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international librarian of mystery

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Could Well Be In

I spent that last half of my remaining severance pay on a haircut and a new pair of shoes. I figured it was worth the risk - I had three interviews coming up over the next two days, and a swish do and a new pair of heels were my self-prescribed psychological pick-me-up to get my career back on track.

The first interview was a 'Legal Library Assistant' position at one of the middling sized firms in town. The job description also stated, along with being 'aide' (read: slave) to the Senior Legal Librarian, the Assistant would be responsible for 'content management of the intranet and internet websites'. I figured I could try and get myself in on the web angle, and try and talk around the fact I'd never actually done the Legal Librarianship elective as part of my Library Masters degree.

They were having none of it. Once they discovered I had no legal background at all, they were all very nice, but it was essentially chit-chat until they could politely get me out the door.

I then had to hang about central Wellington for a couple of hours before my next interview. I went to Civic Square with a plan to do some pre-interview swotting. At home, I've had to change to a slow-as-mud dial-up connection, but have recently discovered an open wi-fi hotspot in Civic Square. Today the signal was strongest at the top of the steps overlooking the Library, so I sat down and called up my usual pre-do-anything-else chores that I should really just program into my start-up sequence...

Tap tap. No email. Click. No comments. Tappity-tap. Stats? Shall I even bother?
Click. Ohhhh, traffic spike, what's up? Clickity click.

Ahhh, it's the Bloggies™. Baahahaha! I'm a finalist! I had completely assumed that my role as panelist was to be the end of any involvement I was to have in proceedings. But no, somehow I've made it through the hodgepodge nomination and panel-voting stage, and am now one of the final five - and the only kiwi - in the Australia/NZ category. Of course, any thought of browsing the website of my potential employer disappeared, and I spent the next hour reading the other finalists' blogs, and wondering how I could possibly get myself organised to get to the March awards ceremony at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, USA.

Only a pre-programmed alert saved me from missing my interview completely, and I arrived at the anonymous looking tower block on The Terrace hot and flustered from my last minute dash up the hill.

"So, what do know about our organisation Natalie?" asked the Director of Information Services, about five minutes into our interview.

I completely blanked on the name and function of the Government department in which I was sitting. My interview schedule was fuzzy in my head. Was this the exporting place? Trade NZ? Or is it Industry NZ? Or the Trade and Enterprise one? Or was it the Ministry of Social Development? Or Economic Development? Bloody government departments!

Bereft of any thought, I waffled. I may well have uttered such verbal travesties as "pro-active information initiatives" and "the need for well maintained information channels to help maximise organisational throughput." Terrible.

The Director frowned at me slightly.

"You weren't previously at the Ministry of Education were you?" he asked.
"Errr, no. City Libraries."
"Sorry, just my little joke."

Again, it was a slave job - keeping a small library ticking over, some filing, and assisting with content management on the department's intranet. But, as far as slave-drivers went, the Director seemed as if he wouldn't be the worst in the world: he was quite a small man, in his forties or fifties, married, softly-spoken, and wearing a tweed jacket despite the fact it was a hot summer's day. Adorable. Thankfully the interview was a 'how-well-do-we-get-along' exercise as opposed to a 'how-much-do-I-know' interview, and we got along quite well.

As we chatted about my potential role, my memory of where we were returned, and from there I managed to pull out a couple of nuggets of relevant information to help save the day. The haircut and shoes were doing their job too, I suspected.

The Director and I parted ways with a firm handshake, and he promised to call me personally the next day to let me know if I was to be in with a job or not.

As the song goes, I reckon I could well be in.