About That Dream Job…

by Nena Schvaneveldt, Head Editor, INALJ Utah

About That Dream Job…

NenaSI know people say to follow your dreams, and that will make you happy. I went to library school with a dream job and a plan. I would work as a teen librarian in a busy public library.

Two and a half years out of graduate school, I work with mostly graduate students in a small academic library.

The crazy part is that I enjoy it more than I had hoped.

When I talk to people, sometimes I like to ask them what their dream job would be, because that says a lot about someone. Interestingly, I don’t know the answer to my own question anymore. I know where I am now and what the next step would be, but I don’t have a ten or twenty year plan. There are institutions I admire and parts of librarianship that thrill me, but I am not tied to a dream job title anymore.

It’s been kind of freeing. After all, spending time dreaming about a place is a great way to make it seem much better than it ever could be, and romanticizing job duties detracts from the gritty reality of some duties. Reference may be a ton of fun, but being on the front lines all the time is not without its share of challenges.

It was odd and kind of felt like cheating to move away from my dreams, but after a long time with no interviews from public libraries, I slowly had to change my mind. And the further I get, the less I’m looking back.

As I get more and more experience on the academic side of things, I’ve had to ask myself which is scarier: going for tenure or summer reading? My answer is changing. It’s to the point where if I could go back and advise my former self what to do in library school, I’d probably just say, “You’ll never guess where you end up.”