by Fallon Bleich, Head Editor, INALJ Oklahoma
On Thinking Outside the Box
Now, obviously, as librarians, we all love books and libraries, but many of us also get very specific with our career paths. I can’t tell you how many fellow MLIS students start their intro posts in each class with “I’m getting this degree to be an academic librarian” or “I’m currently trying to become a children’s librarian”. Nobody ever says “I want to do taxonomy for Sears”, but so many of us love cataloging, right? My point is that at INALJ, we work hard to give you a wide variety of job types out there; I know I personally try to grab anything that sounds like an MLIS candidate could do it. We librarians may have the stereotype of cardigans, glasses, and shushing, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t rock at so many different jobs.
Most of us don’t just decide to get an MLIS because we’re bored. Personally, I started my MLIS with the intention to go into museum or archival work. However, after wandering down my career path so far, I’ve learned that gaining a MLIS degree means so much more than I thought.
How did I come to this decision?
Basically, I threw myself into anything that came my way that I was remotely interested in.
By doing that, I’ve discovered a love of art, a love of helping people—very important for librarians!—and a great love of public libraries. Volunteer gigs, committees, and job experience have all contributed to me leaping outside of my “career box” and finding that I may not be crystal clear on where I want to head with this degree. Don’t get me wrong, if I got offered the perfect archival job tomorrow, I wouldn’t turn it down, but now I also wouldn’t turn down a YA librarian gig or a research librarian gig or heck, even a non-library gig, such as a social media consultant or taxonomist. My box is now no longer a box, and instead, I have a list of things that I know that I love and am wonderful at, and that makes my job search so much less stressful. So, don’t be afraid to apply to a job that isn’t on your chosen path. You may just find that you love it.