The What-if Loop
Librarian Seeking …
‘Dear Hiring Manager’… it’s how most of my cover letters start.
I (Heather) did my morning job search again. For those who don’t know, I’m a librarian. It’s what helps me get to the nitty-gritty of history and culture that Chris and I write about. I do love delving into research. It doesn’t always matter what it’s about most of the time. I can say without reserve that I’m a great researcher. I love the challenge of it. I love helping other people with it.
I’ve done it ‘professionally’ since 2007. Yet, I’ve done it for fun and paper-writing since I was maybe 8 or 9. Since the first time the teachers at School of the Woods taught us to research and use the Chicago citation style. It was a way of showing what I’d read and comprehended. It was heady, like a taste of honey. I thought that this would allow others to see that there was more to me than freckles, weird hair, and glasses. The librarians seemed to be all-knowing goddesses (and gods as well) of wisdom that went through cards sometimes to find topics. Other times, they’d just pause for a moment and lead me to the reference non-fic shelves and explain that what the numbers on the book stickers meant. They simply memorized where things were. We all have done it.
Anyways, it was a joy that I forgot about for years during high school and college.
I chose poorly for that first career, but sometimes mistakes have to be made.
In the meantime, I found a passion for storytelling. I took jobs, found others, left jobs, felt frustrated, and found someone who enjoyed a good yarn, like I did.
I realized how much time I spent in libraries, got mistaken for a librarian umpty jillion times, and took it to be a sign that I needed to become one. So, I went to grad school, got the masters, found a part-time research job, and started applying for another job… a full-time one that would have ‘librarian’ somewhere in the title.
I took a job at a city library system and worked there for four and a half years. Sometimes, the job was satisfying. Other times it was simply frustrating and stinky. I got a new job and felt much more satisfied there. I was the only librarian and handled everything for the ‘branch’. I shelved, I checked out, I budgeted, I bought. I did everything that I learned in my grad. program and more.
Now, my workplace is closing. I have been told it will be a certain date next year, but who knows… it could be sooner. In the meantime, the search begins anew, and there are many librarians in the city, searching for opportunities like me.
I’m consumed by what-if’s these days. What if we close early? What if I can’t find a job? What if I’m not what such and such employer wants, what if, what if.
So, there you have it. I’m stuck in a what-if loop.
I will keep writing… that’s not an option, but I do need to make money, somehow.
As usual, the job search is frustrating. I see postings for various jobs and feel nervous seeing that they are for aspects of librarianship that I don’t enjoy. I’m not a cataloger (sure I do it at work, but it’s not the hardcore classification people that these jobs are seeking)… I also see suggestions for job-searchers and find that the job-search terms are inaccurate and horrible. Do a specific search for something the ALA suggests like ‘research lead’ and you will come up with thousands of jobs that have nothing to do with librarianship. Yet, the all-knowing powers that be in librarianship insist that there are plenty of opportunities there. Yeah… sure.
So for the first time in awhile, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m a great researcher, but that’s a small part of the job for many of these openings. I can handle instructing people on how to research and all that sort of ballyhoo… but I feel like a librarian failure because I am not a classification guru, a marketing / programming master, a children’s librarian, and so forth. Nor do I seem to have the inclination towards any of these. Classification scatters my brain, sometimes, marketing and being ‘on’ is difficult for introverts at times, not to mention that I hate dealing with children. A small group is okay, but I’m not a jump up and down with a big smile type. I’m a ‘here’s the picture books and there’s the fiction and non-fiction books’ kind of librarian. I’m okay with the teenagers who want to read and write, as I can see the old me in them.
Plus, I’m a teensy bit limited in that I’m not willing to relocate, at this time. Texas may be awfully hot and sort of backwards sometimes, but it has a lot of festivals and events in the state. We need to stay here so we can continue going to events.
There are some job possibilities. One possibility is 40 miles away, and I did that schtick for four years. I’m not wanting to make an 80 mile round trip again. I’d love to do it if I could be the research assistance available by phone / IM/ email, but that drive is a killer.
So, I’m not sure what to do. I can job search and interview, yet part of me wants to write a script or two. Not sure when / how / what, but why not? Yet, part of me feels like I’m giving up if I don’t keep searching and then what if I can’t find anything. It takes most librarians a year or two to find work in their community. Last time, it took me almost two years to find another job, while I was working, which makes me feel that my worth as a librarian is nil. I’m sure many people who are out of work feel this way, which makes me feel worse. I’m sad because I may not have a job soon, and there are other people who have it way worse than I who manage to be okay and handle the change better than I am.
Now lets leave the whine-fest behind.
There is a new katbaby in the house. Her name is Brigid, and she’s adorable. The boys still seem to miss Empress Ophelia, but Clyde and Brigid love to play and wrassle. They even groom each other. Lucius, while preferring human companionship to kitty, is still protective of her.
We’ll have to post some pictures of her soon. She’s very talkative and loves attention.
So there’s that bit of hope. Brigid has settled in well. I still cry for Ophie, every once in awhile. After crying every day for over a week, I went to see the chiropractor, who helped a little with an adjustment and some supplements. He also told me that I had every right to cry and be sad.
I guess I need to allow myself time to deal with the possibility of uncertainty.
Yet, there is some good news. Book four is almost done in the editing process.
Soon… gentle reader…soon.
Book Signing this Weekend!
For those wishing to venture out towards Bastrop, Texas, Sherwood Forest Faire is hosting their annual Celtic Music Festival. Christopher will be performing a reading at the stone circle, and both Chris and I will be there to sign books. We have a new banner to display, so stop on by. For more information about the Sherwood Forest Celtic Music Festival, click on the link I just typed.