I wanted to be a librarian because education and a love of reading are both things I believe in. I also wanted to have a career that would be low-stress in hopes that I’d be able to stick with it for many years. Funnily enough, the lack of pressure to perform is exactly what bothers me about the job now that I’m in the middle of it.
Today was blissfully different. Today involved real pressure, and I loved it! I can handle getting a mountain of tasks with a short deadline, but give me a license to do whatever I want and I forget what I was supposed to be doing in the first place.
I used to do every project for school at the very last possible moment. I occasionally tried to become more conscientious by starting papers a few weeks before they were due. Every single time, it was a battle to get a paragraph or two on paper. Ideas wouldn’t flow, sentences didn’t gel, and my mind was basically a blank. Then, the night before the deadline, all of those problems vanished. Parallels in literature would jump from a page like they had been highlighted for me. I could write an entire essay about a book after only reading its abstract. I used all sorts of tricks and shortcuts, and it was beautiful. My brain just works better under pressure.
So in current Hannah’s world, that adds up to a problem. I still believe in what I’m doing as a librarian, I just have to figure out how to trigger the pressure button in my brain so I’ll function well on a regular basis. I have a friend who used to set her clock forward a few minutes to trick herself into being ready on time. When she got used to the time difference, she would set it farther forward. It got kind of crazy after a while, but it worked. How do I trick myself into thinking that there are outside deadlines and pressures when they don’t really exist? How do I trick myself into being a better employee?
Here are my first few ideas:
1. Play songs like “It’s a Small World” over and over again on my headphones (while not at the public desk). It might be just awful enough to make me concentrate on work.
2. Play the Jeopardy theme song on my headphones. It does make me nervous every time I hear it.
3. Pretend that my adorable, feminine boss is secretly a professional wrestler, and she knows every single time I do something that isn’t work-related at work.
4. Embrace the lack of pressure at work and start wearing giant sweaters, scary ankle-length plaid skirts, and socks with dress shoes. This option might require getting several cats, too. Might not go over well with the canine portion of my household.