Friday, January 20, 2006

Pink Collar Ghetto

So, here's the down-side of that lovely, nurturing pink of librarianship: we are chronically underpaid and under-valued. All you guy librarians are constantly mistaken for one another, too. I've seen it happen: It doesn't matter how tall or unlike each other you are, you don't have an individual identity. You've become a cypher by becoming a librarian. It's okay for women to be librarians, I guess. They seem to be able to tell us apart. But they can't seem to tell male librarians apart. I guess they can't look at your face.

Back to the money. Which I hate thinking about. There are all the things I like about librarianship. I really like the lifestyle. I really like the job. But, boy, it sucks rocks that people get paid less once they add that simple three letters on the end of their list of degrees, than they did before. We have librarians with a J.D. and an M.L.S., entering jobs in the very expensive city of Boston, MA, at $50,000. I don't think you could hire a lawyer for that, without the extra degree. Sheesh.

And I do believe the reason is that nobody from Human Resources has EVER, ever come to see what it is that librarians do. They don't know what anybody in my library does all day. They have never come to any library I have ever worked in.

I was just amazed to be told in a workshop some years ago that the correct practice to set salaries was to send out a questionnaire to each person, and then follow them in a job-shadowing for at least a full shift. In none of the libraries I have ever worked in have I ever seen this done. I have filled out one questionnaire, but never, ever seen an HR person in the library.

They think they know. And what they remember is from grade school, or the public library of their youth. Or maybe from movies or TV. And they all do it, and match their numbers against one another, and call it equity.


No comments: