Adjusting to Part-Time Work

by Amelia Zavala Vander Heide, Head Editor, INALJ NYC

Adjusting to Part-Time Work

amelia_vanderheideIt does not matter if you are finishing library school, relocating, or just looking to jump to a new position the amount of part-time versus full-time librarian work can be disheartening. It seems like everyone knows someone who is piecing together full-time work through multiple jobs. Finding and landing a job can be both elating and frustrating at the same time, when you realize that you might not be landing a standard 40 hours. I’ve been working full-time most of my adult life or piecing together several part-time jobs to equal more than 40 hours a week. Working part-time has taught me some different things about myself and how I use my time.

I have more time. I am fortunate in a lot of ways and I can only speak from my experience. While I was in graduate school I worked full-time and took a full load of classes. I had to work. It was a necessity for being able to have a roof over my head. Fortunately my husband got a better job, things became more stable, and with no kids, I have the luxury of being able to work part-time at only one job. That being said it is awesome to be able to work on things other than work. I have free-time to work on a blog, read more novels, and work on art projects. It has also allowed me more time to visit with my family.

I love this infographic even if I don’t agree with some of the details.

Working part-time can also mean that you are freer to pursue other interests such as volunteer work or even working in a different field. Can’t decide between your love of the public sphere or academia? Why choose when you can get paid to do both. It can appear to be super stressful at first, but I have a short attention span and I love doing multiple projects all at once. Working in multiple types of libraries can let you understand which field of librarianship you truly want to pursue. Working at multiple locations has the added bonus of being able to network with lots different people and foster multiple relationships. I know that they are lots of librarians who volunteer for INALJ and work full-time, but I honestly could not do the amount of work needed to be a Head Editor if I were working full-time. My commute is an almost an hour by car each way with traffic. Something would have to give.

You learn to do more with less. I am only part-time but I am responsible for the teens at my branch, a book club, family storytime, contribute to reader’s advisory, and I am in the middle of launching a new Seed Library. You learn to make use of every hour that you have in a day. Working part-time has made me realize how much more I could do if I had even more time. I am also super flexible. I work in a large system, because of this I am able to help other branches and help my co-workers with outreach programs. Plus I stick by the old adage it’s easier to find a job, while you have a job. Not necessarily because other employers will know you are a good hirer, but you never know when that full-time position might open up at your current place of employment.

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