by Sara Dixon, Head Editor, INALJ Kansas
Location, Location, Relocation? My Journey.
Sometime last year, I read a short article about relocating to a city in order to find a job in a specific area. I remember thinking this was kind of backwards. Job first, relocation second. I had always planned on relocating when I found my first library job; I never planned to stay in Florida forever. I found myself applying for several jobs in Kansas and the surrounding states so I could be closer to my family. Even though I was living in Florida, the Midwest has always been very special to me. It’s where I grew up; it’s why I volunteered to run the INALJ Kansas page. But my plan was always clear: job first, relocation to follow.
After a while though, I started to wonder if my living in Florida was somehow having a negative impact on my Midwestern job search. Why should a library in the Midwest take a chance on someone without recent professional library experience living in Florida? I was not in any position to go to Midwestern state conferences when I was living out east. I kept plugging along, though, hoping my charm and job sense would come across on paper and over the phone.
A couple months ago, a family member mentioned something that scared me: what about relocation first…then job? I immediately explained how this was not a viable option because it was too high risk. I had a good job, albeit outside my desired field, and not having an immediate job to jump into was just not going to work. Sure, I did it when I moved to Florida, but I had had a plan…and I was younger. After we hung up the phone, I went through several emotions: disbelief (at the audacity to suggest the opposite of my revered plan), fear (about the unknown), annoyance (what does he even know?), and some self-pity thrown in to even things out. But then I started to really think about it. Maybe it was the jumpstart my job search needed. Maybe I could start networking with local librarians. I could devote more time to my job search and be able to travel for interviews. I could have the time to check out what these MOOCs and free webinars are all about!
After some further discussions with the family that would be hosting me during my temporary hiatus from gainful employment and advice from very insightful and supportive friends, I decided to take the jump. It’s risky to be sure, but I’m really hopeful that it will pay off. And, sure, I’m scared and anxious, but this could also be the best move I have made yet.
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