I work in a library. I am not and have no interest in becoming a librarian. I do not mind working in a library. It is quiet and there is not much pressure. Some days are busier than others, true. On the whole, though, things are pretty laid back, compared to, say, a newsroom. Or the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Or the Battle of Bunker Hill. Or university.
In high school, there was so much pressure to figure out what I wanted to do, largely so I could choose the appropriate college. I somehow made that decision, and then, in college, there was pressure to narrow down what I wanted to do, so that I could basically back up into the elastic band of the classroom, which would fling me in that direction come graduation. Then I graduated. At first, I was worried the elastic band had broken. Then I realized that metaphors are easily manipulated and are nothing to worry about. A more satisfying comparison is to say the band lost its elasticity, much like my underwear has lately. When the band was released, I did not fly forward. I just stood there. Am I saying that my education let me down, or failed to sharpen my focus? I am saying yes to both. I am also implying that my underwear will not stay up.
And now I am out of college and working in a library, and the word “career” gives me gas. I gave myself gas by typing it just now. But as I don’t fancy a library “career”, I do not feel compelled to excel in my work, and so the pressure is off. However, the result of this is that I perform my job very well. The things I would like to try, however, put inordinate pressure on me which makes me foul up or stops me altogether. Or perhaps I only perceive it that way.
Earlier this year, I applied for positions at a number of dot-coms. Of the ones that had the courtesy to get back to me after interviews, all cited a lack of experience on my part as the chief reason for hiring someone else. Now, they all differed in the details of what sort of experience I lack. Some said I had sufficient experience in task x but not in task y, and some would say the opposite. The positions were all similar, requiring similar skills and experience. The only way I can explain the discrepancy is by saying they are both wrong, that I have sufficient experience in neither task x nor task y, because I have been trying to do both while also maintaining an interest in tasks a, b, m, p, and q.
So continues the tragic life of a misunderstood genius.