Archive for January 2008

On obviousness

Sitting home today with 2 sick kids, ironically enough, I read a blurb in January’s Redbook magazine reporting on research showing that 78% of women in 2-income families report taking time off work when a child is sick, school is closed, or childcare arrangements fall through, as opposed to 28% of men.

(Someday, I would like to get a large grant to conduct research to which the answer is: Well, DUH. Any takers?)

Redbook’s cutesie take on this? “Proof that no matter how much the world changes, moms will always be the best medicine.”

Oh, for the love of…

I don’t think I need even to comment on that statement. But, I have been thinking lately about family and balance. Back in December, Meredith Farkas posted about the assumptions made by a commenter who suggested her career goals and priorities would change after having children. Whether or not Meredith chooses to have children is between her and her husband — but all of our career goals and priorities need to evolve, as the profession and the world around us change, and as our experiences change us.

My own career goals and priorities did change after having children, but I think that kids were just the catalyst of an inevitable shift. Pre-kids, I was following a fairly traditional public library career path, moving from entry-level to department head and beginning to investigate and interview for asst director (medium library) and director (smaller library) positions. I found myself turning down callbacks for second interviews because the jobs didn’t feel right (too long a commute, too bureaucratic…), and then found out I was pregnant. Since one of my priorities was to stay home with my kids while they were small, I stopped interviewing and went part-time at my former place of work, taking the opportunity to work on other (mostly writing-related) projects.

After a couple of years, I had the opportunity to move into a director position. I said no, because my son was small — but really, because I did not want it enough. After the flexibility of working from home — and some experience with the Board I would have been reporting to! — I realized I like what I am doing now a lot better. While it was hard to let the library director picture go, it doesn’t fit as well with who I am now.

But kids don’t have to be the catalyst. Pre-library school, I spent a couple of miserable years in a PhD program that was, let’s just say, not the best fit, pursuing a dream of being a tenured professor with a lovely book-lined office. (Which I can still picture!) I spent my last 6 months in the program with chronic tonsillitis, iller than I’ve ever been — and haven’t had a bout since dropping out 13 years ago.

Sometimes life tries to tell us something; sometimes, life gives us the time to reflect on our priorities. The challenge lies in knowing when to let go of that dream, when to pursue a new dream, when to modify our dreams. When I surveyed people for my upcoming alternative careers book, their catalysts for switching career paths ranged from the need to build better balance, to the realization that they couldn’t advance in traditional libraries without the MLS, to frustration with bureaucracy. Your catalyst may be kids — or may be something totally different — but most of us don’t follow step-by-step along the career path we envisioned in school.

Might I someday jump back onto the library management career path, or go back for the PhD? Sure I might, and I bet my goals and priorities will change yet again as my kids get older. So I keep my options open, and work towards a changing set of short-term goals.

New features: jobs database

I’m pleased to announce improvements to the combined library jobs database at Job Postings on the Internet.

For job seekers: You can now save searches as RSS feeds! Only interested in jobs in Illinois, reference positions, or those that mention Web 2.0? Do a search and click “Save this search as an RSS feed” to subscribe. Any new additions that match your search results will automatically show up in your aggregator.

For employers: The job submission form now includes a mini-editor, allowing you to create live links and to easily apply formatting to your ads. Make your listings stand out!

As always, the site remains free to both job seekers and employers.

Stay at home calculator

If you’re in a 2-income with kids family, this is a fun little game — play with the Stay at Home calculator at to see how you’ll do living on one salary. (Yes, quibble away about assumptions, but it’s interesting for entertainment and food-for-thought purposes, if nothing else.)

I can has lolcats

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I should be working, but o no, a lolcat generator…


Bob Watson notes in a comment to a previous post:

The circ department here thinks there’s been a spike in our DVD circ due to the writer’s strike.

What a great marketing opportunity! Why not create a display of your TV series on DVD, with signage saying something like “Writer’s Strike Got You Down? Find some ‘New To You’ Series!”

Call for Contributors: Getting Unstuck

After thinking more about perkiness and being stuck, I decided to make “getting unstuck” the theme of an upcoming issue of Info Career Trends. If you’d like to share your story or advice, please see the call for contributors and drop me a line.

New to me

Via Whatever, I ran across this “Weekend Assignment” on the topic:

Now that the WGA strike has had lots of time to affect the prime time television schedules, how is it affecting you as a viewer? What show do you miss most, aside from reruns?

My first reaction: “The writer’s strike is still on?” I guess I don’t watch enough TV. I think this is a function of timeshifting. 95% of our TV viewing is now via DVR, so, instead of waiting all week for Thursday night at 7:00, we watch whatever turns up in our playlist — most of which is reruns anyway. Primetime TV? Aside from Ugly Betty and The Office, there’s not much I care about, so this just feels like a long summer of reruns.

I can also probably blame Netflix for enabling easy consumption of old series on DVD. Over the past week, we caught up with a couple disks of Star Trek: Voyager (Janeway was the best captain, no matter what anyone says…) and finished season 2 of Big Love. (Wasn’t one of the stations using “It’s new to you?” as a slogan for a while? Works for me!)

Then again, who really needs TV when there’s YouTube — in particular, George W. covering R.E.M. in his own incomparable vocal style?

New forums @

I launched online forums @ today, and would love to see you all there! Here’s my official shiny press release on the subject.


For further information, contact Rachel Singer Gordon,

January 2, 2008 Launches Online Community

New discussion forums now open, the largest free library career portal on the Internet, is pleased to announce the launch of its new online community for librarians. Devoted entirely to career development and job hunting, these forums provide a space for librarians, LIS students, library workers, and information professionals to discuss professional development issues:

“I’m excited to be able to offer this space for collaboration and discussion,” says Rachel Singer Gordon, webmaster, “As librarians, we know that we work and learn best in community — I look forward to watching the forums grow.” Current forum moderators include:

  • Michael Stephens, LIS schools
  • Jess Bruckner, Jumpstart your career
  • Meredith Farkas, Professional development and participation
  • Susanne Markgren, Talking tenure
  • Kim Dority, Professional writing
  • Sophie Brookover, Work/life balance

 In recent related developments, Info Career Trends,’s professional development newsletter, has moved to the Wordpress platform to better serve its subscribers. Its long-time career Q&A columnists, Tiffany Allen and Susanne Markgren, have moved to their own blog, and author/entrepreneur Kim Dority joins in with her new monthly column on “Rethinking Information Careers.”

Info Career Trends continues to fill an underserved niche, devoted entirely to career and professional development issues for librarians and information professionals. The newsletter and column content are accessible at: Rachel Singer Gordon shares: “I’m so pleased to bring Kim on board, and to watch the Library Career People column evolve in its new blog format. I look forward to hearing others’ opinions across the online community.”, launched in 1996, provides free library-related job listings to both employers and job seekers, as well as related services from resume postings to career development blogs.


Online community:

Info Career Trends newsletter:

Contact: Rachel Singer Gordon,