For weeks now I’ve had a lump in my throat like the kind you get when you’re about to cry. But this one would come at seemingly random times as I was washing the dishes, sitting by the pool, trying to fall asleep. In those breaks from my hectic life, I’d be forced to remember, “Oh yeah, I’m losing my job at the end of June.”
It would fit my ironic existence that I moved to an exempt job no, fought for the reduced-hours position and then that category of job was slated for elimination for the first time in twenty years. This isn’t the fault of My Fair County, but of my own unlucky choices. I’ve known since October when the economy tanked that my position would be cut. Since February I’ve been sure that there wouldn’t be another position for me to take since all jobs were frozen. Since April’s budget decision, it’s been a matter of time.
Through this school year of waiting, I’ve been pretty much okay. My salary is helpful for future savings, but not absolutely necessary. For months I’ve looked at the end of my job as a sabbatical where I could finally take a break, enjoy my family, write the book, and focus on KidLitosphere business. But today is my last day of work, and all I can feel is the loss.
It doesn’t help that I had found the perfect branch. It was built a year ago, and features huge windows overlooking the trees, thousands of freshly ordered books, and that new library smell. The library is fairly quiet, but my programs were always full. My position put me low on status, but my opinions were respected. The staff was wonderful, the five-minute commute amazing, and the pace perfect. And while I love the idea of not working in the summer, I’ll deeply miss the chance to give kids great books when they finally have time to ask me for suggestions.
Also, it’s hitting me that however much I’ve talked about going back to the library when jobs open up, it may not happen. The current staffing norm for new employees wouldn’t allow me to take a job unless I’d work every weekend. I’ve grown too attached to my branch to really consider another. Even the idea that jobs will open up is optimistic when an article in today’s paper shows the county will probably face an additional seven percent budget loss in this fiscal year. I’m realizing that I may not be able to go back.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that my situation will change. Maybe my writing will find a publishing home. Maybe I’ll contract out my services for a newsletter or expand my involvement in PBS or coordinate conferences for cash. Maybe my recycled jewelry hobby can turn a little profit in the holiday season. Maybe I can devote the time to my talented daughters who have missed opportunities with my mixed-up schedule. I may not want to go back.
Right now it doesn’t matter if I am not able to go back or don’t want to go back or even if eventually I can go back. Today it’s about losing something. A job, certainly, but also a refuge from a busy home life and an identity of what I do. It almost makes me cry, and it’s the almost that’s leaving the lump in my throat. I’m ready to lose that lump too.
Tomorrow I’m heading to the beach with my girls to see family and sit by the shore. I need to clear my head in the ocean breeze and let the salty sea absorb any tears. I need to have fun and sunshine. I need to reflect and regroup. I’ll read email, but otherwise will be offline for the week. That’s what I’m going to do for me.
When I get back, I’ll be getting KidLitosphere Central updated as it suffered from my Three Months of Busyness. I want those of you going to ALA to feel good about promoting it as a way to access our thriving community. I’ll also be pouring my energy into the sessions and registration for the KidLitosphere Conference. If you already know you’re coming, I’d encourage you to make reservations at the Sheraton in Crystal City. I can basically tell you that the conference fee will be about $100 and will include the conference sessions, along with breakfast and the nice dinner on Saturday, October 17th. I’ll be working on pulling together the sessions and presenters, but last year’s conference will give you an idea of what to expect. I’m thinking about a Library of Congress field trip on that Friday, for those who’d be interested. I’m looking at Politics and Prose for something on Sunday. Both of those outings are optional. Honestly, the specific sessions and field trips are almost irrelevant, as you should come to the conference if you are looking for an opportunity to meet/reconnect/network with the kidlitosphere bloggers/authors/publishers you know online while using some of the time to learn/collaborate/discuss issues.
Why am I giving you a preview of that conference information when I just said that I’m going to tackle it next week? Well, for two reasons. First, I want to end this post on a positive, forward-thinking note. Second, I know you, my blogging friends, may want to do something to help me feel better and nothing would be more helpful than getting the ball rolling for the conference. So mark your calendar, make reservations, and let me know you’re coming. One door closes, another opens.