Ego Tripping at the Gates of the Library Job Hunt

by R.C. Miessler, former Head Editor, INALJ Indiana
previously published 6/4/13

Ego Tripping at the Gates of the Library Job Hunt

rcmiesslerIt’s been said a thousand ways in a myriad of contexts, but finding a library job right now is tough. This isn’t new news to any of us looking right now. What’s tough to wrap our heads around at times is that librarians are used to being the smart kids–we’re the ones who did well in school, worked our asses off to get the necessary degrees and are constantly trying to put our best foot forward in the form of cover letters, resumes and references. Therefore, we may not immediately recognize (or we at least mentally block it out) that we’re competing against a lot of other smart people, and not just people right out of school, but also people who have a lot of experience. It’s pretty intimidating to be going head-to-head with other librarians. That being said, the job search often feels as if we are passing through a gate inscribed with “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” so here are the circles of Hell from Dante’s Inferno, adapted for library job hunters.

1. Limbo: waiting for hiring managers and committees to get back to us.

2. Lust: spending hours prepping our application for the perfect job that aligns exactly with our interests, skills and training.

3. Gluttony: the sick realization that our cover letter and/or resume is probably too long.

4. Greed: not seeing a salary range on a job listing and wondering if it is worth our time.

5. Wrath: using websites that require us to copy and paste our immaculately formatted resume into tiny plain text boxes, only to be asked to attach our resume at the end anyway.

6. Heresy: hearing that librarians have one of the worst jobs, or getting the inevitable “you really need a master’s degree for that?” question. Bonus: having your friends throw out a random DDC number and asking you what book it is.

7. Violence: beating ourselves up for not having a librarian job, turning down an opportunity that just doesn’t work for us, or getting the damn degree in the first place.

8. Fraud: finding out that a job description was left on a website far beyond the apply-by date, or discovering it is already filled by an internal applicant and just posted to fulfill HR requirements.

9. Treachery: when the “preferred” qualifications seem to indicate a completely different job than what the “required” qualifications expect … or just completely unrealistic qualifications for an obviously entry-level job. Bonus: seeing an MLS is “optional” on a librarian job.

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