on committees

tweet saying "I'm a librarian and I'm not currently on any committees. AMA."

This Pandamnit holding pattern can seem a little like a time loop some days so I guess I wasn’t surprised that it’s September. I just had a very nice birthday (as good as could be expected) and am circling back to a list I was going to make one of these days, when that was maybe a month ago. I looked at this tweet that Tasha made and thought HOW. And the answer is “Hey that is someone with better boundaries than me, maybe.” Because it’s a challenge, right? I am a little underemployed. I am a helper-type person. There is always work to be done. I can do some of it. But, as I learned maybe in March, if you’re giving fractional time to a ton of little organizations, when things get tough and you’re asked to give a little more, that can quickly snowball.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere (thought it was here but it was not) about the Discardia model, of trying to only have 5-6 “buckets” of stuff in your life. For many people work and family are two of those buckets and then you can have one for hobbies, one for civics, whatever. I go back and forth between feeling like I have too many and then too few. So, I decided to make a list of “buckets” that aren’t my usual work and family buckets.

  • VT Humanities Council Finance Committee (I am good with numbers)
  • VT Humanities Council Membership and Governance Committee (helping get a more diverse board)
  • VT Humanities Council Technology and Access Committee (who better than me?)
  • 251 Club Board (obvs.)
  • Vermont Library Association Technology Person (a natural fit!)
  • Vermont Library Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee (of course)
  • VT State Library Committee on Mailing List Etiquette (don’t laugh!)
  • VT Mutual Aid Society Qualifying Authority for Print Disabled Access at the Internet Archive (helpful!)
  • American Library Association VT Chapter Councilor (someone had to)
  • Town of Randolph Conservation Commission (I do the website)
  • Town of Randolph Board of Civil Authority (comes with my JP role)
  • Town of Randolph Board of Abatement (likewise)
  • Learned League Official Rules Committee
  • Learned League Official Rules Committee Leadership
  • Learned League League Naming Committee (for choosing new League names)
  • Wikipedia Library resource application approver

Most of these are pretty low-engagement commitments. A meeting a a month, maybe some homework in-between. Some of them are more busy generally–the Archive work is a mini-job–and some get busy at certain times. During election times, there’s at least one whole day of poll work and a few meetings. And right before Humanities Council board meetings all the committees try to meet and touch base. I’m pretty sensitive to “This meeting could have been an email” situations and I’m lucky not to get into them too often.

All this is to say, I haven’t felt isolated, even as my in-person contacts are few and far between (and masked and distanced). At the same time, I just now finally sewed those three buttons back on my duvet cover, a project I’d been meaning to work on since March (Three buttons! It took 15 minutes!). So part of my “prepping for the colder months” is going to be trying to carve out some time for the Keep Jessamyn’s Nonsense Running Smoothly Committee and the Think about Vacuuming Once in a While Committee and the Make More Food From Scratch Working Group. Which nominally means I should probably pick a few other things to remove from that list. But let’s be honest, I probably won’t. Happy Fake Labor Day, dont’ work too hard.