for the case of humanity

Dear Internet,

When I was out on the east coast for those two months, I applied for jobs. The original plan was I was going to wait until the new year to do so, to give myself some breathing room, but with the selling of the house, divorce then in limbo, and my savings running low, that seemed like a luxury, not a necessity.

I applied for eight jobs. Most were public librarian positions while the rest were academic. Out of the eight, I had two interviews and one hint of an interview that fell through due to funding. The last interview I had, I felt like I was a shoe-in for the job.

For that particular interview, I was asked to give a 15 minute presentation on an emerging technology that I either used and built myself or collaborated with others. I presented on my use of social media to do collection development, teaching, and promotion of graphic novels in academic libraries. I talked about a wide range of tools from using individual services such as Twitter and Pinterest, to my own site, to using LibGuides and other similar software.

My deck was awesome. I practiced before the interview (something I typically do not do) and made sure I looked as regular as humanly possible (nose ring out, hair reasonably coiffed, tattoos covered).

The interview was brilliant and they loved me. We had long discussions about upcoming projects, how I was to either run or contribute to said projects, and they were even more impressed with my topic. I had my deck online for the off site interviewers that I was able to give to them with a specialized bit.ly link. Because yes, I just am that thorough.

They were so excited about me, they started discussing my second interview with the dean and president of the college. The director was coaching me on how to handle myself at the second interview while she walked me to the main library entrance. I posted in FB I was 90% sure I scored the second interview and 85% sure I got the job.

Finally, a break.

Weeks have gone by and I heard nothing from the college. I emailed them over this past weekend and received a note from the administrative assistant that they have already interviewed the three candidates for the second round.

I was not one of the three.

I lamented about this on FB today that I was reasonably sure the reason why I did not get the job was because of my involvement in #teamharpy. A clean search (not logged into any service, using incognito mode) through Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo showed me what I already knew: The first hits were my websites (EPbaB, lisa.rabey.net, and lisarabey.com) and after that, within the next 10 search results, were links to and about the #teamharpy case.

I am, as I speculated months ago, untouchable thanks to this case. I am a risk. I am a liability. I am an unknown that carries massive amount of danger to her name. Hiring me would be like hiring a bomb because you never know when this case will go off and with it, the potential damage and or liability that would affect my then current place of employment.

Some have speculated what I got from the interview committee was nothing more than mouth service at the time of the interview – I get that I do. But as I said, when they are openly talking about your second interview and the director is coaching you about the second interview, it’s hard not to want to believe them. Or start planning for the second interview. Or start thinking about your career future.

It could also be that I really wasn’t genuinely chosen for other reasons. That’s a reasonable suggestion, but, given what transpired during the interview, the interviewers excitement over me, and how well I seemed to fit within their culture, I’m arrogant enough about my skills as a librarian to think this is not necessarily true.

It’s also been suggested that I not discuss any of this publicly – who knows who may be watching. Again, good advice but one I will not heed. Everything here is already public; for their worth, search engines do not lie. But I decided that I’m also not taking their advice for one very simple reason: my humanity.

#teamharpy has been racked over the coals across the comments, blogs, reddits of the internet. I’ve been called everything from unstable to a fat whore to a lot worse. The platiff’s American and Canadian lawyers have taken to disparaging us on Twitter (I have screenshots) before we even set food into a court room. This is intimidation, pure and simple, but it’s also a matter of oppressing our humanity.

I won’t back down.

I refuse to do it. I won’t do it. It is not happening. Even if this means I have to live in my car and my savings are depeleted, I am not letting them take away my dignity or my humanity.

I have every right to factually discuss the case as well as discuss my own emotional involvement of the ramifications of the case. I do not, and will not, shut the fuck up. If I don’t get a job now or in six months or even in a year; even if I have to leave the profession permanently, I am not backing down.

I am scared. I am frightened. I am angry. I am frustrated. But this makes me human. The ability to feel and to rationalize and to process these very stressful things  is what makes me, well, me. Did I not get the job because of #teamharpy? More than likely but I will never really know. Will my job hunt be successful in the future? Again, more than likely but until I get back in the game again, I can only reasonably guess what’s going to happen.

I really, really hope I’m wrong.

xoxo,
Lisa

  • Emma

    I know that in the grand scheme of things, me saying this isn’t going to help with your present situation, but I just want you to know that there are people out there who are rooting for you. We may never meet you but know that we are out here supporting you.

  • Marika Zemke

    Lisa, I admire you. If I had a job opening I would hire you. Easy to say that it’s their loss when you are the one feeling the pain. Xoxo from Michigan