I contribute my success in prison to two things:
1. Being awesome
2. Being in the right place at the right time
When I moved back to the great state I call home, I was working as a bartender again and my BFF said "Hey, you should TOTALLY apply for this job! I see it open ALL THE TIME!" "Ok," I thought, "I will apply to feel like I am doing something to further my librarian career because I will NEVER get it." Well little did I know, I was hired as one of two Library Staff because the library recently had a retirement, a promotion, and a moving-to-another-state quitting. I was the low man on the totem pole throughout basic training but I didn't care because I was so excited to have a library job. Who cared that my days off were Wed/Thurs, I was WORKING IN MY FIELD.
Fast forward through BT and arrive at Day 3 on the job. My colleague decided she was actually not a good fit for prison so all of a sudden I was the Number 1 Minion. My days off were still Wed/Thurs, but now as soon as the next person got hired I would have seniority. It was going to be great! Until it took a year to hire someone. BUT, that actually worked out well in the end because I learned to run EVERYTHING in the library and to do it short-staffed, which unfortunately is an all too common scenario in prison libraries because the bureaucracy makes it so hard to hire people.
The next minion hired was, alas, also not a good fit. She lasted a couple months. There we were, back to square one, me still with Wed/Thur off. Finally, another year after THAT, we hired Minion Number 2, who, thankfully is still employed with us and is an awesome minion. (Note to self-have a blog called Tips for Being a Good Minion...) But, as luck would have it, right around the time we hired Minion Number 2 (who has since promoted to Minion Number 1) our Greatest Consultant Boss decided to pursue a career in a different field, which required her to step down as the Greatest Consultant Boss. While we mourned her passing out of the library field, it actually opened up a golden opportunity for my boss to promote. She got the position and suddenly, there was a promotion available for me! (Note-I had to fight TOOTH AND NAIL to get this position. I had to just say, look, let me take the test. If I don't pass, I will let it go. And guess who was the NUMBER ONE SCORE......... ME! But, all's well that ends well. Happy two year boss anniversary to me. Ha!)
So here we are, I have now been the boss for two years, thanks to the perfectly-timed retirements and promotions. I also just had my 5 year anniversary in prison, which means I am now vested in my retirement (yay) and earning 10 hours of vacation a month (SUPER HAPPY YAY!) which makes it a little harder to leave, because starting over anywhere would cause me to lose those hard-earned benefits. I think that's how they get you...
So, future prison librarians, keep this in mind: it's a little bit what you know, a lot who you know, and the majority being in the right place at the right time and having put in enough blood, sweat and tears (but not tears in front of the offenders, wait until you get to the lobby to cry) to show people that you are the best and most awesome choice for the promotion. Until next time!