Fear and choosing a new adventure

photo of green Gumby figurine

I didn’t expect to be writing another chapter to this story quite so soon, but here we are.

The end of June found me reading an email detailing the (early) end of my contract. Yes it was a shock, no it wasn’t anything personal, just a decision. I have been AWOL from blogging since then because it’s been an emotional, challenging time and I wasn’t quite sure what to write about and generally just lost the tiny bit of blogging mojo I found during #blogjune.

Ask for help, be visible, review everything, ask for help again

Whilst I started to wrap up my role and finish all those little annoying tasks that had been in the too hard pile for a few months, I spent my evenings and weekends focusing on finding my next role – here’s what I did:

  1. Spent time thinking about: what I need in a workplace, what kind of role I was looking for and potential organisations that might be the right fit.
  2. Checked all the local councils, universities, SEEK, CareerOne, Linkedin, ALIA employment list for potential roles every few days (who am I kidding…I was checking multiple times a day…)
  3. Consulted INALJ’s list of keywords for library jobs and tweaked my searches accordingly.
  4. Completely rewrote my CV, which was a huge task and also gave me a massive confidence boost – I’ve gained skills and knowledge over the last couple of years that I hadn’t considered until *cough* I wrote them down.
  5. Asked colleagues and friends for advice on: whether to ring the contact person listed on a position to ask some well thought out questions (YES) and questions to ask at an interview.
  6. Prepared an email to send out to professional connections letting them know I was looking for work.
  7. Updated my Linkedin profile.
  8. Contacted colleagues I have worked with over the last three years, thanking them for their support and letting them know I would be leaving the organisation. ( A few years ago this would have seemed really over the top and incredibly awkward, but it was a really good move. I received several tips on roles that were not advertised externally and generally felt like I left on a positive note).
  9. Gathered information via Linkedin and Google about potential organisations and employees (thanks Amy). This helped me decide whether to apply or not. Super useful.
  10. Applied for roles: individual applications for each position, read through the criteria and instructions many many times.
  11. Read my cover letter and selection criteria to myself out loud (discovered dogs like to be read to).
  12. Read through (multiple times) the awesome resource that is Australian Library Interview Questions. (Make sure you add any questions that you come across).
  13. Referred to the notes I made on what I was looking for (point 1) whenever I felt like my job searching was going a little awry.

#Codebrown and other cool stuff

And then . . . an interview and a job offer. Librarian, in a public library. Exactly where I didn’t expect to be working!

Here’s the thing. I’ve written before that working outside of libraries (in research governance) left me feeling like an outsider. I embraced it and felt like it was a great fit for me. However, I never anticipated my job ending early and honestly, that drove me to look on the “inside” and really think about why I was afraid of applying for librarian roles. Short answer: fear.

So tomorrow, I’ll be catching a train, getting to know new systems, patrons, people, all the good stuff. No fear, ok maybe a few nerves, but I’m ready. Articles like Code Brown: Design Thinking & Beyond feat. @jeromical / Part 1 and The Summer of Bathroom Issues by Justin Hoenke plus public library programs like Reading Between the Wines and Pop-Up Libraries have me very excited to be joining the public library world.





8 thoughts on “Fear and choosing a new adventure”

  1. Congratulations Sally on your new role. I spent some time working in public libraries and absolutely loved it. It’s so wonderful to get the chance to recommend your favourite book to someone and really connect with your library users. I hope you have fun with it!

    1. Thank you Paige, today I talked Percy Jackson and fantasy novels with a primary school girl, was a lot of fun!

  2. Another great article Sally, such a good resource for others as well!

    I’m pretty sure that you and the Public Library will be best friends .. so relax and enjoy .. you know your stuff!!!

  3. So pleased to hear about the new role Sally. I have no doubt you will make it your own. Excellent job search/exit plan strategies here. I’m encouraging many people to do exactly what you’ve done. Even though it seems so much work. It pays off! Again congrats 🙂

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