by Sara Dixon, Head Editor, INALJ Kansas
The Library Job Search: A Trip Upstream
Recently I went kayaking on the Wakulla River in north Florida. The day was beautiful, and I was so optimistic. As I started paddling upstream, as the tide was going out and making it rather difficult, I was struck by just how analogous the job search was to this kayaking trip. Bear with me, folks. I know it might sound cheesy.
Over the last couple weeks, I’ve seen my share of rejection. It is hard to remain optimistic in the midst of rejection. It’s like paddling upstream as the tide is going out. The trip upstream seems to be rather long for those of us trying to break into the library field. I keep hearing stories of our colleagues working for 1 to 2 years or more before getting a job. That’s a lot of rejection to face.
But as with kayaking, the trip does not have to be all difficulty. When kayaking on the spring-fed Wakulla River, I have often seen manatees swimming beside and under my boat. The river has beautiful, majestic trees that line each bank, with Spanish moss dripping down. I see abundant wild birds, turtles, and even alligators (which are not scary until they start moving under the water). In the job search, it can be difficult to see the magical moments if you just concentrate on paddling upstream against the current and neglect to witness the beauty of what’s going on.
Ok, I know you are thinking, “But, Sara, what magical moments are there in the job search?” Ok, so maybe magical is a little too far of a stretch. But there are good things about the stressful job search. Each interaction, whether an application submission, a follow-up, a phone call, or an interview: they are all learning experiences. They become opportunities to reflect on where we have been in our lives and where we hope to go. I have also begun networking as a part of my job search. Networking with my fellow head editors in the INALJ group and other librarians in the field has been hugely rewarding. It’s a great group of people that I may not have met otherwise. So I will keep paddling, because eventually, inevitably I will get to turn around and drift downstream. And I will find magical moments in that too.
Good luck out there!