During the course of my internship, I have found myself thinking, more often than not, how much I love my job. I didn’t really think until think until this morning, however, about how good of a sign that is. I mean, a lot of my feelings are certainly influenced by the people I work worth. It would be very difficult to not be happy with the friendly, joking, crossword puzzle-loving staff I work with. (The crossword puzzle thing is a little intense. We were almost late unlocking the doors yesterday because we were so engrossed in the Thursday NYT puzzle!)
Even if I separate my feelings for the staff from the job, I realized I find my job to be extremely fulfilling. I get to touch the stuff of history, investigate the context behind collections and learn about things I never would have imagined. So far, just in the few months I have been working, I have gained knowledge about Native American salmon fishing rights, dam construction, and mining! And the most amazing part has been that I get to experience it through the eyes of those who lived it and cared about these things. I have felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished a collection and I know it will be out in the world for others to use and experience. I almost jumped for joy when, after telling a friend about the fishing rights collection I worked on, he proceeded to email the information to one of his friends who was writing a thesis on a related topic.
Everything about being an archivist is active. We are constantly preserving and spreading history. I do not just process collections to hide them in the stacks, I want people to use them. Some of my biggest projects have been with digitization. Just this past week, I worked with almost 1500 photographs documenting the building of a local dam, attaching citations and watermarks and uploading them to our website. I feel great about being finished, partly because it was a lot of work, but mostly because now people will have greater access to the images and it may peak their interest in other resources we have to offer.
I feel wonderful about my job every day, even when I am exhausted and cannot stand to look at Photoshop or Contentdm or blueprints of mining equipment any longer. I know that I am, in a small way, impacting someone in their love of history and their search for that elusive historical truth and I hope I will always feel this way. If I surround myself with people like the staff I currently work with, I know I will.