by Sarah Roark Schott, Head Editor, INALJ Arizona
Leaving Archives for Corporate Work, and Loving It
There have been a few posts here at INALJ about leaving the Library profession. Veda Darby Soberman, Head Editor of the Hawaii page wrote about it in July last year, and Naomi House, Head of INALJ, wrote a short piece in June. I know that many of you are struggling to find library or archive jobs while working away at a 9-5 or maybe multiple part time gigs outside of the Information profession. Until a couple of months ago, I was in the same boat. Working a full time job, but keeping INALJ and Indeed searches going at a similar pace as my pre-employment situation. The thing that changed for me was the realization that my full time, non-library/archive job was actually fulfilling and enjoyable. How did I get to that realization, and how can you find work in an environment that is satisfactory despite being outside of the normal post-MLS path?
- I began with a list of companies and institutions I respect.
- Don’t just think about the brands that you love, think about how those companies or institutions support their local and global communities, and their efforts to continually improve their industry.
- It is difficult to find a large corporation that is entirely good, but if you admire programs or charities those companies fund, it can be easier to get excited about working for a corporation with a large footprint.
- Ask yourself, can you work for a company that develops unhealthy or destructive products?
- Working for a business that survives mainly on Department of Defense contracts, or perhaps manufactures cigarettes might be difficult for some job hunters to apply for. However, those are the jobs that pay higher salaries than many public libraries.
- Some of you might not mind smaller paychecks, but many MLS programs come with high tuitions, so a well paid position might be a high priority for you.
Now that you have your list, start applying for openings that sound interesting or that might fit your skill set. As Information Professionals we fit easily into many different settings! Just glance at the Keywords column on the front page of INALJ and you’ll see many of the different skill sets and titles we can have as MLS degree holders. Once you have found an intriguing position, start using your experiences as a problem solver, researcher, knowledge coordinator, and data curator! My experiences in school, libraries and archives taught me how to communicate effectively, weed out the unimportant/unrelated information to find the facts, and how to manage large projects. This is what companies are looking for in new hires, if you convince hiring managers that you are more than just a librarian you can be a great asset to any department.
Finally, keep asking questions! I have found that the more questions I ask, the more I want to learn more about the industry I am in, and that leads to greater fulfillment–at least for me. Becoming an expert in any field you are working in is one of the keys to loving what you do.