A Journey Into Finding a Career as a LibTech

“If I can only get an interview, they can see that I’m qualified and a good worker.” “Why aren’t I getting an interview?” “What’s wrong with me?” “Nobody wants me.” “Everyone else is getting a job, why not me?”

Those were just some my constant thoughts  while deep in my job search. Sometimes I told myself to just shut up, get out of that world’s smallest violin attitude, and pull myself together. Back and forth I wavered between being down and trying to be somewhat optimistic.

I graduated from Langara’s LibTech Program in June of last year (2012). I did not find a job until a few months ago. The cool thing was that it turned out to be the perfect job for me. Seriously, it couldn’t be a better fit if I had to pick and choose it myself.

Being a LibTech was a career change for me. In previous jobs I had done undesirable hours and weekends. I really didn’t want to go through that again. Also, I really did not want to start out with  one week of vacation all over again. I was getting 3 weeks of vacation on my last job, and I just didn’t think I could manage with only one week. So, when I got a job at a school I was very grateful. As a bonus, the job itself was also really suited to what I wanted and what I found gratifying.

But then there was almost a year of despair. I know that sounds dramatic, but I had not worked in 4 years!

After being laid off from the publishing industry I did look for a job right away. But the market for graphic designers, especially in print, where I had the skills, was not pretty. Not finding a job turned out to be a great blessing in disguise. I had the opportunity to take my time during that first year, rather than jumping into anything. The delay put me in a self analysis mode — did I really want to continue working in a field where most kids graduating from high school already knew basic design programs and were happy to get any job, even low wages? I also used this time for travel and finding myself. After all, I had been hard at work for many years and deserved some time for myself. When I was in Cuba chatting with the tour guide, I had explained that my girlfriends and I had lost our jobs recently. He then asked, “Oh, is that what people in Canada do when they lose their jobs, go on vacations?”

The second and third  of my non-working years were well-spent in going back to school. It was a lot of hard work, but I did finish and was able to call myself a Library and Information Technician.

Now the fourth year was the one that gave me many doubts. What if I never find a job? Did I really spend all that time and money at school for nothing? OMG, I wasted time and money for nothing! They want someone younger! Nobody would want me!

Despite the frustration, I tried to keep myself busy with library related matters. I volunteered at cataloguing for the Surrey Art Gallery, did some graphic materials for LTAS and YAACS, and attended meetings in order to “network.”

I wrote one test and had only two interviews. Admittedly,  I definitely wasn’t qualified for one of the positions. The employer was acquiring  huge scanning equipment for digitization, which the librarians themselves didn’t know how to use, so they needed someone with experience. The second interview lasted for way over an hour. I spoke to 3 people: HR, the head librarian, and his right hand (also a librarian). They liked me, but I wasn’t experienced enough for such a new position. They created an on-call position for me, but in the end, I did not meet the employer’s religious qualification. This was very frustrating, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I know this now after getting my job.

So, that’s my story. After almost a year of searching I now have a job that I sometimes have to pry myself away from at the end of the day.My advice to those who are looking for their careers to begin is do not lose hope. Keep looking and keep trying everywhere. The right job for you is out there.

{ I found the posting on Craigslist, by the way. My girlfriend  told me to “just try, you never know“. }

My Coconut Tree for our monkey mascot for the Summer Reading Club

My Coconut Tree for our monkey mascot for the Summer Reading Club

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About Liza

Liza Capdecoume is a Library + Information Tech at a K-12 school in Vancouver. She enjoys making good use her skills as a graphic designer at her various library related involvements. She is the Marketing and Design Coordinator for LTAS, and the Art Director for YAACing magazine. She has been contributing to this blog since 2011.
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7 Responses to A Journey Into Finding a Career as a LibTech

  1. Brenda Wong says:

    So moving and going to send on to new grads. Enjoying one’s work is important and not many can say that.

  2. philfeedback says:

    We graduated at the same time Liza and I sent through very much the same job searching routine. Great post!

  3. B Gordon says:

    Thanks Liza. I’m living a similar story, except the part where I get hired! Your story gives me hope to keep plugging away…

    “It’s always bad until it’s good again” has become my mantra as I walk this path. In the meantime, I aim to enjoy the scenery along the road. The best part is the people you meet on your journey.

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