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If it’s there, take it.

This year, now that I’m out of school for a while, I decided to get serious about my career. While my career path might have taken an unexpected turn at the fork in the road, I decided that I want to focus on working with kids, mostly at-risk youth, but nonetheless, children. I work for a school division in the city and I really enjoy what I do. Even though I’m a secretary, it is still very rewarded to work with the kids and have at least some type of positive reinforcement for them. There’s a lot of great kids out there, some bad, but I think every kid should have some type of positive role model in their life, no matter what the profession.

This year I found out that the long time library clerk at the elementary school I went to was given the position of head secretary. I was thrilled for her. I’ve known her since I was a kid and she has always been that positive reinforcement for every child that walked through those school doors. She then proceeded to tell me that her position in the library would open up in the fall and to apply for it. I know that library by heart and I would be a good candidate to for the position.

That’s when I got serious.

I love libraries. My parents always instilled reading in me, my mom always read to me (even when she was pregnant with me) and I could always be found with my nose stuck in a book. In the sixth grade, I grew up pretty fast. I was ready to move in to middle school and couldn’t stand the thought of a 15 minute “play time” at recess (but now as an adult, I would love a 15 minute outdoor recess break). Instead of recess I asked my teacher if I could help out in the library. The librarian, at the time, was always asking for students to come down and help shelf books, put up visual displays outside the library, or help her with anything that she asked. For the entire year of the sixth grade I was in the library. I learned the Dewey decimal system quickly and learned each book section (100-200 Reference; 200-300 Religion and Science; 400-500 Animals…). As I became employed with the school division I yearned for the day I would be sent to a library to work. And it came true. I subbed for the very same librarian who now is the head clerk of the school. She thought it was absolutely hilarious that a former student who would help her in the library was now filling in for her. It was even more hilarious when I found books with my name still in the book on the library card. By the way, I read “Sarah, Plain and Tall” fifty times.

Last week that same position became available to apply for. I jumped on it. I also had a less than spectacular thing happen to me about two weeks ago at another school that prompted me to start a preemptive strike. More like proactive strike. Because I didn’t have new training to work with the updated library system, I was told that after four days of subbing… it would be my last. Bummer. The following week I contacted the library department and asked if there was some way I could take the training. I knew how to work the old computerized library system, and even though I read the manual for the updated system, I still would like to receive hands on training. They said it would be difficult because you had to be assigned to a school as you would use your database to train, but they would see what they could do.

Flashback to this past Saturday. I hadn’t checked my email since 3pm Friday (I don’t check emails over the weekend anymore) and something was telling me to check it. Sitting in the inbox was a letter from the library department saying I was being allowed to take the training. How wonderful! You seriously don’t know how excited I am to be taking this training. It’s like a dream come true. Now, hopefully, the division can see that I am serious about this position (and the principal of the school where I applied) and be able to have a chance to have an interview.

That is when I decided to take advantage of the training the is available to division employees. This is now my motto – If it’s there, take it. The training is there for you to take advantage of… your employer wants you to succeed and be able to do your job better and your employer is footing the cost so you can take the training. If not, the additional training wouldn’t be there for you to take! From now to December I am enrolled in various training courses – library training, CPR/First Aid refresher, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training (I need this to apply to be an Educational Assistant), and division software refresher courses. Some courses might be only offered to certain groups first, but if they don’t receive the response they want then they can open it up to everybody. I signed up. The worst they say is no.

When I worked for the military my boss told me to take every course that was available to me – any computer related course, I took CPR/First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Training, Fire Extinguisher training (hey… it was mandatory). Before I was laid-0ff from that job I was enrolled in many more courses that would benefit my employment.

If the training is available and it’s going to benefit your current job, sign up for it. You might have to explain to your boss why you think it will help benefit your current position, but go for it! The worst that can be said is no. You’ll never find out if you don’t apply!

It’s your job and your future. Take advantage of what is being offered and you’ll never know where it could take you next!

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