The Come Down and the Burn Out – Take 1

My postgraduate diploma in librarianship is over… so now what?

Scene from Bojack Horseman Season 1 Episode 12 ‘Later’

What can I say? Firstly, I’m so glad to have friends who have already went through the master-level-style rigmarole of education. It’s been nice to have people to talk to; to help process how I’m feeling. I can be a pretty closed off person sometimes so in my head are usually one of two thoughts.

1. Oh everyone must feel like this. You’re not special. Don’t mention it.
2. No one feels like this. Oh no! Don’t mention it.

It seems there’s a variety of feels post studying (not just for library courses either) and my friends have assured me it can take some time to ‘recover’.

So far, it’s been a medley of…

  • Happiness: Happy to be free! Happy to have achieved something! To get to the finish line! Hello free time! Hello no studying evenings/weekends/every second of “spare” time!
  • Anger: I feel no further forward having done this qualification. I know in terms of my “career”(and what does happen next) I can’t really say this as it’s too soon to tell, but knowledge wise, ability wise, feelings wise, I feel no different and no further forward.
    I don’t feel dynamically changed.
  • Frustration: How did I find all that time to do a course on top of, at one point, one full time job and later 6 part time jobs?! How did I organise myself? Why can’t I apply this same rigorous dedicated attitude to things I actually want to do? I feel like time slips right by and I have nothing to show for it.
  • Regret: Was this even the right thing to do? Was it worth 2 years of studying? Was it worth £2,500? Could I have done something better with that money and time? Stupid thoughts run through my heading like I should have done a Marketing MA (except I hate sales work!) or a Business MA (erm… why would I do that?!)

There’s so much chat about library qualifications, if they’re useful, are the courses up to date, should we make qualifications essential or desirable on job specifications, etc. Yet I don’t see a lot of active steps being taken to change anything. I don’t see swathes of employers (even in the HE sector, who could band together and make similar changes) taking the qualification off job descriptions. Neither do I see them actively promoting or supporting courses. If chartership is so much more important as some say (1. Not dissing chartership if you have done it because it sounds HARD, but 2. I see chartership much less frequently on job specs than I do typical library qualifications – and when I do see someone who wants chartership I sometimes wonder if they know what they’re asking for.) Why are courses still accredited by CILIP and why is this banded about so much when the process around accrediting a course seems hidden? When some modules seem so outdated? Should course accreditation be made public knowledge? Are there reports to read like Ofsted?

Food for thought maybe. Or maybe research I need to go away and do.
If I really want to spend my newly found free time doing that. We’ll see.

A lot of my spare time post course finishing has been taken over by the job hunt (I have a draft blog post about this in the works!) I knew my librarianship course wouldn’t magically allow me to fall into a dream job, but the pickings have been slim. Slim for a number of reasons of both my own and not my own doing. I’m currently stuck to the vicinity of Leeds for personal reasons and where I would consider commuting I would never do it 5 days a week again. It may come to a breaking point where I do have to leave Leeds for a position, but it would have to be for a top notch, dreamy, job. So that’s problem number 1.

I look for jobs every day. Checking employer’s vacancy web pages, getting my daily dose of about 10 emails from gov jobs,, university mailing lists, JISC lists, LinkedIn, LisJobs, CILIP jobs board, the full works.  

Problem number 2: Do you ever look at job, after job, after job, in or out of libraries, and read the spec and look at the wage and just think
‘Wow, that sounds truly boring’.
Who applies for these jobs? Who gets them? Then what do they do?
Then there’s jobs that pique my interest and I think… ‘Hey… yeah! I could do that!’ Only to realise I have absolutely none of the skills for it. And I’m not talking just not meeting a bit of the job spec I’m talking not meeting almost the entirety of the job spec!

This is where my issues with library courses come in a bit more. We touched on so many different areas in the course I took, but just that. Obviously, they can’t go into everything, but Natasha Chowdory , in a recent twitter chat, mentioned there should be streams in courses. I couldn’t agree more. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do or where you’ll go, but right now I wish I had a bit more of a specialist skill set. I see jobs for market analyst or data analyst and match some of the skills, but don’t know enough about the coding or systems used and don’t have previous experience (getting back on my Code Academy horse ASAP!) and I don’t know exactly how to pull my research skills out of my previous job roles and/or education to make them relevant. The way it usually goes is ‘Oh yeah I did a bit of that in my course… oh wait I did none of the other stuff’. It’s a weird place to be in. I’ve thought that maybe I should have studied Computer Science or more data related courses for my BA or at MA level, but I am a proper artsy / humanities person. I feel like the work I’ve done with data and analysis I’ve enjoyed, but could I study it for 2 years? Or 3? No way.  So I feel kind of stuck between yes, data and tech and stuff is cool and I’m interested and I’ve done bits, but also I need that creative, arty side, researching, working on projects and working with people, etc.

This has been a very question heavy blog post! So I’ll end with 2 final questions.

Why does every single job, even the boring and/or low paid ones, seem so specialist?

Why is there always this massive gap between studying the thing and doing the thing?

One thought on “The Come Down and the Burn Out – Take 1

  1. Pingback: The Come Down and the Burn Out – Take 2 – Rookie (almost) Librarian

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