One commenter over at The Annoyed Librarian is apparently “disgusted” because I write “perkily about a dying profession.” (I’ll know I’ve made it in the biblioblogosphere when the AL targets me her own self, but will take it! I don’t think anyone’s ever described me as “perky” before, though; it makes me feel all rah-rah-rah.) Meanwhile, on newlib, a perennially disgruntled poster suggests that I write a book on “The Librarian’s Guide to Marrying Rich.”
I’ve gotten somewhat used to people slamming my writing and points of view — the NextGen book pretty much brought that to a head, and one of the points of writing professionally is to stir up discussion. I find it fascinating, though, when people object to the very idea of someone writing positively about professional issues — this seems to say more about their personal problems than about the work itself.
Over at Get Rich Slowly, a personal finance blog, J.D. occasionally posts on topics like “You Are Your Own Worst Enemy” — or, basically, on people’s inability to get “unstuck,” to take the steps they need to take to get out of debt, budget for the future, solve their personal finance problems. We face similar issues in librarianship: Yes, maybe the librarian shortage was overstated when you went to school, maybe the job market sucks in your geographical area, maybe you’re woefully underpaid in your current job, maybe your current workplace is tradition-bound and bureaucratic and enervating.
So, how do you get unstuck?
Spending precious time and energy blaming your library school, the ALA, or even me might feel good, but it’s fairly unproductive. At a certain point you need to take responsibility for getting yourself unstuck, for moving your career forward, for taking the steps you need to take. Maybe that means moving. Maybe that means changing careers or looking for alternative ways you can use your library degree. Maybe it means taking a crap-paying job for a couple of years to gain the experience you need to move up. Maybe it means getting someone to look at your resume and cover letters and give you advice on why you may not be getting interviews. Maybe it means taking online courses or learning how to design web pages or making professional connections or otherwise gaining the skills you need to become more marketable. Whatever it may be in your particular situation: make it your new year’s resolution to take one step toward getting unstuck.
I can’t apologize for writing “perkily” about this profession — I chose it for a reason, and most of my writing and online activity has one goal: to help people get unstuck and move forward professionally. It’s all here when anyone’s ready to listen.