If you’re a librarian and haven’t been replaced by a computer yet, then at least you have one of the least stressful jobs in the country according to some random website that releases meaningless lists like this in order to generate hits and links.
But if there’s one thing librarians don’t like, it’s being told how little stress they suffer compared to police officers or whatever. Even in Canada they get upset, although Canadian indignation seems pretty mild.
A Kind Reader sent me this article, which is really a response to this one. The original article is sort of responding to the list of least stressful jobs, and also making some kind of argument about technology, although I’m not clear what it is.
Technology was supposed to simplify our lives, but hasn’t, supposedly. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m washing clothes in a river or walking a mile to retrieve potable water.
Since librarian is lumped in with jobs like drill press operator and hair stylist, a cautious writer might make some distinctions among them. Not so our techno-weary Canadian.
For example, except for university professor, “these positions carry relatively little responsibility, and modest or low pay.” The modest or low pay part is applicable to most librarians, although I’m not sure about the relatively little responsibility. Sort of depends on the job.
Regarding librarians, we enter totally uninformed territory here: “None of these trades involve supervising a large number of people, making decisions that will affect a lot of people or managing troublesome things like budgets.”
Maybe dieticians and seamstresses don’t supervise people or manage budgets. I wouldn’t know, so I’m not making any claims. I don’t have time to do the research because I’m too busy supervising people and managing budgets.
Another amusing one: “a lot of these positions are relatively low-tech. Although there have been innovations in the tools many of these workers use, gadgets like a drill press or hair clippers are still by their nature quite simple to operate. Compare that with the latest release of Microsoft Office or learning the eccentricities of SharePoint.”
I guess to a news editor learning the eccentricities of Microsoft Office or Sharepoint are the height of technological accomplishment. In a lot of libraries, that’s the stuff even the clerical staff have to know. How about learning the intricacies of an ILS or building a digital library?
I wasn’t actually going to respond to the list of most or least stressful jobs again, but I had to take another look after a group of librarians protested against the ignorance of the writer. They point out how uninformed the guy is about librarians.
There’s really so little reason to be defensive, though. We know from just about everything written in the popular press about libraries and librarians that journalists know next to nothing about libraries.
If we extrapolate from their uninformed claims about libraries, we might think that journalists have no understanding of any professions other than their own. Then again, journalists are paid to pretend to know a little bit about everything, and sometimes they get carried away.
I’m willing to say that I have no idea whether some of these jobs are stressful, technical, or what. What does a medical lab technician do? Is there no room for errors that could harm people? Seems like there might be. That could be stressful.
Audiologist. Is that a technologically advanced job? Beats me. Although when the comparison to tough tech is learning Sharepoint, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
Hair stylist? This one at least I know because I use them. Okay, doesn’t seem very technical to me. Scissors and hair chemicals haven’t changed that radically over time. The educational bar is definitely lower than librarian or audiologist. But who knows what stress and tech lurk in the backrooms of hair salons?
Instead of getting defensive about stupid stuff like this, I just use it as further evidence that the general public has no idea what librarians do. Maybe that’s a good thing. If they don’t know what we do, maybe they won’t know if it can be replaced by a computer or not.