I got a job!
I am officially a librarian. *whew*
So how did I get a job? Why was I able to get a job when there are so many librarians struggling; librarians with a lot more experience than me? Well, let's look at the numbers.
I keep a spreadsheet for job hunting. I know - how very "librarian" of me - but that's how I keep track of everything. I jot down where I found the job, the link to the description, the title, when I applied, and any responses (if any) I receive.
My job hunt began in 2008. Yup. I've been applying to jobs since 2008. I started my MLIS in 2007, so it isn't surprising that I never got a job back then, I suppose. I not only had zero experience, I also didn't even have a degree. But I tried nonetheless, hoping against insanity that someone would hire me anyway.
I guess I figured I had nothing to lose.
And I sure applied to a lot of jobs! Absolutely anything that I was qualified for. I didn't completely apply willy-nilly. I certainly had standards, from salary requirements to driving distances. But the bottom line is that I was more than ready and willing (at that time) to do almost anything.
As my degree came closer to completion, other positions became less and less attractive, and I started focusing on only librarian positions. Want to hear how many librarian jobs I applied for? Are you sitting down?
I just counted. I'm not kidding. I applied to sixty-three different librarian jobs over the years. When I look back on my job hunting experience it doesn't feel like I applied to that many. If anything I feel like there was never anything out there. Though, if you break it down over four years, that would be about 20 available jobs a year, which is give or take two a month, so that isn't too bad. Granted, it NEVER happened that way though. It sure would have been nice if the jobs had been consistent. But usually 10-20 would flood the market at once, and you'd barely hear of anything for another year.
It was torture.
Of those sixty-three jobs to which I applied, I was invited to interview with only 6. That's a 10% success rate for those of you who are not math-friendly. I had one job offer, but the place was much farther than I realized. (I wouldn't have wanted the job anyway). And one interview I didn't attend at all because it was also too far. Another interview still hasn't happened yet - it was scheduled for September 7, so I had the awesome opportunity of turning down an interview because I already had a job (which really is a great feeling). All of these interviews came only after I had received my MLIS in December, so it really does make a difference having it in today's market.
So please know that I've been there and I understand how you feel if you don't have a job. The waiting. The wondering. The feelings of inadequacy. The doubt of whether or not you chose the right profession. The eyes of your child asking for something that you can't afford because you don't have a job yet.
Four years of stress has just fallen from my shoulders. I feel like I could just float away.
Now let's talk about the details leading up to this particular job offer. Again, I think it will be helpful and hopeful to those of you who are trying to find your own jobs. Reading the experiences of others helped me often, and I want to return the favor to the cloud. Not that I know exactly what I did right.
I applied for this particular position on June 6, 2011. Like I said, I keep excellent records. I'd never heard anything from them, so I assumed I wasn't an appropriate candidate. I "blackened" the record in my spreadsheet and moved on.
I received a call for an interview on Wednesday, August 24, 2011! Again, for those of you non-math types, that's almost three months after I'd applied. Needless to say I was shocked, and completely confused. I had removed the position from my mind so it took me a moment to recall that I had even applied for it. They wanted me to interview the following day. I made an appointment for 10:00 am and started running around like a nut putting my portfolio together.
I wish I could tell you that I "knew" right away in the interview that this was the job for me and that they instantly liked me. I've decided that I'm a terrible judge in that regard. I walked out of many other interviews convinced that I was going to get a job offer right away and I was obviously wrong. And perhaps, because that happened to me, I was reticent to form an opinion at all. This was the last interview I was going to have before the school year started. I couldn't afford raising expectations only to be disappointed, so I just let it happen.
Well, to cut the interview part of this story short, I was made an offer, I gladly accepted, and I was taken to the district office immediately to sign a contract. I was floating on clouds the rest of the day. It was pouring on that day and I just didn't care. I didn't care that I was wearing a suit or heels or that my portfolio was getting absolutely ruined. Who cares! I won't need it for a while. And now I have the money to buy another one if I need to! Hah!
I couldn't sleep that night though. My mind was racing with all of the things I wanted to do and needed to do. It turns out that if you have your MLIS but don't yet have your CEAS (Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing) that you are considered alternate route. I never knew what this actually meant until now. It means that you are required to attend state-issued classes. Failure to attend two classes results in the revoking of your contract!
So I get to start a new career, finish a post-grad certification, AND attend a state-mandated class. All at the same time. Joy.
Ok, well maybe it really is joy. It's a wonderful problem to have, granted. Still, this whole "new librarian" thing would be a lot easier if I could just focus on that.
Have any of you had to deal with this too? How is that state class? Is it hard?
Anyway, so those are the details of the job hunt. I'll tell you more about my new job in my next post!
Oh, and thank you to those who continually gave me hope and support over these arduous years of job hunting. I appreciate it more than you know. All of your emotional and financial investments in me paid off.
UPDATE: I didn't have to go through those extra grad courses after all. I'm still not entirely sure how it was avoided, but it had something to do with me being considered a probationary librarian? Like I said, I don't entirely understand it. All I know is that I didn't have to juggle my first few months as a school librarian while finishing grad courses AND those state-mandated classes. *whew* Trust me, just being a first-year school librarian would have been enough.