So for the last two and a bit weeks I have been doing my practicum placement for my degree at Curtin University. Although I am a librarian, my degree is in Information Management. That umbrella term includes libraries, as well as historical archives, and corporate records management. Archives is pretty fun, (what can I say, I am a history buff), but corporate records bores me to tears.
The only time I worked in a corporate environment (I was filing papers in a major law office for six months), I found the culture and the atmosphere of the organisation to be toxic. The partners looked down on the other lawyers, the lawyers looked down on the secretaries, and the secretaries looked down on us (Information Services). I was constantly being told that my clothes weren’t right, that my back brace didn’t look “professional” enough, and that I needed to try and act “invisible” when entering the lawyer’s offices looking for files. I hated my job there, and was even angrier when I was made redundant six months in without warning (seriously, casual workers have no rights in this country).
When I was told I needed to take part in a three week records prac for my degree, I was not looking forward to it. In fact, I was dreading it. But I decided that I should make the best of it, and in my application, I specified that, if possible, I would like to work in a health environment. I am currently employed in a health library (FPWA Sexual Health Services Library), and I thought I might as well work in a field that is relevant to my current one. Unfortunately, this didn’t pan out. I don’t know why, but obviously the Health Department didn’t want me, so the Prac Co-ordinator hastily organised a last-minute placement at Curtin’s Records and Information Management Office.
But you know what? So far, my prac hasn’t been all that bad. It is a bit dull, with endless amounts of data entry, but it is not terrible and toxic like I feared it might be. The staff are friendly, the radio is on all the time, and a good portion of the conversation is focused on how the Higher-Ups (Read: all academic staff) don’t appreciate us (a nice change from the hero-worship the Partners received at the law office).
It isn’t paradise here, and I am not passionate about records the way I am about libraries. The fact of the matter is, I like people, and in records you deal with the organisation, not the public. But it isn’t all bad. I even applied for a records job at the City of Perth this week…..