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 webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its 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. INALJ has had over 20.5 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians 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 one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.