The positive side of things
I’ve written a fair amount of critical stuff in the past few months and some of the comments I’ve been getting have made me realize that… I’m leaving people with the wrong impression.
I’m being honest and open about my difficulties because I don’t think enough people are. Enough so that while you are struggling with your career and stuff you end up feeling isolated and alone because everyone else seems to be succeeding with ease and generally being awesome. Obviously, this is not the case.
However, I’ve been leaving people with the impression that I’m upset? Mad? Actually feeling down about all of this? I can’t quite tell. For all that certain aspects of job searching and being poor and other stuff, I’m actually pretty damn happy right now. Happiest I’ve ever been in my life.
This is largely because my sense of self worth isn’t contingent on my job/career or how much I’m being paid. It sucks and all, but I don’t actually take this stuff personally, in part because I understand that most times when you don’t get a position? It isn’t about you but about the person hired. As in: it isn’t that they didn’t want me, but rather they just wanted someone else. It is a fine distinction (and perhaps I’m just fooling myself). However, I find life a lot easier if I don’t view it as a zero sum game.
Also… I still feel incredibly lucky to have my current position. Part-time and lack of benefits aside, this job is pretty much my dream job. Like, it is the job that, in library school, they tell you not to hold out for, since settling seems to be the thing in this job market. I’m learning a great deal about digital preservation and scholarly communication, stuff I’m very interested and excited by, but likely wouldn’t have learned had I found a position that more closely matched my previous skillset (likely a liaison/reference type).
Like, other than my summer with Islandora, when I started this job I had pretty much no real relevant experience. Some very basic knowledge of working in a unix/linux environment. Some understanding of repositories and digital preservation standards.
Now? I know a lot more. Now, I’m not only comfortable with linux, but two days ago I installed ubuntu server on my (very old, very slow) netbook and then installed openbox so that I could have really lightweight and fast system on a really underpowered machine. I’ve also thought about seeing if I could maybe write a plugin for OJS to integrate the Internet Archive book reader. The fact that I think that this is something I could feasibly do (with a lot of time and effort) is wonderful to me.
I’m poor right now, with respect to money. But I have a wealth of time and, not going to lie, it has been wonderful. Wonderful after 11 years of full-time school and part-time work. Wonderful that I can spend an hour or two almost everyday cuddling with my boyfriend. Wonderful that I finally have the time and space to work on some health stuff that I was too busy to focus on.
Just something to keep in mind when I critically discuss things like library culture and/or hiring practices.