Right after Thanksgiving I received a call about a job at a local independent bookstore. I knew someone married to someone working at the store, which put me in a pretty nice position to get a new part-time job. I’ve also picked up a few extra hours at the college library this month, so between that, the new part-time gig, and volunteering at the public library I’ve been–gasp!–swamped.
When I first moved to Maryland, my unemployed days were carefully scheduled with activities to keep me from getting bored. If you remember, I had a PLAN . I was going to stay sane by (among other things) reading library articles and blogs, writing, and keeping up with my ALA committees. Now I find myself struggling to not only find time, but the motivation to do all of my self-assigned work.
When you’re actually employed as a librarian, the motivation to stay professionally active is inherently a part of your job. Often promotion, tenure, or pay increases are based not only on job performance, but on your participation in professional associations, continuing education, and even publication. But when you’re an unemployed librarian time management decisions are often a bit murkier, and money is often the greatest motivator. Do you take an extra part-time job if it means less time for professional development? How do you keep your librarian skills “polished” and stay current on the rapidly emerging issues in this field, while still finding time to network with potential employers? Where does family and personal time fit in?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I am curious as to how others find both the motivation to stay professionally “current” when there are multiple demands on your time. I’m particularly interested in how unemployed librarians deal with the reality of needing to pay the bills while still trying to work towards one day becoming a professional librarian. I’m lucky in that my husband’s current job allows us to live for the time being (we have minimal financial obligations); but as a long-term situation it’s simply unsustainable. I want to be a full-time librarian again. The trick is to keep myself a viable candidate in the mean time.