Those were the days…

Last night, I found myself thinking of my job through uni here in Australia. It was the perfect job for a uni student. It paid good money — I was able to cover my rent and living expenses during uni. It was flexible. It gave me extra shifts occasionally. I was able to swap shifts to suit my exams. I was able to work evenings when I had placements and uni during the day and work Saturdays. It was close to where I lived. And it was in a place close to heaven.

It was at the uni library.

I worked for 3 years as a shelver. The job description involved putting the books back on the shelves according to the Dewey decimal system. Checking if the books were organised appropriately. Getting books out of shelves as requested by students if you were doing the first shift of the day. And cleaning and tidying up the library if you were doing the last shift of the day.

I still remember applying for the job. I filled out a form from a very strict looking librarian. And I was lucky enough to get offered 6 hours per week within the next few days. I say lucky because other international students attempted to apply for the job after hearing I worked there but were always on the long waiting list. I started with a mere 6 hours a week in my first semester in Australia. That went up to about 10 in the next. And by the end, I was doing 16 to 18 hours per week. The strict librarian turned out to be my immediate manager and she was great. As were the rest of the staff.

I absolutely loved the job. I was able to do Saturday shifts from my third semester as well as evening shifts. Which fit in perfectly with my schedule. I also loved the evening shifts because there were fewer students more often than not. Yes, it did involve cleaning up people’s crap in the final tidy-up but it was worth it. And mind you, I did all this listening to music on my MP3 player. There would occasionally be questions from students re where to find certain books. And you know what? By my second year, I knew the sections off the top of my head. I still remember them. Which is a bit scary. I knew the teaching books were in the 371s and 372s, the psychology books were in the 150s and the 616s and 618s, management in 658s, policing in 363 and 364s, sociology in the 300s and literature in the 800s. Scary that. Students would be amazed at my ‘skill’. I put it down to working there for a long time! The other bonus about the job was that I was able to find books for my assignments with ease. I remember checking out a book or two myself after most shifts. Definitely helped with my thesis!

It came with it’s weird stuff too. I got asked out by a dude one year and well, I wasn’t interested and said I had a boyfriend to put him off, but he kept insisting that he just wanted to go out for coffee as friends. Yes. And pigs will fly. I did manage to brush him off. Told him that not only did I have a boyfriend, I had a jealous boyfriend. =P There were always the annoying students who didn’t seem to realise that a library was a place you were supposed to be quiet! And would laugh loudly and make heaps of noise upstairs where there were fewer staff.

I don’t know why I started thinking about this job. Or why I became so nostalgic. I was so grateful for the work. It kept me going during uni. And given that it was the first time I was studying and working and living by myself, it was perfect.

I sometimes miss the simplicity of that job. And yet, being content with it.

I guess if psychology doesn’t work out as a career, I would consider working in a library (behind a desk though) or in a book store.

They are, after all, my definition of heaven.

Until next time,


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  • Prats
    30 August 2010 at 11:01 am

    “I would consider working in a library (behind a desk though) or in a book store.

    They are, after all, my definition of heaven.” This is absolutely true for me too 🙂

  • Neha
    30 August 2010 at 11:24 am

    first job does have nostalgic first job was with a CA firm and it was wonderful..these days I am teaching and college kids hit on me some times and it feels strange especially when they know that i am married 😛 but nevertheless, even that’s kinda funny. especially when they do weird stuff to try n impress u 😀

  • Susan Deborah
    30 August 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Wow! This is one soulful journey into a vital part of your adult life. Libraries are lovely places to be in and I always imagined working there. Good for you! The thought of being surrounded by books and smell of books is a lovely fantasy I always give myself.

    I loved how you packed up so many details in this post! And I enjoyed the journey with you 🙂

    Joy always,

  • Titaxy
    30 August 2010 at 2:34 pm

    How wonderful that should’ve been. I never worked in the library, but I spent most of my Uni days there 😀 and it was the best place to be. Not sure why I never applied to work there, though.

    Anyhow…glad to know that it was a good experience for you. Second career option sounds perfect 😀

  • Magali
    30 August 2010 at 7:31 pm

    It does sound like an awesome job. Totally envy you, would love to do something like that, it betas yapping on the phone.

  • Psych Babbler
    31 August 2010 at 12:05 pm

    You really should if you get a chance! =) Book store would be great, eh?? I love browsing through book stores…so can only imagine what it would be like to own or work in one…

  • kanupriyasindhu
    2 September 2010 at 9:03 am

    First job is always so close to heart and if the work is related to your passion then definitely its an added cherry on top :). And simpler the life, the easier to get content, ain’t it :)?

  • Psych Babbler
    6 September 2010 at 11:20 am

    Highly recommend it and yes, way better than yapping on the phone I reckon. It’s always an option to remember if you ever go overseas to study….

  • Psych Babbler
    6 September 2010 at 11:21 am

    It sure is Kanupriya! First jobs are something…memorable in thier own way… =)

  • Psych Babbler
    16 September 2010 at 12:27 am

    Hehe…it was a great experience T. I bet you would have loved working there…I remember enjoying studying there as well during masters…and working there meant there were some afternoons I’d spend working on my thesis/assignments and then go straight to work at 5 =P Very convenient!

  • Psych Babbler
    16 September 2010 at 12:27 am

    Yeah I guess it does…and lol at being asked out by college kids! =D