Eight months ago, I quit my full-time youth services job. It wasn't easy, and it scared me to think about what would be the next thing. And I wrote just a couple months ago how I didn't know if there would be a next thing at all.
The day I quit, I called my mom from the car after going out to dinner. I was so scared to tell her because I didn't want to disappoint her. But when I shared the news, what she said to me was something along the lines of you'll figure something out. You've always done a bunch of things at the same time and it's always somehow worked for you.
I thought that for a while, but nothing really happened. I applied to a few jobs and heard nothing back. I interviewed for a job and did not get it. In that space of time, I spent a lot of time worrying, questioning whether or not I knew what I was doing, stressing about whether too much time had passed and I wouldn't ever find myself a library job again. In that space of time, I did a lot of thinking -- true thinking -- and a lot of reassessment and wondering about what I wanted out of a career. I'd made the firm decision full-time work wasn't for me. I want to do too much and the rigidity of a full-time schedule isn't something that works with me. I'm not the most productive or useful when confined to it.
In the waiting time, I took up a job as a reader (which sounds vague and I keep vague, but essentially, I get to read potential manuscripts and give feedback on them). I then took a copy editing gig with a university press. I spent a lot of time writing, and I've got a manuscript I've been revising and am really quite proud of. I did a lot of blogging and reading and thinking about them both. I drafted some ideas for a business and it's still something I'm considering putting into motion down the road. I took on work as an admin assistant for YALSA committee and I gave a presentation at ALA. I spent a lot of time learning things and a lot of time just considering what options could be viable. I want my career to be centered around books -- YA books especially -- and I want to work with teens. I want to stay in the library world somehow.
It's weird when you don't want what's traditional or expected. I don't want to work full-time, and I don't want to limit myself to one work experience. I thrive on variety, and I'm good at multi-tasking and juggling more than one project at a time. But by the same token, it's challenging to explain what it is you do. I do a lot of things.
Last week, I interviewed for a library job. I'd made the decision that if this one didn't work out, it might be time to consider other options. To pursue something else just a little bit harder.
I am beyond pleased to report, though, I don't have to.
I've got a library job again.
I can't express how excited I am to dive back into the library world and to do so on such a flexible schedule (because this particular position is very flexible). I'm eager to get the chance to talk about books and reading, to find information for people, to work again with teens, both with programming and collection development. Because it's part time, I get the opportunity to keep my feet in the other things I'm doing and I think that it'll allow me to be better at the other things I'm working on.
I'm not entirely sure what the trajectory is from here. Over the last eight months and a lot of thinking, I've come to accept that what I want out of a career is and will be different from many others in the field. My goals aren't in climbing a ladder but are rather in expanding beyond the ladder. All those things you learn in school and in a career field about how important it is to know what you want and to have a vision for where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years . . . I've really come to think that way of thinking is limiting. At least for me. I want a variety of experiences and challenges, and I've come to learn they aren't all going to come from one place. That what I set out as a goal isn't necessarily going to come out of a traditional career path.
All of this is to say: this feels right. This feels like the last little piece snapping into place. And I'm thrilled to talk about libraries, teens, and working with both again here very, very soon.