Thursday, December 18, 2014

Looks Like We've Made It

It's been a long time. A LONG time. This blog originally began as a class assignment while I was in library school, and even though I had the best intentions of keeping it up, we all know how blogs go. So, I ignored it for the last, uh... 5 years. I clearly wasn't getting a job in a library anytime soon. I graduated in 2012 and had a baby. And learned to live with the fact that a library job just wasn't in the cards yet. I applied to a few, but didn't even get interviews. And I kept on at my job working in Public Relations at a hospital. I was being paid well, had great coworkers, and even though it wasn't my dream job, I was enjoying it for the most part. Until I wasn't, which happened about a year ago. Still, I clearly wasn't getting a library job.

But, BUT!

In September of 2014, I was reading through my emails, and came across a posting from a library jobs listserv I'm a part of. It was an opening for a Reference and Instruction librarian at OSU Institute of Technology. I read the description, and unlike every other library job I'd looked at in the months before, I actually seemed qualified for this one.

So, in a panic that the job had been posted for weeks, I hurriedly submitted my resume and cover letter (while still at work - so bad). And I waited. Not even a week later, I got a return email. AN INTERVIEW REQUEST. Sounds so simple, but it was the first one I had ever been asked to since I was actually IN library school. It came with homework, which at first sounded daunting. I mean, I had barely stepped foot in an academic library or thought about library technologies in a couple of years. But I went home that night and started reminding myself.

A few days later, I put this together:

And while I did it, I had the best time. I sat there daydreaming... "What if this was my actual job? What if I got to make things like this on a regular basis?"

I went into my first interview, wide-eyed and bushy tailed, and walked into a room of 7 people, all staring at me expectantly. And it occurred to me that I hadn't worked in a library for 8 years. That my experience was all student worker based. That I may have forgotten to put on deodorant that morning.

Oh, and did I mention? I was also obviously pregnant. Talk about feeling like the odds stacked against me. (I had told the library director before the interview that I was pregnant, since I knew she couldn't legally ask me. I wanted to be up front, but man was I worried it would take me out of the running.)

The interview seemed to go really well. I answered most of their questions to their satisfaction, and thanked my lucky stars that I had spent the last week studying up on what the role of a reference and instruction librarian really was. I thought of examples in my current job that would apply to the new position. I tried to let my natural humor shine through, and tried very hard to be comfortable. I admitted when I didn't have experience with something, but made sure they knew that I was eager to learn.

When I walked out of the interview, I felt somewhat confident, but tried to keep it under wraps. Except for the moment when I had introduced myself by my maiden name (I HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 6 YEARS WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME), I had pretty much nailed it. I had made them laugh, I had seen nodding heads when I came up with ideas, and I had come prepared with questions that helped me understand both the job and the environment.

And then came the waiting. I did my best not to think about it. A week or two passed, and I started to get a little anxious. I finally heard from the director, who let me know they were waiting on a few things before they could really talk as a team and line up the next round of interviews.

Finally, the email came that called me in for my second interview. I am not going to lie. I may have danced around when no one was looking. A smile was plastered on my face. I rearranged my work schedule to make sure I could drive the 45 minutes in the middle of the day to the second chance to make my mark. And I agonized about how many people were in the pool with me. Library jobs are not easy to come by, so I could imagine myself amongst 10 other applicants getting their second interview.

They asked me to plan to be there for a couple of hours, which would include a second interview as well as a tour of the campus. I studied some more, thinking of new questions to ask, and looked into the institution a little bit more deeply.

When the second interview came, I felt confident and excited, but nervous as ever. They started me with the tour, which was thorough and helpful to understand the layout and function of the campus and all their programs. I talked to each school about how they work with the library, so that I could get a sense of what my role with them would be.

I got back to the library about an hour later, and walked down the hall to interview with the three staff librarians for a second time. To be honest, I was expecting some really tough questions. But they were somewhat simple, for the most part. Was I comfortable with the hours? How did I see myself working with the faculty? Could I take on projects without much supervision? (I'm not sure of the actual questions, but they were in this arena.)

And then the director said this - "I guess the only question we have left is this: When can you start?"


I may have giggled. I definitely asked if they were serious. And I immediately accepted (with the caveat that I had to work out some of the finer details with the director and my spouse to make sure I could handle the job switch).

And then I actually had to go back to work. To do the job I no longer loved, with the knowledge that in a few weeks, I would be leaving for a job I would love. A job I do love.

Getting into a library has been less like a roller-coaster, and more like the line you wait in before the roller-coaster. Every time I thought I was turning a corner, I'd see another stretch of people in front of me, and know that I wasn't there yet, nor would I be anytime soon.

But I'm here now. I'm on the ride. And it's blowing me away.