by Fallon Bleich, Head Editor, INALJ Oklahoma
Don’t Let Job Searching Become a Path to Losing Your Mind
I have a dirty little secret: I’m thoroughly enjoying NOT job searching at the moment. But, I just graduated and I need a job right now, right? And how can I work for INALJ and not be involved in a job search? The answer to both of those is that while I love librarianship and cannot wait to get started in my first full-time position with my newly earned Librarian title, I also need some breathing room. After 5 years of figuring out what I want to do, studying for the GRE, taking the GRE, filling out application after application, then surviving 3 years of LIS schooling…I’m a little burnt out. I’ve “lost myself”, if you will.
Of course, this is all of my own making; I did take on volunteer gigs and a part-time library job in addition to my full-time non-library job. I also went to 4 conferences in a year’s span (and presented virtually at a few in between) and completed the Emerging Leaders program this year. The benefits of all of that are amazing, but the stress that comes with it? Not so much. When I graduated in May, I did start the whole application process and put a lot of resumes out there. However, when I realized that I was not only feeling super stressed out (which should definitely not be happening when you just finished grad school!) but also depressed, I knew it was time to take a break.
So, what can be done about the whole job search stress situation? My advice in 3 simple steps:
1.) Be ok with taking a break. Repeat after me: “It is OK to take a step back”. It really is. The number one thing that I was shocked at is that everyone I’ve broken the news to about my job search hiatus has been incredibly supportive. Nobody wants to hire a burnt out person, and you don’t want to start your job that way either. You’ll just end up hating life and your job. So, don’t do it!
2.) Lay out some ground rules. Now, what’s not ok is taking a forever break. Don’t let your stress burn you out to the point that you never want to apply to another job. Start out with setting out how much time you want to take (i.e. 6 mos, 1 year, etc.); also, for me, I can’t completely ignore job postings as a.) they’re part of my job here at INALJ and b.) I still want to know that what I want to do is out there and will be out there. I also don’t say no to applying to jobs that I’m a perfect fit for, but what I’m not doing is massive stay-up-to-the-wee-hours job searches. In other words, I’m not stressing over being unemployed in my field. Obviously, this is not for everybody—some people absolutely need a job right now—but if you’re currently in a comfortable position and just not in your dream job, you have the luxury of taking the slower path.
3.) Re-connect with your life. Take up your hobbies again. Read really fluffy books. Read non-fluffy books. Go out and enjoy summer activities. Take a vacation. Volunteer. Just whatever you do, remember this: Your life is not all about your career. Don’t be the person who always strives for something and never enjoys the moment. A happy librarian is a more effective one!