Grass is Greener?

by Richard James, Head Editor, INALJ Delaware

Grass is Greener?

profile picIn the corporate/commercial world, it’s becoming a reasonable expectation that many employees, particularly younger ones, are not going to commit long-term to their new employer. Cultural and economic shifts on both sides of the employer/employee divide have taken us a long way from the type of expectation that a DuPonter would have had up until about 30 years ago, where a good job, adequately recompensed, would bind both parties in a mutual relationship- perhaps for an entire lifetime of employment.


So how do you answer “what do you expect to be doing in five years time” when you are sitting at the interview table? Libraries have not been  subject to the same trends in the HR world- at least not at the same rate of change. It still seems normal to work with people who have been in their position or in other positions at the same institution for 10, 20 years or more. But is it reasonable to expect that libraries will continue to see this continue? Even so, is it desirable?


It’s a tricky dynamic during the interview stage- and it’s well known that job-skipping is not an attractive resume trait. But there’s a natural tendency for job seekers, particularly those starting out in the field, to always be looking for a new and better position. Pay scales vary pretty widely between institutions, and the same dynamic that creates long-term employment for some means that some new positions may in fact be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity! As long as your application or overall trajectory isn’t obviously lateral, I don’t think there is any harm in  applying for new jobs even if you’ve only been working for a short while.


In these times, unfortunately, there is far less mutuality between employees and employers. But it does work both ways- an employer who is cutting positions and budget probably wouldn’t give you four weeks notice! Maybe it’s not too unreasonable to think that an employer shouldn’t have higher standards for their staff than they would practice for themselves.

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.