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The Novembrists

November 2, 2009

There was a thick, white layer of frost on the lawn yesterday morning, and with that it’s November. And suddenly it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. I know this because when I logged into my e-mail account yesterday morning, the day after Halloween, I found a spate of messages with subject headings like “Jingle Bells” and “Ho ho ho,” all posted shortly after midnight. It made me remember last Halloween’s late night trip to T@rget a few minutes before closing, where I discovered most of the employees assembling giant Christmas boxes for displays.

I also know this because at the coffee shop where I met fairlywell yesterday, there was Sting looking thoughtful on the cover of his Christmas CD at the checkout counter. But Fairly and I did not discuss Christmas. We talked about health insurance and feet. Really, it’s amazing I have any friends at all.

The sun is out – hooray – so I headed out early for a walk this morning before it disappears again. We have reached the time of year where you can’t take sun for granted. I took a long walk along the river and back up through town by way of the road that runs along the country club. A long walk in the sun is an excellent way to start the day. The rest of the day won’t be so relaxing. I have another job application to get out and I need to do one last read through and tweaking of my article, which is headed to the press with the rest of the book this week for final review and a yea or nay. Let’s hope for a yea. Yay. And speaking of yay, I think I forgot to mention that I got my first check from Fancy British University Press – for $20! I don’t even know what it’s for. I’m thinking it might be more valuable framed over my desk than cashed.

I have a long list of highly accomplishable tasks today, which has a way of making me feel highly accomplished. It helps that one of them is the article mentioned above, where, when I look at the suggestions, they are mostly compliments and not changes. And it helps that I trust my editor implicitly. He is very much not like me in the best of all possible ways – you want an editor who gets you but who does things differently. The best polemics are dialogues in disguise and my editor has made me a better thinker and has made me sound so much smarter than I thought I was. It also helps that I am sitting next to a large bowl of freshly toasted pumpkin seeds, golden brown. The bowl was a gift from my niece from Thailand and there is a jaunty rooster painted on it, who appears to be appraising me with one monocled eye.

The most daunting task of the day is determining what to wear to my interview tomorrow. I have never not worn a suit. But I’m not sure my suit is right for this situation, even in its more casual pants version. Certainly I have never seen anyone dressed that way in the library, not even a wayward patron dropping by on the way home from work. Not even close. If there is a uniform there, it is tweedy sweaters and long, lumpy denim skirts with sensible shoes. And yet, what else could I wear? There is not much between in my wardrobe at the moment. But surely there is something between yoga pants and tailored black gabardine.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    November 2, 2009 2:30 pm

    I think you can dress slightly less rumpled than the average librarian. A skirt (not denim) with an ironed (I know!) top is probably good enough.

    I saw the Xmas displays going up today when I bought 50%-off halloween candy.

  2. The Lass permalink
    November 2, 2009 2:32 pm

    I always like to err on the side of (conservative) caution in interviews. Could you wear the suit pants with a nice sweater and some funky jewelry? Mix it up a bit?

  3. November 2, 2009 4:16 pm

    The people I know and am related to who work in college libraries do tend to dress up in suits for “formal” things like receptions and job interviews.

  4. November 2, 2009 4:27 pm

    I would also suggest the suit pants and a sweater of some kind–perhaps a twin set or a cardigan over a nicer blouse. Plus good shoes. Looking pulled together and like you put some thought into the outfit is the important thing in my opinion.

  5. freshhell permalink
    November 2, 2009 4:31 pm

    What they all said – which was what I was trying to say but seem incapable of saying. Clearly I have not had enough candy today. Usually, interviewees dress slightly more formal than what the employees wear so it’s a matter of the particular environment. Which you can’t always know ahead of time. I keep an interview jacket in the closet. Just in case.

  6. November 2, 2009 4:55 pm

    Dress a level up. I do when I meet potential clients (and when I first work with clients until I really see their day to day garb).

  7. November 2, 2009 7:25 pm

    Oh no, I’m sorry. I think I started both the health insurance and feet conversations.

    Good luck with the interview!

  8. November 2, 2009 11:35 pm

    It will all depend on whether I can come up with something that looks professional enough that’s not a suit. One of the hazards of having been out of the work force for a while is a distinct lack of middle-of-the-road clothes. I have suits and suit-like ensembles for conferencing, but not a lot of other stuff. I’m not sure if the pants will work away from the jacket, but I may give that a try. Thanks for all the advice.

  9. The Lass permalink
    November 3, 2009 9:45 am

    Sounds like a good excuse for a trip to Ann Taylor!

  10. crankygirl permalink
    November 3, 2009 9:54 am

    My unwanted advice: go with the suit. You never get penalized for being overdressed.

  11. November 3, 2009 10:01 am

    I am going with the suit, if only because nothing else seems quite polished enough. It’s a pant suit, so it’s not too stuffy and I’m trying to dress it down a bit by wearing it with something that lets me leave the jacket unbuttoned. It’s something I’d wear to teach in, although a little more formal than I usually do. But I figure if it meets that test, it’s not too corporate for the library.

  12. readersguide permalink
    November 5, 2009 10:33 pm

    The librarian’s dilemma.

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