Thursday, January 15

Reflections on the new year

So the holidays are officially a thing of the past. Now we look to the future. Where will I be in two weeks? Six months? A year? Who knows?!

My husband and I are shaking things up - we're going to take advantage of this miserable economy! That's right folks, we are looking to buy a home. A part of me feels awful for those who have to sell during this dismal housing market but another part of me realizes that Tim and I have had some bad breaks in the past. Maybe it is time to grab what we can, when we can.

The idea of taking on yet another sizable loan is daunting to say the least. We've spent a lot of nights pondering whether or not we can do this. In the end it always comes back to my current predicament - where do you draw the line when holding out for a professional job?

So far, my husband and I have been lucky in that his job is stable and our loans are "few" (a relative term). I have spent the last 4 months working several part time library jobs while volunteering at the local archives just so I can keep up with the required years of experience and know-how written into most job descriptions. Unfortunately, these part time jobs have suffered at the hands of the 2009 budget axeman and I now find myself in the less than lucrative position of being a professional volunteer. In the past I've heard supervisors tell others not to take staff (vs. library faculty) positions or unrelated/non-professional jobs because you will eventually need to explain these away when trying to re-enter the library and archives world.

So I ask those of you who sit on the other side of the interview desk - will this economy (and its inherent cuts to many institutions' hiring budgets) and the simple needs of putting food on the table and a roof over your head suffice as a reason to turn to jobs unrelated to my chosen profession?

This is not to say that life is all bad. As I've mentioned, there are things for which I am eternally grateful - I love living in Pittsburgh and am even more in love with the idea of moving closer into town. My family and friends are supportive and helpful (not everyone will read over your resume and cover letters 20 times a week). And thankfully, we all have our health. I do believe that 2009 will bring a bounty of good's just a matter of finding the balance between needs and wants, dreams and realities.


  1. Buying a house was one of the best things we did! Sometimes when there is water leaking all over your floor and there's not landlord to call, its daunting, but if you have to throw money into living, why not be putting it into something that is at least yours!

    Don't let the job get you down too much either. I worked a "non-related" job for 6yrs and 2 months before I landed in the career I was seeking. You just never know how or when it will work just have to find small ways to keep yourself still involved with your career and hope for the best!

  2. I don't think you'll need to "Explain away" a job that is unrelated to archives in these economic times. If you stay up to date with what is going on in the field, and maybe get some volunteer work in while you have your other job to pay the bills, just explain that in an interview if you're asked. You could be getting other valuable skills from the other job that you can apply when you do get a library/archives job. The interviewer will see you are serious about the job because even though you had to take on something else to pay the bills, you still took the time to educate yourself and be as active in the field as you can at the time.

    I saw your listing of your blog on the archivist listserv, so right there (your blog and the listserv) are two ways to stay active in the field until you can get the professional job that you want.