I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, gobbling too much turkey and pie and spending endless amounts of time with your tedious relatives. That's the sort of thing that makes this country great.
Now that I've dispensed with the pleasantries, we can get to this week's question, a question that always burns brightly in the librarian sky, a question that inevitably calls forth the profound intellectual speculation that librarians are known for: are you happy?
According to Time Magazine, you're not. They don't think you're necessarily unhappy, but you're definitely not happy. A kind reader brought to my attention the November 26th issue of Time and its report of happiness on the job. Finally, I tracked down a copy. This is the issue that tells us what the "average American" is like, that tries to answer for us the supposed "key question" of whether Giuliani's loyalties are misplaced, that gives us an in-depth interview with John Bolton consisting of questions sent in by readers even more annoying than he is, and that concludes with an essay by some woman in love with her gizmos. In other words, it's the same stupid crap that caused me to stop reading Time when I was in high school.
Nevertheless, when a magazine like Time mentions librarians, we should all take notice, if only for entertainment's sake. Somewhere near the center of the magazine is a chart of how happy people are with their jobs, from gas station attendants (least happy) to clergy (most happy). (I would tell you the exact page, but as usual with these popular magazines the editors think putting a number on every page would be a waste of time, because who would ever want to cite this garbage anyway.) On the chart of job happiness, librarians are right in the middle, and I do mean middle. The chart takes up two pages, and the L in librarians is lost in the fold. Unhappy people are in red, happy in blue (do I detect some political commentary here?), and the vast middle is in brown. When we talk about vast middles, we know we're talking about librarians, which may be why they're in the exact center, in between waiters/waitresses (slightly less happy) and mechanical engineers and electricians (slightly more happy).
But could this be? Could librarians be less happy than truck drivers, hairdressers, and dental assistants? Or less happy that some jobs comparable to librarian, such as preschool teachers, secretaries, and purchasing agents? And these folks are all still brown. Librarians on average are considerably less happy than reservation and ticket agents, butlers, and school administrators, though considerably more happy than such comparable jobs as welfare service aids, amusement park attendants, and maids.
The problem with this analysis is that it defies public verification. Try getting this impression from the greater bibliotek blogland, where the eternal pose of pant-wetting excitement is de rigueur among most bloggers, where they all have to put on a show for us demonstrating how passionate and concerned and thoughtful they all are. No, these people are obviously always ecstatic, so they must be at the high end of the scale. Of course there are those anonymous bibliotek bloggers who complain all the time. I suppose they must be on the low end of the scale. This doesn't leave much room in the middle, where the majority would seem to be.
Thus I wonder if this Time calculation is really true, that most of us, the average librarians, plod through our jobs, neither happy nor unhappy, bored automatons selecting books, checking out DVDs, and playing videogames. Maybe this Time Magazine is on to something for once.