Monday, May 19, 2008

Boomers and Scarcity of Library Jobs

It is a holiday today in Canada, and depending on your political, social, cultural background, it is either Queen Victoria Day, Dollard Day, or Patriots Day. For me, it is a rainy and dreary day - perfect weather, I say, to read the Annoyed Librarian. Yes, she/they is/are still blogging in spite of what seems to be a deliberate slowdown in her/their usual prolific output.

In light of my recent survey on the status of employment among librarians and archivists, whose results revealed many librarians/archivists have permanent positions (contrary to my own thoughts), I found the Annoyed Librarian's blog post, "Those Darn Boomers," rather interesting. Of course, the AL is to be taken with a grain of salt (or with a martini), but she/they usually infuse(s) her/their posts with some truth.

In the blog post, the AL argues:
  • Library grads have no reason to moan and groan about the scarcity of library jobs (AL writes: "If you went to library school because you were told jobs were plentiful, then you were duped.");
  • Library grads should not assume that permanent positions belong to some exclusive group (AL writes: "Some new library school graduates seem to have been under the impression that librarianship was a non-competitive field.");
  • Library grads use faulty logic if they complain that boomers in the profession are the ones responsible for the library job shortage (AL writes: "Are these boomer librarians not people who deserve jobs, too?")
After many years of being in the field, roughly seven years, these are valid points. Like any other profession, there is strong competition, there are more candidates than positions, and professionals in the field with senior titles are not likely to retire any time soon. So what should one do if one still finds him or herself underemployed or unemployed?

As my survey revealed, there are still many with contractual or no jobs at all. So, honestly, what should one do??

FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS!! (...even if that means stepping outside your comfort zone...)

God, that was hard to write. I tried to be as eloquent as the AL. But sometimes bluntness rather than eloquence is best. And more truthful, too.


Seth said...

Funny. It was following my passions that lead me to abandon more lucrative positions in the IT field and bury myself in educational debt (I got away with a B.S. with no debt but my MIS more than compensated) to become an archivist.

I don't see how any rational person can blame boomers for not retiring. I may be young in my career but I intend to work well past the traditional retirement age of 65.

David Kemper said...

Dear Seth,

Thanks for reading and for your comments. You know, life is strange: sometimes we pursue a career path, with no planning whatsoever, and find ourselves satisfied. Other times, the complete opposite. We plan every detail only to find ourselves empty and unfulfilled.

I say follow your passions because you are honestly following something you love, whether it be in IT or archives.

It is hard to determine if you are satisfied with your current work, though by your thoughts on working well past 65, I assume things are okay for the most part.

Best of luck.

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