I’m on a five hour bus from Granada to Madrid, with lots of time to think. I haven’t worked a single day in the past five months. A new city every week, living out of my backpack and seeing the world… Sounds dreamy right? Well, in many ways it is. I haven’t known what day it is for months.. Tuesday? Saturday? Who knows? Who cares! There’s a lot of freedom in not working.
But after such a long break, I’ve come to realise something. And I never thought I would hear myself say this – but I miss my job.
Not just the structured days and comradery from my fellow workers. But the sense of achievement I felt in doing a good job, and being acknowledged for it. In helping people, in solving a difficult problem, in seeing a project through to fruition, in mastering something new, in the intellectual challenges and in having a real sense of purpose.
I was lucky to have fabulous jobs. I wouldn’t say I ever took them for granted, but I felt the monotony of work grinding me down many days, and craved something more.
It’s good to know that taking a step away can provide some needed perspective, and refresh my motivation for library work. I can more clearly see what I enjoyed, and what aspects I struggled with. And this means when I get back into working, I intend to seek out those things that drive me.
For instance, I do not, in any way, miss sitting at a desk most of my day. With the advances in technology, much of my work fed into the virtual world. Online everything, minimal face to face. Of course, there’s loads of benefits to this, and it meant I could work remotely and from multiple locations easily. It afforded me freedom and time. But I missed interacting with my patrons. Real interactions and conversations. I missed the physical books. I missed walking the stacks, I even missed shelving!
Perhaps many library roles are moving in this direction, and maybe there aren’t many left that get you up and about and in the thick of it. But seeking out that which excites and inspires me is one part of what this overseas journey is all about, and I intend to keep looking for it.
What gets you motivated? How do you keep your drive and passion in your work?