Today is my first day at my new job, and I am super excited! It is sort of like the first day of a new school year. I’m going to meet all my new coworkers, figure out lots of information I need about my job and their expectations, and jump right into work. The only difference is that I am the only new student starting right now.
Just like starting the first day of school, I did a little clothes shopping in preparation. Back when I was in grade school I always went shopping with my mom to get all the clothes I would need for the school year. She and I didn’t always agree, and I’ve never been the most fashionably dressed. But somehow in elementary school it was enough to do a big shopping trip before school began, and get through the school year with maybe only the purchase of a few sweaters for Christmas. For my new position at the library I don’t exactly need a new wardrobe, but it is the beginning of the summer so my wardrobe needs some nice staples for the warmer weather. I bought two pairs of khakis and a new black skirt, a few short sleeved tops, and a new pair of brown shoes.
Beyond worrying about looking nice for the first day, I’ve been getting ready in other ways. I got a new notebook, a stack of books for a program next week, piles of stickers and prizes, and files of information on schools in the area. It is kind of silly in a way, because I don’t really have all the information I need to start making plans, but I’ve been so excited to start that I run ahead of myself.
Since I really want to get all the staff excited about the HHC and my work in general, I am concerned about making a good impression with my coworkers. I really should have taken more time to try to familiarize myself with the staff I will be working with–all of their pictures and job titles are on the intranet, but I was too busy at work to take the time, plus it is a little stalkerish. My hope is that they will be as excited to have me as I am to join them–or at least excited about having a HHC!
In two weeks, I will be starting a new job, which I am super excited and nervous about. It is an amazing position, with the potential to do a huge amount of good in the community, as well as giving me TONS of good experience. I will be coordinating the new center to assist students k-12 with their homework. The job is one that combines advocacy, programing, and hands on, one-on-one interaction with youth. Plus, it is the sort of position that responds to the needs of the community and the season, meaning that I will have a ton of freedom to design new programs and visit new locations to market the center to students and recruit potential volunteers.
Another advantage of this position, is that I will be full time working out of one location. This will make it so much easier to arrange my schedule and plan ahead. Even though I wont begin for a couple of weeks, I’m bursting with ideas for the upcoming Summer Reading Season and the build up to the new school year at the end. It will be adventure to get to know a new branch, new customers, and a new job!
For the next two weeks, I’ll be getting the R2R activities set up to continue after I go, and wrapping up all the other details of my two jobs. I’m sure that I will have lots to post as it gets closer to the time for me to start my new job.
Sometimes situations develop and there are almost no words to respond. And yet, they can not be passed by with out comment. These are the moments that I wish I was a poet, an artist, or a diplomat. Being none of these things, I can only share my thoughts and some research I’ve done on the situation.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 lists the areas in which employers cannot discriminate based on, in their treatment of employees and job applicants. It seems like the civil rights movement that spurred the passing of this law was a long time ago, and that the issues of segregation are long past. Politicians would claim we have moved beyond racism, but while we may have advanced to the point where we have laws, emotions and thoughts are hard to legislate. These may translate into words, which can create awkward and unpleasant situations.
When there is so much talk about Islamic terrorists and danger from fundamentalists, the issue of religious discrimination is frequently associated with these alarming stories, but when other stories about other religions make the news, it is possible that negative news stories can related to poor treatment at the work place. After the sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests, some Catholic men might have felt pressured to defend themselves when they wanted to work with children.
But when a story is in the news about a religion not affiliated with your own, and you still receive negative comments that are generalized to include your entire state of origin it is difficult to know what to say. Is there an appropriate way to respond to a comment that the scenery might be nice but not the people, when you grew up in that place and all your family still lives there? Especially if this is a potential employer during an interview?
Perhaps that is the time to realize that even if they were to offer you the job, in spite of their negative view of your religion and state of origin, you do not want to work with someone who feels that way. Even if they never act on it, the workplace environment will be intolerable, a continuation of the negative atmosphere at the job interview. The law might step in and say that they can’t not give a job to someone because of their religion, but they can’t make me want to work with someone who will judge me based on a religion I don’t even belong to, and erroneous ideas about my background. If I am willing to do the research to prepare myself for a job interview, they should at least consider doing some research before they make snap judgments about my state and supposed religion.