by Lisa Iannucci, Senior Assistant, INALJ New Jersey
A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That
When I first received my M.L.I.S. degree, I was dead set on a full-time position in the archives field. The Great Recession seemed to be abating, and the jobs numbers were on an upswing. However, New Jersey, where I make my home, continued to lag behind economically, and the pickings were slim even for part-time archives positions. I knew it was time to move on from the full-time library assistant position I had held for several years, but was reluctant to take the first step, as I would be losing benefits and the security of a stable job in a public library.
But fate has a way of interceding; my position at the library became untenable due to unforeseen circumstances, and I resigned in the summer of 2012. Fortunately, benefits were available through my husband’s employer, and I already had a volunteer situation established, so I would not be sitting at home with too much time on my hands. Instead, I kept busy, keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best. And something miraculous happened. The less I worried about getting a job, the closer I got to finding one. I continued volunteering at the county archives, where the reference archivist suggested I apply at the local community college. They called me almost immediately, and two weeks later I had a part-time job in the reference department. I dropped in at the local historical society and offered to volunteer, and connections I made there led to another part-time position at a nearby public library. And the graduate internship I had completed at a private university led to a part-time position there as an adjunct reference librarian.
I had never pictured myself working in an academic library; now I work in two. I never thought I’d be back in a public library, and now I have a position that could lead to some archives work there. I never thought I’d be juggling three part-time jobs, and yet I find myself totally fulfilled and happy. Because my hours are staggered, I still have time to volunteer doing the archival work I love. I can keep up to date on my reading at the public library. And I can keep my database expertise and technical knowledge sharp in the academic libraries. Is it ideal? Maybe not for someone just starting out in life or for someone who needs a benefits package. But I’m in my early 50s, and don’t have the time to establish a career. However, I still need to keep current, I still want to do archival work, and I still need to earn a paycheck. And I still love books and working with people. So I’ve constructed an employment strategy that encompasses all those things, and it works well for me. And the best part is, I learn something new every single day.
So I guess the lesson here is, don’t overthink and don’t try so hard. As the book says, “do what you love, the money will follow.”