Does Your Job Feed Your Soul?
posted May 31, 2013 10:54 AM by Maggie Davidov
It is often the topic of many GSLIS classes whether we know it or not, this question of feeding the soul. However, it is frequently discussed because vacancies do not often arise in libraries. Why is that? Why don't librarians retire? They must have dreams of seeing those places from the books on their shelves. They must long for the hot sticky air outside the airconditioned hum of the library...well, maybe not. STILL, it's brought up time and again.
Any professor worth their salt will discuss life outside of grad school and the job market. They will discuss this, and as a result, come to the conclusion that librarians are generally happy in their jobs, hence the lack of job opportunities. A healthy library will not yield a great many vacancies. And when I say a healthy library, I mean a library that is well-managed and where people feel that their work is valued.
I only bring this up because quite a few job listings have popped up on the GSLIS_info list-serv. And if you're not subscribed to that, you should be. It's important to see what's going on in the job market, even if you're not interested at the moment. If you are though, the question you should be asking yourself is: Am I happy? Might this job feed my soul? Now, of course you can't know that from a website description. But this is the overarching question which I believe should be in the back of your mind during any sort of interview and tour of the library in question. Will this community and environment help me grow professionally? Will it feed my soul?
Context? Fair enough, you have read this far and deserve an explanation. I was looking at a job description sent to me via GSLIS_info. I looked at it and realized I could definitely do this job. I had experience and training for every part of the job. I felt good. They were offering money, benefits, and a lot of other perks. Imagine me! I realized to my utmost astonishment that I had marketable skills that I could offer another library. GO ME! I pondered this job. I discussed the merits of applying for this job with friends and family. Many encouraged me to apply. GO YOU! You're awesome. I admit, I felt really good about myself .
But, and of course there has to be a "but" or there would be no tie-in to the title of this post, I'm happy at my job now. In fact, I love my job! I have fantastic colleagues who encourage me to innovate the way the library functions. I teach information literacy to an amazing group of freshmen who tell me all the time how much my reference interviews helped them with their research. I play in the faculty jug band, the Juggernauts, and we ROCK! In the end, I've realized that for now, my job is fulfilling everything and more I could ask from it. I'm excited to come to work. It's feeding my soul.
This, to be clear, is not to brag about how amazing my life is. No, it's to remind you that your job should inspire and propel you to change. It should, dare I say it again, FEED your soul, help you learn, and above all make you happy. Make sure it does. It makes every different in the world.