The Sky Isn’t Falling

by Amelia Zavala Vander Heide, Head Editor, INALJ NYC

The Sky Isn’t Falling

amelia_vanderheideLooking for a job can be extremely stressful, overwhelming, and time consuming.  Whether you have some professional experience or no professional experience, like me when I graduated, the job hunt can start to seem insurmountable. No matter how many times someone tells you can it can take 6 months, one year, or even longer, it still seems like it should be different. Here are some tricks that helped me not focus on the negative.

1.       Where you are now isn’t where you are always going to be. I know it might be cliché and silly, but it’s true. Maybe you didn’t get the dream job. Or maybe you lost your totally awesome dream job. It is important in times of struggle to reflect. Take stock in what is going right in your life. I always try to remember as long as I have a roof over my head, gas in my car, and food in my pantry, I’m doing better than a majority of people in the world. Remember, every day brings new challenges, but also new opportunities.

 2.       Lay off the social media. I know, I know, you’re thinking “but how am I supposed to network?” Researchers seem to agree that social media outlets, such as Facebook, can make us unhappy. It is great to try and stay connected, but if you ever find yourself scrolling through page after page of updates or begrudging your friend’s new job, it might be time to put on the brakes. Try to limit how much time a day you spend on social media, and you might just find yourself feeling better.

 3.       What’s the worst that could happen? I am by nature a little bit of a worrier. My husband has been known to call me Chicken Little. Still there are times where you just have to put yourself out there. I entered library school with no previous library experience. I knew that I had to do an internship. Between working full-time and being a full-time student, I was overwhelmed, and I really wanted an internship close to home. There was a small university near where I used to live. I knew they had offered previous internships through my school, but I wasn’t sure if they were currently seeking interns. I went for it anyway. I found a contact person, sent them an e-mail, and in a few short months I had an internship. I thought if the worst thing that could possibly happen is they never call back, then that is a risk I am willing to take. I tried to approach all my past job searches this way.

 4.       Be honest with yourself. When I started library school I, imagined myself as some metadata/web librarian, working out of a back office at a nondescript university. I never thought that I would be a public librarian doing story time and helping elderly patrons use their Kindles. I also never thought I would love it. My job is quite awesome. After two different internships, I discovered some things about myself. I missed working with kids and teens, and my favorite times of the day were when I was on the reference desk helping people.  If I had not been honest with myself about what I really enjoyed, I would have never applied for the position I have now.

Even though finding a job is stressful, we’re here every day rooting for you.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


  1 comment for “The Sky Isn’t Falling

  1. LCS
    February 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I agree with all you say. I would, however, note that it can be much harder for those of us who are older, lost library jobs and are not married. I had to take a job out of the profession in order to keep the roof over my head, the food on my table, and gas in my car. I am so afraid that no one will want to give me a chance in the library world again. I wish INALJ would do more to address the issues of job seekers over 50, who suffered layoffs and don’t have the ability to work free at internships and as volunteers. I am glad you got a great job, I agree there is nothing so fun as the challenge and interaction at the reference desk. I hope you have a long, fulfilling, and “layoff free” career.

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