Let’s get philosophical.
Who are we? Who am I?
This existential crisis (which, if I’m being honest, tends to be a daily occurrence) came about this afternoon as I was filling out a survey for my bank.
The culprit? Exhibit A:
Which of these groups best describes my current occupation, you ask?
I read through all of the options, with only the tinniest hint of fear in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t fit anywhere. Many were easy to discount. I am very much not retired, I’m terrible at “home duties”, and I don’t deal with things that are alive (excluding colleagues and students, obvs).
I ended up feeling like I should sit somewhere in between “other trained service worker” and “Professional”. (At times I have felt like I would fit in the “Clerical” category, and the services my institution offers are catered to our customers.)
What it boils down to, I think, is my education, and the expected level of education within the Library/Information industry. Postgraduate qualifications get you jobs, and more importantly they have a lot of sway in whether you will gain a management position (this is what I’ve observed).
Along these lines, we should be calling ourselves professionals, right? But so often I find myself cringing when people describe librarians and the like as providing a service, which perhaps puts us on a par with teachers, nurses and police. Financially we are, at least.
I don’t think there is an answer to this, but given the grey area, I went with “Professional”.
So tell me, readers, what would you have done?