I’m at work. It’s Saturday. I don’t work Saturdays. I’m closing, which is not that unusual, but I’m closing at midnight. My bed time is around 10:00. This all feels so wrong. I remember the days when staying up until midnight was no big deal on any given night of the week. I remember regularly staying up until 3:00 AM playing cards. Rummy, of all things! I’m not Kenny Rogers.
This has been my second finals season at this job and the first in the springtime. I remember last fall being a ball-buster of a period in which we’d have well spans with over 200 patron interactions an hour. We’d have class-switches in which all six of my circulation computers would be in use (on average we use three), and the line would still be stretching toward the exit.
This semester, armed with data, I built a schedule that was prepared for the serious influx of stressed out students. What’s weird is that I’ve seriously over-scheduled the circ desk, at least for Study Week. We haven’t been close to 200 patron interactions. When I had built a schedule that called for two or three supervisors to be present to help with class-switch, there’s only been need for one. This is in part to having plenty of student assistants to help — a BIG improvement from the start of the semester — and also in part to the fact that the students simply aren’t here.
I’m not saying this is worrisome, but facts are facts. Spring semesters have always been slower than Fall semesters at every university I’ve ever attended or been employed by. It always even seemed the homework load was less when I was a student. I don’t know the reason for this disparity. I assume it’s dropouts. College retention is a huge problem, especially for first generation students, of which my university supposedly has a higher-than-normal number.
Now, finals start in earnest on Monday and one would assume that our usage numbers would skyrocket, mostly with people asking for Scantrons and “blue books.” One would think that my carefully constructed supervisor schedule wouldn’t be SOOO off-base two weeks in a row. Would one?
For it being a surprisingly light workload at the circ desk, last week was rather stressful and exhausting for me, to the point in which on Thursday I seriously considered taking sick time to get some rest. But, since I was taking all day Friday off to allow for tonight’s shift I stuck it out, but I never perked up that day and was all but useless by 2:00.
About three weeks ago I made an error on the telephone about a policy question. That patron acted on my bad information and then was quite put out when he learned the truth. This week he raised a ruckus. Ultimately the worst thing that happened was that I got some egg on my face, but it knocked my supervisor’s confidence in me down a couple of pegs. Luckily, I was out of my probation period by then. This whole thing threw me for a loop, though and I was physically and emotionally spent by the middle of the week.
Twenty days until vacation.