Stupid Policy

So pissed off…never been so upset before…..

Recently we received a memo from the director of the technical department, showing a long complicated calculation of how many books we should catalog in a year, in order to complete our evaluation. According to the formula, we are supposed to multiply 1.00 with the # of easy books we cataloged, 3.54 for harder books, 6.52 for original cataloging…etc. Add the results together. Then we count the number of days we actually worked on cataloging and multiply by 7 hours and the average 6.5 books per hour to come up with a cataloging goal. Then we compare the first number and the goal number together to determine our evaluation score. If we don’t meet our goal by 92%, we wouldn’t receive a score of 3 (on scale of 1-5). Our raise is based on our evaluation score!

They have such high standards that pretty much everyone at EAL would fail. The reasons are because we deal with Asian language, which takes double the time to catalog than English materials. None of us catalogers devote 100%of our time on cataloging either. I, for instance, spend a lot of time working on ordering books, training and supervise student assistants, and all sorts of different projects. I especially would have slower cataloging speed because I only been doing this for 2 years versus others have been cataloging 10 or 20 years. After meeting with our supervisors, they understand our situation and agreed to give us more credits.

But what makes me upset is because I feel like we’re being treated like factory workers. We’re expected to work like machine and produce certain number of books everyday.

“If you don’t meet the numbers, you fail!”


I feel evaluating our performance base solely on the numbers of books we cataloged isn’t really a fair representation of what we actually do. We’re all different levels of catalogers working on different types of materials. Imposing a set standard on us is like forcing a group of people with different heights to have the exact same height. Shouldn’t an evaluation be more individualized? We should compare our performance with previous years and see if we have shown any progress/improvements or learned any new skill. It should also take our number of years of experience, technical background, the types of material we work on, and the quality of work in consideration to determine if we are good workers.

Judging us by the statistics is just plain stupid. That way everyone would start focusing more on speed rather than quality of the work. End results would be everyone produce a lot of lousy and useless records. I brought up this quality vs. quantity issue at the meeting. But the supervisor just told me they will come up with quality standards next year. We start with quantity standards first….


I wanted to voice these opinions at the meeting, but I was too scared and too chicken to say anything out loud. I can tell there’s probably not much use even if I had said anything because the supervisors are determined to keep us under their controls. Everyone else was upset too, but no one dared to say anything. When asked if we agree to do this, the room went silent and few people forced out “guess we have to…” answers. I can tell no one is willing to do this but we have no other choices but to follow the policy.

USC does a lot of stupid things like these. Lately our department made a lot of useless nonsense changes. For example, they transferred the head of the main library to the technical department. She doesn’t have any technical background and she has no idea what she’s supposed to do there. It seems like a demotion for her. They also gave the director position of a social science center to a non-librarian, instead of an accredited librarian who has more experiences. Stuff like these really made us wonder: “What are those administrators thinking?”

Anyway, I guess that’s work. You gotta do what you have to do and follow a bunch of idiots. Such is life…..

1 thought on “Stupid Policy

  1. Hey… so sorry to hear about this, this really sux… I agree with you… and university setting sometimes makes it so much harder because of all the politics, administration on top administration, director on top of directors, and sometimes you feel your voice is so insignificant no matter how hard you fight… we sort of went through the same thing here not too long ago. A bunch of students got together and really fought for something we believed in… and in the end… the deans nodded their head, showed that they have listened to us, and basically did nothing about it. 🙁 yeah… it’s quite frustrating…

    well, hang in there~~ Hope things work out for you~~ hug~~

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