What I Learned From the Year of Scary Things

by Nena Schvaneveldt, former Head Editor, INALJ Utah

What I Learned From the Year of Scary Things

NenaSIt’s the end of the year/ beginning of a new one, which can only mean reflective lists. I’ve had a year of facing some pretty terrifying things. I know I’m feeling reflective, so here’s a list of scary things that happened this last year:

  1. I went to my first library conference. It’s looking like I’ll be at a national conference next year, and I’m sure my experience at the state conference will help me.
  2. I got promoted! While that’s awesome that my hard work paid off, it is also pretty scary to move up to new responsibilities. Even though I stayed at my same workplace, the new responsibilities were scary. It was an adjustment, and it required some courage to do some of the new tasks. I had to be willing to fail, which can be difficult.
  3. With that, I traveled for work for the first time. Going straight from the airport to a fancy occasion in a city I hadn’t seen in over ten years was an exciting experience.
  4. I made an effort to get outside of my comfort zone in my hobbies as well, volunteering for responsibilities I never have before. I’m not totally comfortable with increased responsibilities yet, but it’s getting easier the more I try.
  5. I came clean about having been fired. The response I got was awesome. While it was very scary to admit to the internet that I have been less than perfect, it was good to be able to process through it. It helped that I’d had years of reflection and a much better track record since then,


Basically, this year I learned that facing fear reduces it. I remember walking away from that library conference wondering why I’d been so nervous about it. Sometimes when I’m feeling fear, I remember that experience. I’ve grown a lot from facing my fears, and I know you can too. Here’s to another year of big scary things in 2014!

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.