You are human

20 Feb

Alternately, “Coping with Stress”.

Everyone has bad days.  I certainly have, and they all revolve around disappointment in myself, one way or another.  Being short with a patron because of a headache, or trying to help and having it refused, or not being able to find the answer you know exists in the timeframe you wanted, having to tell the patron you’ll “get back to them”.  All things that can make you feel like you didn’t try hard enough, or that you somehow failed in your job’s responsibilities.

This mindset has the potential to ruin your day, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.  If nothing else, I’ve found one thing is helpful in overcoming the feeling of having a setback or of failure: remind yourself that you are human.  We librarians, like many other professionals, hold ourselves to a high standard of behavior and performance.  So high that we can’t meet them 100% of the time, over decades of working on the job, and in some sort of effort to keep it from ever happening again, we speak harshly to ourselves sometimes as we’re frustrated with our “deficiencies” or “mistakes”.

There will always be someone you can’t help, an answer you don’t know, days when you go to work because you love it even when you’re sick.  It’s human thing.  That’s ok.  We’re allowed to be humans first, then librarians and archivists.  If you remind yourself of that on a bad day, you’re halfway to getting back on track to a good one and all it took was one affirmation.  You are human.

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