I saw a librarian, at the North York Central Library, who had transferred to another branch last Fall. I remember how excited she was about the transfer. She looked forward to the challenges of working with teens from low-income families. What was she doing back?
“It was a contract position and my contract was up,” she said. “I was making such progress with some of the teens, and now it’s like I’ve abandoned them. I’m hoping to get back there.”
“You’d think that library management would see how much progress you were making and not transfer you,” I said.
“It’s not management’s fault,” she said. “It has to do with seniority, and my contract was up. It’s The System.”
Ah, The System. No matter what the job, there’s The System. The System does not care about people. The System does not care about the dedicated and conscientious workers who care about people. It pretends to care about everything and puts on a good show, but it is all a sham. The System only cares about The System, and the money to keep it going. It does not care what workers do when they are making or saving The System money.
The System is all about appearances. Workers do not have to work. Workers need only make it appear that they are working. If workers have to work, then The System tolerates them doing only what they have to do and nothing more. The System may find ways to punish any worker going above and beyond the call of duty.
The high-paying job I left for a life in the arts had The System. I was inexperienced and believed The System cared. Sometimes supervisors yelled at me for taking too long with cases. I was conscientious and trying to help the people I was dealing with. But I was costing The System money, and money was more important than helping people. I left before I allowed The System to turn me into a cold, clock-watching machine that looked for ways to get paid while appearing to work.
Fortunately there are always people who continue to care and do a good job no matter what The System does to them. Let’s hope the librarian is able to keep caring about her job, and not become a servant to The System.