Resilience narratives place individuals in charge of filling in or taking responsibility for system failures (Berg, Galvan, & Tewell 2018). People who are faced with such narratives often hear colloquialisms like “do more with less,” or, upon sharing their workplace concerns about lack of resources or support, are admonished to have “grit.” When resilience narratives are enacted on low morale victims, they often (are made to) feel guilty for asking for support or their requests for assistance may be weaponized against them. Resilience narrative data show up in all of my low morale studies, as indicated below (Note: for public librarians dealing with low morale, resilience narrative exposure is elevated to an impact factor – see study).
“[I]t was our new chief academic officer. You know, the one saying, ‘if the student assistants don’t make enough progress at the end of the day, then you all are expected to stay however late you need to into the night and make sure that daily quota is met,’ and that, to me was just like…you know, this is not, you know – I don’t know, it made me think of the movie Norma Rae [Laughs], you know, where you have these workers who are just treated like property, without any consideration for their well-being, because you just want the work done, you know – and since you want it done, it’s going to be done, regardless of the cost. Certainly not what I think the environment in higher education is supposed to be – the work environment.” – Low Morale in Academic Librarians study participant (administrator), circa 2016
“…[W]e went through the whole search process and then they cut it and expected us to be open 24 hours with student workers. Unsupervised student workers… We had to start immediately ‘how are we going to do these hours.’ We had to hire new students and train them, and so it sort of put us into sort of like, panic mode – like, we’ve got to put out this fire because we need to hire someone last week to get them trained to do this in a couple of days, you know? So it kind of put where we almost didn’t have time to react because we had to hit the ground running, you know? Like, we were so busy, too, trying to compensate for it, that we that we had to hit the ground running.” – Low Morale in Academic Librarians study participant (media information services), circa 2016
“The problem is that administration doesn’t support it. Like they support us but we have to ban these, the people. We ban them from the library but then what administration does is they’re like, ‘Well, you know, maybe you shouldn’t have banned them for this amount of time. You know. What did you do differently?’ I was like, ‘I was called a [expletive], what did you expect me to do?’ You know?” – Low Morale in Public Librarians study participant (Spanish outreach services), circa 2019
Berg, J., Galvan, A, & Tewell, E. (2018). Responding to and reimagining resilience in academic libraries. Journal of New Librarianship, 3(1): 1- 4.