I spent the afternoon interviewing applicants for the position of bookmobile library specialist, a job I held from 1992 to 2000. We interviewed four candidates between 2:00 and 6:15, with time at the end to discuss our selection.
I am often called upon to participate in hiring committees because they must be balanced in composition, and as a male librarian I am a rare bird. You wouldn't think that interviews are much work, but they are exhausting. Maybe the emotional state of the interviewees charges the situation. They are performing for you, and for them so much is at stake. And no matter how they look on their applications and résumés, the chemistry of the interviews can change everything.
I couldn't help remembering the day twenty years ago when I sat at that same table in the library board room, selling myself with all I had for the same job. I was 38, with a string of bookstore jobs and a year as a Montessori school teaching assistant, (where, providentially, I had driven the school bus), to my credit, and was then a clerk in the circulation department. I wept for joy in private when I got it. It was the beginning of my true vocation. I would be a librarian.