To begin, I need you all to understand how long it’s been. Over seven years I’ve been applying for jobs. That’s such a long, long time. There was a brief lag after I got hired at Globe, but then it started right up because I knew almost right away (that was written four months after starting at Globe)that this job wasn’t for me.
So I kept looking. The economy is down, jobs are scarce and I’m in a field where jobs are slimming anyway. It has been a rough go of it. I’ve applied for hundreds (literally) of jobs, trying to find what was right for me. I was asked over and over again, what did I want, but I never really had the right answer. Public libraries are a better fit for me. And I love them. But there’s no job security there. And budgets shrink practically daily. It’s a scary time for public libraries, but still I tried.
I’ve been on interviews. Many, actually, and nothing every panned out for me. As you all know, I tried being the director at LEPL and that was pretty much a bust.
In recent times, I’ve grown more quiet about the job situation. I didn’t really talk about it. Not here, not anywhere, not really to anyone. If I was asked (Lanie always asked, it’s nice) I’d say what was up, but I rarely ever brought it up myself. Some people assumed it meant I had given up searching and was content to stay put. Not so.
The problem was, I had lost faith. It’s hard, extremely hard, to search for jobs. I felt weighted by the frustrations of applying, waiting, getting an interview, waiting, waiting some more, and nothing. Or worse, applying, waiting, and never hearing another word. It’s a struggle and not a good one, not even when the end result could be fantastic. The process is so awful, it starts to tear you down. That’s what I felt happening to me. I was being torn down by disappointment and failure. I couldn’t understand how no one could see that I would be amazing at this that or the other job.
I still wanted something different, but I began to worry it wouldn’t happen. That I might end up one of those sad people who hate their job but have been doing it for twenty years or more. I feared the future.
Then I saw a different position. Not in a library. But for a nonprofit that supports libraries (in fact, they run the job board I use primarily) hiring….for a teacher. The position is to teach information literacy to teachers and school librarians so that they can, in turn, teach their students. It’s what I do now, minus the library part, only on a grander scale. When I read the description, something inside of me whispered yes. I knew I was going to apply, but I was beaten down by all that had come before and decided to start over. A new cover letter and updated resume.
So I began. I wrote the first draft and sent it to Lane. I asked her to please, please, please, give it her best polish, because I needed something spectacular. She updated it. Then I did. Then she did again. Then we did my resume. DAYS of sending documents back and forth, editing and making changes until it was the best we both thought it could be. (Lane – humongous thanks and kudos to you, could not have done it without you. You are the greatest. )
And I sent it. Right as my Yahoo mail went down. I had no idea if it was sent. I spent the day being nervous about it. Wondering if it was a sign. The next day I learned that all my sent emails went through….in triplicate. Great. Now I look like an idiot who can’t send an email.
The wait began.
Meanwhile, there were countless other jobs, suddenly, and out of the blue. I began applying. Something about seeing this new job caused me to widen my net and there were new opportunities. And I waited.
Then the interviews started rolling in. No spoiler, I got the interview that I wanted. And my nerves set in. So many times I had felt this sense of anticipation, this feeling that things were going to change, that it was finally my time, but over and over again, I was left disappointed.
The day after I got the interview, I was reading a book. I know, that’s a real shocker. Suddenly, I read a sentence that jolted me out of my chair. Literally. I lurched up, read it again, out loud, and wrote it down. The sentence was this.
“You can have what you say if you believe that you have it before you actually see that you have it. That is faith.” (Wicked Nights, Gena Showalter, p. 131)
And I kind of went….whoa. It seemed so simple, so easy when you see it like that. Of course, it isn’t as easy in practice, but at that very moment, I told myself that it absolutely could not hurt to try. And so I began. I kept telling myself “this is it. You already have a new job, you just don’t know which one yet.” The power of positive thinking, I guess.
The day of the interview(-s, I actually had two scheduled back to back, the second was in a public library) I told myself, “today is the day that you got your new job.” I believed. I was driving to the first interview and stopped at a light on the ramp. There was a homeless person standing there with a cardboard sign. It said, “I’ve lost everything….except my faith.”
And I got goosebumps. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a dollar. I rolled down my window and gave it to this guy. Right then, it seemed like the absolute right thing to do. It seemed like a sign.
Not surprisingly, the interview went amazingly well. They told me the last interview was Tuesday, July 1st, ending at 2pm. They’d make a decision after that, before the holiday weekend. My second interview also went well, but they aren’t making a decision until the end of July.
On July 1st, I watched the clock hit 2pm. I knew that interviews for the position I really wanted were over. Now it was a wait to see if I got the phone call. I still believed in my heart that it was my time. At 2:41pm, my phone rang. Before I even picked it up, I knew. The job I wanted, it was mine. She offered it to me and I accepted it right there on the phone. I did not need to think it over. This is the job I want, this is the job I think I may have been waiting for. She told me that they wanted me badly enough to offer more than the position was being offered at. Extra money…I was blown away. They wanted me. I was the best choice for the job. I was blown away.
It was a long road, a hard road. It was challenging in so many unexpected ways. But, maybe it was all for a reason. If I had gotten one of those other jobs in the past, I wouldn’t have applied for this one. I would have missed this chance. I might never have read that book. I might not have noticed that quote. I may not have learned that faith is one of the strongest weapons in my arsenal, right up there with my brain and my truly awesome supportive friends and family.
I’m excited, I’m nervous, I am worried because I won’t be a librarian any more, but I know that this is the right decision for me, at this time. This is my next step. This is finally the direction I am supposed to go – even if I never knew it.