How unemployment took up all my time

Prior to February of this year I worked full-time as an ILS coordinator at the University of California, Riverside, I went to school full time to get my MLIS with San Jose State University – School of Library and Information Science and I worked part time as a graduate assistant. Between August 2013-Dec 2013 I was a full-time graduate student, full-time employee, part-time employee (20hr/wk) and an intern….yet somehow when I was provided with 40hrs/wk of ‘free’ time, I am busier now than ever. Why?

Because I got involved. I took the moment to grab lunch with friends. I applied myself in every aspect of life (professional development, scholarships, publications, building connections & relationships, exercise, applying to jobs that I wanted to do in places I wanted to live, we eat out less and the laundry is done more often.)

I still go to school full-time (but only really for about 6 more days), I’m now graduated. I work part-time and I train for marathons/half-marathons/5ks. Being unemployed is hard work. I cannot sit around collecting a small paycheck and doing nothing with myself to improve my situation.

I have attended a handful of workshops. When you have the time to look for them you will see that there are local workshops/meet-ups just about every week sometime multiple times a week.

I continue the intensive job search but am fortunate enough to actually have plenty of jobs to apply for.

But most importantly I do not stop learning. I took it to myself to get involved in Treehouse tracks and learn or hone my skills. I started following repos I’m curious about on Github. I freshen up on my language skills (Spanish and American Sign Language) you never know when these can come in handy. I take the time and I work more with committees and groups and volunteer. I got involved and did the things I wanted to do but couldn’t because I didn’t have time.

Unemployment can be stressful, and usually is. However, you can’t change your situation without moving forward. Put your full effort into a job you want. Take the time to reassess your goals (personal and professional) and take a breather and refresh. Spend quality time with family and friends. Have fun, it is good for the mind and the soul.

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The job I didn’t get

I wrote this the night after my interview with Elon University for the Systems Librarian.

A day of Elon. I flew into Raleigh NC yesterday afternoon where [redacted] picked me up and took me on a beautiful scenic route back to Elon. I sure have missed the east coast.

[redacted] reminds me of [redacted] which is fitting because [redacted] is from Greensboro. [redacted] has been wonderful and really helpful this entire process, I am surprised that she is a cataloging librarian only because she is a delight to be around and I think would do well at the front.

Dinner last night was wonderful. The ladies I ate with had me laughing and smiling the entire time. My office would be right next to [redacted] and she is a hoot! I’ve really missed southern hospitality.

I am staying at this adorable and beautiful BnB called the Burke Manor. The bathroom is huge, the bed is comfy and the service is fantastic. I’m not use to this type of service and catering. Makes me look forward to staying in them more often.

Today was a long but delightful day. I had 4 more mtgs/interviews, a presentation, lunch and dinner with staff and 3 different tours. The staff at Elon is much smaller (30ish ppl) than UCR but they really embrace change and I appreciate and enjoy the direction and initiative the library dean has, the support of staff and the support for professional development and helping and making way for the staff to grow. One thing that I love about Elon is the community and campus involvement the library has. They do really great out reach and everyone holds high respect for each other.

I really felt like I fit in with this library it hits all the points that I want in a position. In one of the interviews the dreaded what do you want accomplish in 5-10 years career wise.  My answer? I want to be established at an institution, preferably one (if not) like Elon.

I attended a musical tonight put on by an Elon honor student and it was great. It struck me on every emotion and I was thrilled to attend it.

I am feeling really good about this, I just hope they see that I am a great fit for the job. Only time will tell and it is now in God’s hands.”

I finally heard that although I had a strong interview that they had selected another candidate for the position. I was crushed to read that. To get so far and feel so good about the interview and not make it; well at least I now have a good failure story. Which made me think ‘If I wanted to use this as my interview response, what would I want to be able to tell them?’ This has helped shaped my reaction to a crummy situation.

There are plenty of things I could have done better in the interview, because you can always do better. However, I put everything out there and although right now I feel that maybe if I interviewed better with the dean or with the associate provost or if I presented more eloquently I would have been selected, I know that I did give a very strong interview, that I did everything that I could to show them that I was their best choice.

So what now? I read the response from the dean at Elon that answers my question, “what was different between myself and the chosen candidate that made them chose them?” I put myself back together, I continue to learn and be involved and I try again and again until I make it.

How do I do this? Well I started another in depth search for positions I found interesting and I saved them. The goal is to begin working through the application process. My in depth search involved reviewing other job descriptions and pulling keywords to create my taxonomy.

Then I pulled up articles on skills that were highly recommended for the job I wanted as well as pulling from job descriptions. I then checked in with Treehouse so see if they had any tracks for training and I saved them. I also looked up tutorials and I used social media to ask for help.

One thing that I did do was allowed myself essentially a time for mourning the loss. I think that it is healthy to allow your body and mind to release that stress. It isn’t a sign of weakness to be sad and even upset about a situation like this. However, the key is to give yourself a deadline in which you will pick yourself back up and you will put it behind you and begin again.

Before diving back into a list of new applications, I also gave myself the day off, where I did everything but check email, get on the computer and access social media. Sort of a cleanse by disconnecting.

Then I start again. I put my best foot forward and I work towards that end goal.

First week – What I’ve done, where I’m going?

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My first week working with the Santa Clara County Public Library (SCCL) has concluded and I am very excited.
I get to do 2 things I really enjoy: research & social media.

I started out the week writing my staff bio for my supervisor to share with her staff. I am getting better at introducing myself, especially after 8 classes of posting introductions.

I contacted the New York Public Library this week as I researched statistical aggregators for social media. As a leading library in the effective use of social media I thought finding out what they use will help set me down the right track. I hit that nail right on the head. NYPL was very helpful and listed the applications they used for certain social media applications, like HootSuite for Twitter and Facebook Analytics. I had partly hoped that someone somewhere might have developed an all-i-one (AIO) statistical software and that NYPL new that great secret. In a way they did, HootSuite premium account ($8.99/mo) looks like it offers this tool for multiple platforms. More research will be underway.

I ate a fortune cookie today and it beheld great wisdom: “You will be successful through innovation and determination”

So now where do I go with this information? I work on a proposal and I recommend a software. That’s the first step and then I think, I innovate and I stay determined.

Up Next:
Connecting and creating a personal aspect with a Library Facebook page. How can we do it and why should we do it?