Sunday, October 2, 2016

The ethics of accepting gifts

One of the training aspects of my recent library job was viewing a very dull video about ethics. It was created by some branch of the state of Louisiana and was required viewing by all state employees. It presented unclear examples of what could be accepted and not accepted. One thing I remember is that one could accept a gift of food only if one ate it in the presence of the giver.

As for the library an employee could accept nothing, not one thing, not even a single dime. I had been working at the library for two and one half months when a situation arose which nearly cost me my job. The branch where I worked is downtown with downtown parking woes. I had three choices for parking: six blocks in a free lot and walk to the library, in an expensive lot, or on the street next to the library with a feed-the-meter syndrome. One day I neglected to bring enough change for the meter and was asking to borrow from fellow employees (a fact that spoke little of my responsibility to be prepared). A patron overheard me and placed some quarters on the counter. I took one. Although it was not anyone's duty to touch me on the shoulder to say no or advise me not to take it, I would have done so in their place. Anyway, I told my supervisor what I had done. She had an apoplectic fit. I volunteered to quit, but she ignored me and continued to chew me out, and said I would be written up in no uncertain terms. I had already been written up for something else. She asked if I had ethics training as a teacher. I said yes, but we were allowed to accept gifts. She didn't believe me. I have since researched ethical training for teachers. Yes, teachers are allowed to accept gifts under $25.  

I returned to my desk and restrained myself. The supervisor said things that totally surprised me. She was displeased, blah, blah, blah. The desire to get up and go home was overpowering, but I stayed. I quit three days later and by some miracle found a teaching job in a high school where I know the rules.

Just a last note. I worked closing at the library one night a week. The doors closed at 7 pm. All library workers were out by 7:05 pm. The first time that happened I didn't understand what was going on. Does a teacher leave the building five minutes after the last bell? Ha! And I had to sign in exactly on time and sign out exactly on time.  

Working at the library,

I always wanted to  be a public librarian. A few years back I worked a second job in the evenings at my local branch library. That lasted three months. I had to quit because I could not follow the supervisor's rules. When I came on at 4 pm everyone in my department had their places at the counter with a computer. I had nowhere to go and had to stand behind them in case they all became busy simultaneously and I could step in and help a patron. Well, my mother taught us not to be idle. "If you don't have something to do, find something." So I did. One of our tasks was to "read the shelves," that is, check for alphabetical misplacements. I not only read my section, but other staffers' shelves as well. Eventually, the supervisor would send someone to get me, chew me out for deserting my post, and tell me to stay put. Yes, I know I was wrong. Following orders was part of the job.

On the other hand, I had problems with another staffer, a young man who was very bitter. He could not get a teaching position although he had a degree in education. I can probably say why: he looked like a serial killer. He exuded such bad vibes. The thing is, he was highly resentful of me because I made more money than he did. The fact that I had library certification and he didn't did not matter at all to him. One night he set me up to look incompetent. Because he was the supervisor's favorite, she believed him and would not even entertain the idea of hearing my version.

I quit after three months. Ten years later when I couldn't get a job teaching (I'm old), I tried the library again. I wish I hadn't. Now I know that I am not librarian material. I don't like the job. Basically, a librarian is a servant. There is no working with books. It's entering data, constantly walking the aisles to make sure every book is in place and no trash is stuffed in cubby holes. It's picking up after patrons.

And the issue of favoritism just smacks one in the face. For the first couple of weeks, each of the staff showed me how to maintain each of their station posts.
Then that was it. Go away, they more or less told me. Wha-a-a-? I would say, like a minion. Could I take six months of this? And the answer was no, I could not, so I quit.

I already had a new job lined up--subbing in this new school near my house. I couldn't get a teaching position there, but maybe as a sub. Today was my first day. What horror show did I get into? The kids were out of control. I called security time after time and all they did was get them quiet, then leave. I simply could not do it. And so, the school never called me again.

I began a new search and out of the blue, a friend from the past, now the foreign language supervisor called and asked me to teach French. So I am. Finally, a full time job. Now my goal is to get debt free before time is up and I am out of work again. (A retired teacher is terminated at the end of each school year and a need must exist in certain fields before she can be hired again. Foreign language is always the case.) 

I am really looking forward to this new job!


A favorite souvenir

A favorite souvenir
These are my two girls from Ireland!

Judy's shared items

Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)

  • *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
  • The Odd Women by George Gissing
  • The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
  • How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
  • The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
  • In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
  • *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
  • Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
  • The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
  • Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
  • Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
  • Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
  • The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
  • Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
  • Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
  • Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
  • *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
  • Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
  • *Ruined by Paula Morris
  • Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  • Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
  • Silence by Shusaku Endo
  • *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  • Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
  • *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
  • Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
  • *The Giver by Lois Lowery
  • *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski

School Library Journal - NeverEndingSearch


A semester course in one book about the Soviet Union. Click on image for my review.