Asking for the Support You Need

by Diana La Femina, Head Editor, INALJ South Carolina

Asking for the Support You Need

diana la feminaEvery month I need to write a blog post with advice to you, and every month I’m faced with the same problem: I don’t feel I’m qualified to be giving advice. Oh, I can tell cautionary tales (“don’t do what I did”), but actual advice? To do that I feel like I should have succeeded in what I’m trying to give you advice about: landing a library job.

And yet here I am, an Executive Assistant working an insane job with people I really like, but I couldn’t get further from librarianship unless I took up professional polka dancing. I can use the skills I’ve learned in my library studies for this position, and vice versa, but this isn’t librarianship. And that’s not a problem, except when I’m trying to give you advice on how to land a library job.

The one thing I do feel I’m an expert at is coping with the job search. If I haven’t run off and joined either a monastery or the circus by now I’m obviously doing something that works, right? So let’s discuss here something I don’t think I’ve touched on yet: just how important it is to surround yourself with the right people.

I’ve learned the hard way just how important it is to distance yourself from negative people who drag down your job search and your spirits. In general, if someone always makes you feel worse about yourself and doesn’t give anything to your relationship, why are they still in your life? Sometimes you can’t cut them out (family), but sometimes you can. I’m not saying to stop talking to anyone who’s ever said anything less that outrageously positive about your job search, but you have to set boundaries. If your mother, father, brother, partner, etc., keep putting down your job prospects or saying hurtful things (whether they realize it or not), tell them that you need them to back off on this one issue. Tough love isn’t always constructive.

As for friends and such, take the same stance. The people in your life (I’m hoping for the most part) only want what’s best for you. It’s really about acknowledging your own importance and what you need. The people in your life should respect this and should want to give you what you need.

So take a step back and think about whom you have in your life and how they help/hinder your job search, or any other area of your life. It might feel like a big leap to ask for space or help, but if they care for you at all they’ll support you and your needs.

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