I’ve decided to extend my job search and my skill development outside of the niche of Library and Information Science. I’m fairly certain this will do me a world of good.
For the past few weeks, my attention has been taken up with a Creative Writing class. It’s really interesting to see that I probably do have the skill set needed, and largely just need to stop holding myself back. In particular, I’ve been restricting myself when it comes to detailed description and backstory/elaboration…which I’ve been told it’s best to leave in, and edit out later, if needed. I also need to shift out of a blogging mindset and back into a literary one…they are different media with different voices, audiences, and expectations.
When it comes to the upcoming Fall semester…I’ve essentially decided to stop proactively interviewing with the Library system nearest me, when they have no jobs I want. (They penalize people for turning down interview invitations, regardless of whether one wants the job[s] offered, or not — meaning that I have been taking interviews for unwanted jobs to remain in their good graces.) I would be better off on my own, or somewhere else.
Come Fall, I should be taking one Technical course and — hopefully — one or two Writing courses. This should basically keep me busy. The technical course is a second step toward enabling me to code in a format known as TEI (Text Encoding Initiative)…which is great for Digital Humanities; specifically, in coding poetry so that it displays correctly in an electronic format.
I know it has much more powerful implications, programmatically speaking, but if I learn nothing else, I’ll get further exposure to TEI, which will help in Digital Publishing. The drawback is that TEI isn’t fully supported among browsers…or, necessarily, e-Readers.
Honestly, I want to take more Writing and Literature courses than the two I have planned, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself, especially as one of my courses — I think I have to take it for a grade. But they will be spread out…I won’t necessarily have this intensive thing like I’m in now, where I must write every day (although I’ll probably be doing it, anyway — I’ll just have more freedom as to content and form). I also should have additional time to read: which is something that I really need, and want, to be doing. I wouldn’t know this, however, without having access to alternative things to read! And I wouldn’t have found these things without my experience in the Creative Writing circuit.
The thing about my current course is that there is no way to keep up with everything (nor are we expected to)…and I’ve been trying to, which I think is getting me a little crisp around the edges.
If I actually want to, I should be able to work on Computer Programming skills, soon. I’ve paused on that, and the reacquisition of Spanish language: for a number of weeks I had to deal with unexpected intensive tutoring responsibilities, which took me away from my own education. I haven’t yet been back to either my Python or Spanish curricula.
Both of those topics are of most use (in my former scope) in Cataloging Librarianship…which, to be honest, can’t really compete with Creative Writing, for me. What really drives me seems to be reading (a lot of reading) and constant writing. I’m also interested in teaching…though that’s more out of a sense that the main jobs Creative Writing MFAs can get, are Teaching positions. I have read, however, not to take a teaching job out of a sense of resignation; because that just means one more bad teacher.
If I think back on it, my last time face-to-face with anyone running a class, was 2016. Since then, it’s all been online. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: with a digital interface, I can actually keep up (if I wish to) with reading everyone else’s submissions. There’s little way I would be able to handle that, face-to-face. And I’m really uncertain at this point, whether we will be moving back to in-person lectures and workshops anytime soon. The big unknown, at this point, is the Fall COVID booster, and what happens afterward.
I bring that up because I think I would be a much better online instructor, than in-person instructor.
I’m again at this point of not being able to be assured in how long I might live, or how long anyone else is going to live, though this time it’s up to randomness and not, well — not, me, specifically. There’s the very real question of what I want to do before my time is up, and how I want to live, regardless of the political offal and sewage that I have to live with (which seems to take out a good number of people at any given time, globally speaking).
I know that organizing information is an important task, but do I really want to move cross-country to do it (because most of the open Library jobs I’m qualified for, aren’t here)? It’s only that important if you look at the money. As of right now, I pretty much know that I need to stop limiting my job search to Libraries, because by only looking at Libraries, I’m caging myself in. Unnecessarily.
Come the end of the year, I’ll have further clarity on where my next footfall should land — whether that’s going further into Creative Writing and/or finding a job that draws off of my skills and aptitudes without being on my specific, Government-sponsored, poorly-oversighted “career track”. With this class I am also discovering the local literary scene, which is apparently entirely different from the local library scene. I mean: it’s an entirely different world.
Regardless of the time period I look at in my life, it seems my likes and dislikes are pretty constant. I thought I could change it: for example, I thought that I could acclimate myself to dealing with the Public enough so that it would be comfortable for me. I didn’t know that my aversion to this was based in something apparently hard-wired into my brain (i.e. an overactive amygdala).
If anyone had bothered to tell me that I couldn’t change this (it’s not like I didn’t ask, just no one answered, and no one said why they wouldn’t answer), or to tell me how rare it would be to find a proper job match for my personality and interests in my area, I wouldn’t have taken the LIS curriculum. I could have been doing things that actually brought me joy instead of slaving away at undercompensated work I didn’t like, because I thought that it was normal not to like work. I thought I was getting paid to tolerate dysfunction.
On top of that, I could have been galvanizing myself to face the world. If others had been able to see that a lot of what I was dealing with, related directly back to trauma, maybe I could have been helped to reintegrate, instead of remaining out of the workforce for years, and then being afraid to change jobs, once I was in it.
The thing is, even though I’m no longer terrified of the Public-in-general (like I was 15 years ago), that still doesn’t mean I want to work in a Public-facing position, where all anyone knows about me is my appearance — about which, they then invent fictions. There are jobs that don’t require interfacing directly with the Public or with unknown people; some of them are Creative jobs. But by and large, I’m not going to find them by looking under, “Libraries.”
In essence, I’m casting a wider net; opening up possibilities I had heretofore closed off from myself. I’m not planning to take a job before the end of the year, though I will be looking for positions — and more importantly, studying job roles so that I know something about the positions that do interest me.
More than just their job titles.