To Greet or not to Greet

Do you greet people? This question is pretty broad so I’ll elaborate. Let’s take the workplace or classroom as an example. Do you make it a point to greet your coworkers or classmates unsolicited? As for me, I want to greet people out of courtesy and a basic acknowledgement of their presence. I will admit that I often, though, take cues from others and adjust accordingly. In an ideal world, all things being equal, I would love to enter a room with people or meet someone in a walkway and be assured of a return greeting or at least a smile or head nod. Unfortunately, this is not the case because there are people out there who don’t share that greeting philosophy. There are some people who will never initiate greeting others or who just won’t greet others even if said greeting is offered first.

I could chalk this up to introversion, but being introverted doesn’t excuse being rude. Greeting another is a low risk proposition. It doesn’t mean you have to engage in a conversation or share information. It is just an acknowledgement of presence. It irks me when folks don’t speak to or greet me. I immediately categorize them as rude and after a while, I don’t greet them at all. I admit this makes a mountain out of a molehill in a sense and calls attention (in my mind) to the awkward quiet that takes the place of the non greeting.

For example, there is an individual at my part time job whom I’ve worked with for about 6 months. We’ve talked a couple of times about work related things. I soon noticed that she never initiates greetings. After a while, I stopped greeting her. I see her and it’s like my mind shifts and accepts it: oh she doesn’t want to speak. It is unfortunate because as much as I don’t want it to affect me it does. It’s like there’s a block there when she enters a room. This magnifies and corrupts the space in ways that it shouldn’t. There are others for whom not speaking doesn’t bother me. I greet them and move on, not waiting for a reply. Is it that I am afraid that her non-greeting diminishes me somehow. I do feel like I’m giving off negative vibes and being something other than who I am, a friendly person.

Who am I to judge others and their speaking/greeting patterns? Yes, I was raised to say, “hello”, especially to people I knew. Perhaps these people I’m encountering weren’t taught the same thing.

There are times, though, when I’m feeling particularly high on life. I walk into a room and am simply happy to be there. I don’t notice, really, who greets me back or not. Instead, I’m only interested in being surrounded by the goodness that I feel. There have been times when I’ve tried to be this way even when I wasn’t feeling it. In other words, I would greet people willy nilly. If they didn’t greet me back or never initiate, I wouldn’t let that affect my actions. I’m not always consistent with this. If I’m feeling blah, I might give back perceived negative energy.

Well, people are people and social morays can make things awkward. In most cases, people do come around, I’ve found. What does coming around mean? In some cases, we all become more comfortable with each other and greeting is second nature and/or we go beyond the greeting.

What have your experiences been with greeting? What type of greeter are you?

A Sweet Spot

The sun rises and sets. Somehow in the natural rhythm of the daily ebbs and flows, I have found a sweet spot. Specifically, I have happened upon a professional sweet spot. I am calmer and less graspy for some idealized job.

This summer when I began working part time at the public library, I surveyed the territory and thought, I could do this every day. I don’t have an MLIS degree nor the desire to attain a third Master’s degree with its concomitant load of debt. Thankfully, there are positions in my library system that don’t require the degree. At that time, I longed for the obligatory 6 month probationary period to elapse so that I could apply for a full time position. In the interim, I began a robust job searching campaign. I soon found that good paying non-MLIS library positions were rare.

I decided to dip my toe back into education by getting on the substitute teacher list. In what seemed like seconds, I accepted a position as a stellar substitute at an elementary school in my previous public school district. In this position, I am a substitute at one school every day. I soon found myself with two jobs. I wasn’t willing to give up the library job as I was still hoping for a chance to apply for a full time position. I began straddling two jobs. After the initial excitement wore off–the thrill of the interview and offer–I became a little weary.

I am pretty much expert at being a new face. It can be a drag, though. Not knowing anyone. Trying to find your comfortable nook. This was particularly difficult for me in my position which was nomadic by its very nature. As the one substituting for others, I don’t have a home. I’m like a turtle, most days carrying everything on my back. Soon the students made me feel at home by greeting me in the halls enthusiastically all day, everyday. Upon hearing that I would be their sub, they would cheer. “You have to love that greeting,” one teacher remarked. As a previous full-time teacher, I was somewhat jaded and not as wowed by that response–at least inwardly. And then there was the bone tiredness that came with working for 8 hours at school and then another 4 or 2 hours at the library 3 days a week and a full day on the weekend. My tired was tired. I began to question how long I was going to last. I was here a couple of weeks ago.

Slowly (for me but not really that slowly), I didn’t feel so new at school. It was announced that the library was putting new hiring on hold. While I’m positioned to apply for/accept a permanent teaching position or a non-MLIS library position, I shrug my shoulders, unswayed by on or the other. Right now I am both, and that is okay. Standing still is moving forward.

So I’ve found a sweet spot. My palms are open, not looking for some new opportunity, save the opportunity to serve.