In researching for our IST 511 assignment on gendered pay inequity, I came across an interesting set of articles that spoke to my concerns of finding a job. While as a white, male, aspiring librarian/archivist, the gendered dimension does not apply to me in the same way as the implied subject of the assignment, the outlook for the profession as a whole definitely does.
I never used to be very career-minded. I chose history as a profession because I felt I would like any job that I could get with that degree. I gave little-to-no consideration for the number of jobs available or the amount of money I could make. As idealistic as this outlook was, and as much as I still want to believe in its sentiment, it no longer holds water in the current job market. One cannot simply be anything that they want to when they grow up; there have to be jobs available in your dream career for you to be able to make a living doing what you want. Sure, you can go into business for yourself, or work to create a position that didn’t previously exist, but the same market limitations apply.* I came back to school to get a master’s degree in an applied field (as opposed to academic discipline) that I hope will make it possible for me to find a job that I will enjoy. I’m pursuing a middle ground between unrealistic idealism and cold practicality.
There are librarian jobs out there, as evidenced by the constant stream of postings in our iSchool LIS listserv. But a more limited quantity apply to my locale (I plan to stay in the greater Syracuse area since my wife has a good job here that she enjoys) and my projected skill set upon graduating from this program (which I plan to augment wherever possible). One of the first articles I read, from Beerbrarian, had “be prepared to move” as the first takeaway from all of the statistical evidence. Since I plan to disregard this advice, how can I hope to be successful?
Rather than feel defeated before I even start looking for jobs, I’m going to treat this like a challenge. Unlike my last go-around, I’m going to be proactive and work to build networks and potential avenues from the start rather than waiting until I’m done with my schoolwork to scramble something together. I already feel much better equipped to enter the professional marketplace and if I take the right steps going forward I can demonstrate my abilities to the right people. I haven’t lost my idealism, I will just need to be more deliberate in its application.
*My old self would have scoffed at any mention of “market limitations”—what is this capitalist force limiting our creativity and alienating our true passions?