This post has been a long time in coming because it has taken me a lot of time to figure out just what to say and how to say it. I started this blog when I first was on medical leave for work, and in the intervening six months everything has changed. I started this blog to write about my experiences being an adult woman on the high end of the Autism Spectrum, but my self discovery about being an Aspie is tied in with my experience of being a librarian for the City of Salinas and THAT is the story I need to tell.
I have worked in libraries since August of 2001, got my MLIS in 2005, and started working for the Salinas Public Library in 2006. The first couple of years of my employment in Salinas everything was great. I had a wonderful supervisor, and worked with wonderful people. The patrons were nice, the policies were fair and balanced, and life was good. At this time I had no idea I was an Aspie. I knew that I often was hyper verbal and had to work darn hard to have good social skills, but this was so much a part of my life I took it for granted, and it had never been a problem before.
In 2008, everything changed. First, a new Library Director was hired--Elizabeth Martinez. A google search shows her to be a glowing paragon of the library world, but I had had the chance to talk with librarians who had worked under her in the past and learned that she was horrible to work for. I learned from the she was autocratic, never listened to anyone else, was rude, and more importantly treated staff with an absolute lack of respect or recognition of professional expertise. At about the same time, things changed around in upper management and I got a new supervisor--Maria Roddy. Maria who had never been a librarian, who was absolutely incompetent at the job, and who has absolutely threatened by anyone smarter or better than she was--a fact that being an Aspie, sadly I did not fully understand until it was much, much too late.
Elizabeth and Maria together started immediately implementing policies that were detrimental to both the library and the staff, and truly the patrons most of all. I will spare you the litany of what they did wrong and why it was wrong, but I can say that many, many people on staff were concerned. Cue, myself. At that time I was the union steward for the library. I had been asked to do this because I am well spoken and had no fear to ask the hard questions and stand up for staff--I was always respectful and fair, but I did ask. Consequently, as these policies were implemented and as the problems in them became glaringly apparent, I was asked by several staff members to to ask management about them and seek some sort of clarity and communication between staff and management, all in my role of steward. I also was forced to ask several questions on my own when a policy change influenced me directly. At that point, I was truly just trying to be a voice for good, and a help. I was all about finding solutions and doing the right thing, not accusing management of being incompetent.
Big, BIG mistake. When you have a direct supervisor who reflexively fears anyone better than she is and a library director who refuses to listen to any challenge to her ideas or thoughts, and more importantly when both hold a grudge and are perfectly willing to retaliate in any way necessary...
Disaster. Utter and total disaster. And God help me, I didn't see the danger until it was way too late.
I shall say goodnight for now. In a few days I shall post Part Two, in which the Erudite Aspie gets bullied and harassed.
And fear not--this story gets worse, but it DOES have a happy ending.