Joking about jobs situation painful
AshtabulaGuy writes "This was drafted to be submitted to Library Journal for BackTalk but due to its publication schedule it is submitted with some minor adjustments for the community here to chew upon... April Fools Day is traditionally a day of fun. For librarians everywhere it is a day when we watch Wikipedia wondering what may happen (this year saw the introduction of the "vandalize this page" button for a brief time). Over at Blake Carvers shop, known as LISNews, a story was placed online this year with links to all of the "fun" at LJs site.
For "NexGen librarians" like myself, though, one of the jokes hurt. Not every "NexGen" finds work immediately after leaving school. Indeed, many scrape, claw, and have to fight to even get interviews that they will probably not succeed at. Over the many recent months, I have remained proud of graduating from my library school and having been inducted into the my chapter of Beta Phi Mu. Although pride can be a nice thing, pride does not pay the bills and I have had many crop up while I have been seeking work. I must admit I have had a post-masters job. I wish it had lasted longer. Due to a housing conundrum (not appropriate for a professional cataloger to live out of his car parked outside the library) I had to give up the position after the temporary housing that was arranged ran out. After that I have not dawdled but have attempted diligently and earnestly to seek work (even work as a custodian, if necessary). I have even traveled abroad to seek work and due to interesting immigration problems I wound up turning down an offered contract that would have seen me moving to the other end of North America to work in a foreign land. Those two things have been exceptions. More often than not I have been told I am just too young to work. More times than I care to admit hiring librarians have exercised "good business ethics" in hiring out of work librarians with five to twenty-five years experience who are willing to take entry-level salaries rather than hire new information professionals like myself. With as many rejections as I have received after aggressively marketing myself (doing everything "right" in preparing and sending applications), frankly I have been questioning why I still try.
Not every "NexGen" has an iconoclastic air of superiority about them. Many are humble, quiet, reserved people. Many have personalities of their own who want to add some spice to life but not tear things apart. Many are willing to work hard if you give them the chance.
For many new information professionals thirty years of age and younger, the joke about "NexGens" on April Fools Day hurt. To see something like that undoubtedly caused many questions to arise, especially for "NexGens" who are out of work, cannot find work, and are desperately having to seek help from their families until they can get themselves righted. Rather than worrying about torture abroad while libraries close domestically, ALA might appropriately consider two questions that that April Fools Day piece probably created for many "NexGens".
"Why did I bother spending part of my life learning about librarianship?"
"Why do I keep seeking jobs that seemingly just do not exist?""