9 Tips for Getting Back to Work!

by Valarie Swayze, Senior Editor, INALJ Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware

9 Tips for Getting Back to Work!

change-of-strategy-aheadThis is a very exciting time for me as I plan my transition back to the field of librarianship. Leaving my dream job as an archivist in a museum library was a difficult decision for me: my library director was a great mentor, I learned something new in every conversation with the head curator, and I loved my job! However, it was time for a break in my career. As I return, I have found that I can couple new experiences with my career goals and reflect upon this time as a positive one. Here are a few thoughts that I hope will help you if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

1. Stay connected – It is quite manageable to maintain professional development activities  when you are not formally employed. Professional memberships, journals, and blogs have helped me stay informed on the latest trends and discussions. Keeping a dialogue with peers in the field will keep you engaged and apprised of changes in the industry. When the time comes to seek employment, your professional contacts can also provide a great opportunity for referrals.

2. Volunteer – Volunteer and advocacy opportunities abound, and librarians are always happy  to have help. These opportunities can be great way to build or diversify your skill set, meet new people, and have fun.

3. Attend a conference – Conferences are great opportunities to grow your professional  network and discover a variety of types of employment and volunteer opportunities.

4. Stay on a schedule – Establish a routine that accommodates your continued learning while  you are not working. Set the time aside before other things take over your schedule. Even if you only have one hour a week to devote to reading or another activity, claim it on your calendar.

5. Stay positive – I have always kept the idea of my first day at work in the back of my mind, and am confident that I will be an asset to the right library or company in the future. Surround yourself with people that support your decisions, and do not tend to negative comments or worries.

6. Exercise – Change can be stressful, even in the best of situations. Find an activity you enjoy, get fresh air, and take care of yourself so you are able to focus on your responsibilities and goals. Running helps me stay motivated.

7. Plan properly – The transition back to work will go more smoothly if you anticipate your availability and look ahead to what is a realistic commitment for your circumstances.

8. Be patient – Time gaps in your resume might mean that you will spend a longer time looking for a job. Just keep looking, and be financially prepared for extra time if necessary.

9. Have a mentor – Find someone in your network that can guide you and give you advice as you choose jobs and write your resume. It will help you tremendously to have someone to share ideas with that you trust.valarie_swayze_300x201

The library community is welcoming, and that proved true for me at the recent ALA Annual Conference. I had the opportunity to share my story with a few people, and was met with encouraging comments and even a high-five! Employers and colleagues will appreciate your commitment to your career while you are away, so be sure to update your resume. Transitions can be good experiences!

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