Do we work for love instead of money?

This past week I’ve been serving on a jury, and its been a fascinating experience. Putting aside all aspects of the case and the court procedures, which are interesting in their own right, this has been a great glimpse into the lives and careers of other people. It’s also been an unsettling reality check, as I cannot help but notice that just about all of my fellow 15 jurors works in business, drives a nicer car than I do, has a Blackberry, and has lots of good stories about their travels to South America and other (to me) exotic parts of the world.

As a person who graduated from library school 25 years ago and supervises a department of 10, I currently make just about what the 25-year-old juror who works as a developer makes, as nearly as I can tell. She’s planning to make a lot of deals close together so she can go to her boss and show him how much money she’s making for him so her salary can go up. My salary, meanwhile, is fixed with a slight incremental increase each year. So is yours, if you’re a public librarian. So the question I’ve been grappling with this past week has been, Why did I make this choice, and Was it a good choice?

I don’t know the answer to the second question, but I do know the answer to the first one and that answer still stands: I love being a children’s librarian. I find children endlessly interesting and amusing, and I love the books written for them. I love the way they will belt out Johnette Downing’s “Up and Down and Around” song while twirling with their scarves, and I love the way a book written 50 years ago still resonates with today’s kids. The work is deeply satisfying, and it is making the world a better place. I just don’t think I could do a job that didn’t make the world a better place. So although I cannot deny coveting my fellow jurors’ shiny cars, I don’t covet their jobs. I work for love, and a little bit of money.

On another subject, today is the first day of “Blogging for a Cure“. If you check in at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast each day, they will point to the current day’s featured snowflakes. My day is this Wednesday, so I’ll have more then!

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