classes for Allied Health. So, three times a week, during breaks, we pass lots of young buzzcut soon-to-be EMTs and Firefighters in the hallway. The display window in the hallway holds recuitment posters and older O2 bottles, helmets, and rapelling ropes. During a break a couple of days ago, I meandered down the hallway to get a soda, and I could see through the door in the other classroom that the guys (and the women) were watching one of those videos about CPR, or perimeter control, or any of the number of videos that I had to watch all those (good grief! As long at 17!) years ago.
Then it hit me…
Only in what seems like “a couple of years ago”, *I* was that person in that classroom. But it doesn’t seem that long ago! Even though my last job in 9-1-1 ended in *1999*. The students in the class seems like kids, buuut….*I’m* not that much older!
*Sigh*. I guess that’s your forties in general. You spend the whole decade saying to yourself, “but, it wasn’t that long ago!” and trying to convince yourself that you’re still totally in the know as to what’s most recent and popular. …Even though I don’t even know what the cool words are to describe “popular” now. I know it’s probably not “cool”.
This is not the only way that I think about broadcasting, 9-1-1, and how they help me do my job today. I constantly use what I learned in those careers to deal with difficult people, follow and make policy designed to smoothly offer excellent service to citizens (who sometimes don’t appreciate how hard that is and how lucky they are to have such services), and to act somewhat paranoidly but proactively on the library’s behalf when confronted with a situation that seems strange or threatens to be a bigger concern later. It hardly ever does, but sometimes it’s useful to be able to tell very stressed out people what the policy is, what I expect of them, and what will happen in the future if they do not follow the library’s policy. It’s kind of the same process, just not on the phone, trying to remotely control the scene. I also think, that regardless of the nature of the concern, it’s still a concern, and it still needs to be solved. I’m reminded of that old Bloom County cartoon where Opus anxiously dials 9-1-1 and blurts all these things that he’s seen that just *do not seem right*, (like a very fat woman wearing lime green stretch pants) only to have the operator ask him “Sir, do you have an emergency?”, to which he retorts, “Well, it’s an emergency to *me*!” 😀
Wait, it gets better! When I took this position, guess what area I became a liaison for? Yep! Broadcasting, journalism and communication.
It’s not just me, either! Recently my colleague-library school-friend Drexie told me she had gone back to work – in the nursing area, as a Clinical Data Analyst. She had been a nurse for years before she married, raised a family and went to library school after the kids were mostly grown (or headed that way). Library or hospital, she’s still working with people and patients and their charts, entirely for information purposes, while the patient is still in the hospital. Finally, my mentor-medical librarian-friend Pamela, who had partially retired, went back to school to be certified as an ESL tutor, and took a job as a funeral services / cemetary associate; a job that requires every bit as much empathy, discreet attention, careful listening skills, and concern as ever the medical librarian gig did.
It’s comforting to know that the librarian gig is translate-able to other careers also, if I ever get tired of it and move to the boonies and start a farm or a comic store. Hey, wait; I’m in Fairbanks, AK. The boonies are not that far, actually. 😀
(see pictures of my current digs at work here.)