Qraig’s Quest – Job De-“Script”-ion by Qraig de Groot
One of the biggest issues I have (and I do have a few) is that I’m not the most outgoing person. Many times, I’m downright shy –especially when it comes to talking about me and my career aspirations. And this has proven to be a serious disadvantage in my job search!
I really didn’t become an introvert until entering junior high. Before that, I was a happy-go-lucky kid who would talk to anyone. The 6th grade class even voted me “Mr. Congeniality!” They also named me “Best Dressed,” but that’s not important right now.
It was all downhill after grammar school. By high school, I didn’t have many friends and spent most nights alone in my room doing things many shy kids do – watching tv, writing fanciful stories and reading the classics. But we’re not here to psychoanalyze the reasons for my timidity. The fact is; my shyness was hindering my library-related job search and something needed to be done. But what?
As many of you are well aware, one of the most common questions asked to a recent MLIS grad is, “What do you want to do with your degree?” Now if you’re not looking to be a public or school library, the question can lead to a lot of confusion on both sides. “If you don’t want to be a librarian, then why did you study to be a librarian?” It all comes down to semantics and then trying to explain what you can and want to do.
But this is where my problem arises. I have a hard time putting into words what I want to do. I get nervous, stumble over my own tongue and end up confusing whoever asked the question in the first place. I cower away from the question and in the end, I’m no closer to explaining what I want to do and they’re no clearer on understanding what kind of jobs I’m capable of doing – perhaps even at the company they work.
After hearing me fumble my way through job related question after job related question, my boyfriend Jamey highly “suggested” that I write down what I’d say the next time someone asked, “What do you want to do?”
“You should really prepare a script,” Jamey advocated. That way, not only will I get a grasp of what I want to say, I’d also get a better sense of what I really want to do. “When you get it clear on paper, it will become clear in your mind.” As someone who’s better getting my point across through writing rather than speaking, I knew this “script” could be a great way to help me in networking and job searching.
I got right to work on my script and found it rather easy to articulate my goals and ambitions onto paper. Eventually reaching my final draft, I was quite impressed with myself. My spiel would begin by explaining what I’d ideally love to be doing – “working in a company’s library or research department helping other employees with any informational gathering needs they may have.” From there I’d touch upon all the other types of positions a person with an MLIS degree could do including “data or records specialists who basically collect, catalog, file and store a business’s array of documents, information and data…”
After this I would segue into another interest of mine – archiving and then finish with a brief synopsis of how technology has come to play an important role in many of the jobs I could conceivably be hired for. “There are new positions popping up all the time with titles like data officer, metadata specialist, digital archivist and even information architect – but they all basically come back to the essence of what a person with an MLIS can do – collect, maintain and distribute information.”
Jamey got a test run of my speech and after making of few suggested tweaks, I continued practicing on my cats – Wednesday and Pugsley until we all felt it was a solid “pitch” and truly gave insight into what I wanted to do. Now, I just needed to 1) memorize it and 2) make it sound like I wasn’t reading off a script. Man, if I knew this would be part of my job search I would’ve paid a lot more attention in that “Intro to Acting” class I took for easy credit during my undergrad days!
Anyway, a few nights after preparing a script some friends invited us out for dinner thereby giving me the first chance to run it by someone besides Jamey and the cats. “Don’t be nervous,” Jamey championed before heading out. “Just really get across what you want to do and how they might be able to help.” I nodded and began to mull over my script, getting more nervous the closer we got to the restaurant.
It had been a while since we saw our friends so I should’ve been excited to see them. Instead, I was sweating bullets and just waiting for the prerequisite, “So what are you looking to do, Qraig?” But this time, even though my innate shyness would certainly try to shut me down – I’d rebel and would answer concisely and confidently.
“Let’s get some wine,” I suggested. I needed something to calm my nerves.
The conversation and wine flowed. We talked about our friends’ recent trip overseas and about what sounded good on the menu. We ordered more wine. Jamey chatted about his job and one friend told us all about what was going on at his place of business. And then our other friend turned to me and asked, “So how’s your job search going?”
So, it wasn’t the same question I’d been preparing, but was basically similar. And my memorized script wasn’t set in stone. It would need to be geared toward certain audiences, cut apart, dissected, offered up in various ways and even improvised – but with my points still getting across. Again, why didn’t I pay more attention in “Intro to Acting” class?
I smiled, took a sip of wine and began, “Well, thanks for asking. I’ve been looking very hard – really trying to network and get the word out there of what I’m capable of doing and what do I want to do.”
“And what do you want to do?”
There it was. The question I was ready for. After another gulp of wine, I plowed ahead and gave the speech that Jamey and my cats were so familiar with. It flowed out quite easily and even with a few stutters, sputters and hesitations, I caught my friends listening intently and nodding interestedly. Winding down, I took another gulp of wine.
My friends smiled as one of them said, “Well, if anything along those lines pops up at my job, I will definitely keep you in mind.” And with that, we proceeded to dig into our meals – and a few more glasses of wine.
On the way home, I thanked Jamey for giving a shy guy like me the idea to write a script. Having it really proved useful. Of course, all that wine I consumed probably helped a lot too.
Jamey and I have a few outings planned with friends over the next month or so. And there is also a family wedding on the horizon. It’s inevitable that someone is going to ask me ‘the question.’ Unlike in the past, I now have a secret weapon to use in getting over that shyness hurdle I once faced…and it’s not wine.
Unless the question comes up at the wedding reception. Then there might be a few glasses of wine helping me overcome my bashfulness. But, I will still remember my script and use it to my full advantage.
Qraig recently earned his MLIS from Rutgers University with a concentration in Digital Libraries. He is currently looking for a job. Ideally, he’d love to be the first billionaire librarian, but at this point he’d settle for anything where his skills and education can be utilized. Paid vacation time and health benefits wouldn’t hurt either.
Still a Jersey boy at heart (and will always be), Qraig currently resides in Manhattan where he spends much of his time watching ridiculously trite reality television, reading astonishingly atrocious autobiographies, writing preposterous prose and cleaning up after his two black cats. It’s truly a life of which dreams are made. He may be contacted at qdegroot at rutgers.edu.