Guest Post: The Life and Times of a New Librarian

by Elizabeth on June 10, 2010 · 3 comments

in guest post, Job Hunting, librarians, librarianship

Today we have a very special treat.  Megg, from The Life of a Not So Desperate Housewife, is joining us for a guest post.  I met Megg in graduate school and she is an amazing author, a fellow cook, and an aspiring YA librarian.  As part of my new series on life as a new librarian in today’s economy, Megg is sharing her experiences as an unemployed librarian.  Stop by Megg’s awesome blog to say hello and wish her luck in her ongoing job hunt!

I had a plan.

It was simple. Graduate with my MLIS, get married, move (all within a month), get a job, work for a few years, buy a house, have a baby, work part time. Sad to say, I’ve been married five months and  have only accomplished the first three things in that list. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned.

I went back to school knowing I wanted to work with teens. While I love children and would accept a children’s librarian position in a heartbeat, my passion lies with teens and young adults. Upon arriving in King County, it became obvious to me that the best way to get a job in the public library system was to apply for the librarian job pool. (As a side note, if you’re wondering how I discovered this, it was by receiving multiple rejection letters for jobs I knew I was over-qualified for. Talk about frustrating.)

So, in an attempt to follow the plan I had so carefully set up for myself, I applied for the librarian job pool, passed the initial phone interview, and headed out (in a brand new interview outfit) to the in-person interview.

The interview seemed to go well, and I was pleased with my responses when I left. To their credit, there were very few of the “typical” interview questions, such as, “What are your weaknesses?” (this question is my weakness!) and “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Instead there were a lot of, “Tell me about a time when…” and I thought I had used great examples from my myriad of work experience. One of the most disappointing facts I was told throughout the interview was that the pool is very competitive. Confident that at least I didn’t graduate from University of Washington like all the other applicants, I assured myself I was in the clear. I was told I would hear back in a couple weeks, so I went on vacation and put the whole experience out of my mind.

A week later (boy are they fast when they make a decision!) I got a call from my husband, who was not yet on vacation with me. I had received something from King County Library System in the mail, and he had opened it, only to find out that I had not made it into the pool. It was then that I realized that my plan was definitely not going the way I had thought.

For a few hours my world fell out from under me. There was never any thought that I wouldn’t get into the pool. After all, I’m a fun, perky librarian eager to make my entrance into the world of public libraries. Who wouldn’t want to throw me into a pool of hundreds of applicants. My biggest worry was that I wouldn’t get a job from the pool for a year, not that I would have to wait one more year to simply reapply for the pool.

Was I disappointed? You better believe it. Did I feel like a failure? I still do. I’m still wondering what I was thinking by leaving my 40 hour job as a reporter (which, granted, did not afford me enough money to move out of my parent’s house) and putting myself into debt which will follow me for the next 10 or so years. But at the end of the day, I have to remember something. I need to be flexible. I’m living in an economy where my dream of working in a public library just isn’t feasible. I’m also living about 20 minutes from a huge city with multiple colleges and several community colleges. There are options, but I, with my blinders on, refused to see anything but my plan.

How will it work out? I have no idea. But I can also tell you that 4 years ago I could never have imagined that I would be living in the Pacific Northwest, almost as far from my family as I could be, babysitting and watching Wife Swap while my husband works 40 hours a week. I did not anticipate this, and yet, I’m happy. Would I love to be working 40 hours a week? Of course. But I think my rejection from the pool was simply someone’s (God, fate, whatever you choose to believe) way of telling me that His plan is much much greater than mine. And I know that whatever job I do end up with will be sweeter for the waiting.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura June 10, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Megg!



2 Chiasa June 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Megg – I'm in the same pool looking for jobs. It's very difficult out there but I'm glad that you've still found inner peace. Best of luck to you in the future!!

Elizabeth – I like this guest post idea =)


3 Jenny E. June 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Applicant pools are weird. For this particular library system in the midwest you have to fill out a very detailed and somewhat long questionnaire. It gets scored and you have to receive a certain score to get moved into their applicant pool. It takes 6 weeks to get your score. I was paranoid I wouldn't get the score. It wasn't explained how they scored it. I actually got called for my first interview before I even got my score. The surprise of my score was ruined. errrr…


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