Life Update – some good news!

Note paper by illustrator extraordinaire Kristyna Baczynski – I don’t think she sells this notepaper anymore, but there’s some great things on her Etsy and there’s her recently published comic –
Retrograde Orbit.

I have some exciting news to share!

I got a job!

I will soon be an Academic Practice Project Assistant!

What does that mean? I’ll be assisting with initiatives and projects across a university improving student and staff academic practice, which includes; learning, teaching, and research.

Academic practice = being good at academic stuff! Like writing essays, studying, researching, analysis, evaluation, referencing, understanding your topic or area, developing your own thoughts, ideas, arguments.

What I’m excited about:
– It’s full time!
– It’s permanent!
– It’s not in libraries!
– It’s close to my home so I get to walk to work.
– It’s both a new area and one I feel my skills fit into really well.
– I’ll start paying into a pension again! (yep honestly excited about this one)

What I’m worried about:
– The usual worry ‘Will I actually be good at this?!’
– It’s a full time “normal” job… I haven’t been in a “normal” 9-5 full time job for a year and I am a bit worried about losing some of the freedom I’ve had with working from home and having extremely flexible hours even though these haven’t been 100% ideal.
– Hoping that this will not be a repeat of previous roles I’ve had that have not been the best, most productive, supportive environments (old fears cropping up!)
– Am I still a “Librarian”? Was I ever? Does it even matter?

Lets focus on the positives! I am very happy to be getting out of libraries, even if I haven’t managed to break out of HE, which I was trying to do, but now realise I’m quite happy staying and working in education.

The first time I decided to ‘quit’ libraries I went into student administration and I honestly think it was one of the best moves I made. I got paid more and I learnt so much more about things that maybe don’t seem important, but really are. For example, stuff like using Excel, adding formulas, filters, etc, organising meetings, putting together agendas, taking minutes, working more closely with students and staff, organising events, using the VLE more. And I was still managing data; specifically student data and not typical library data. I got to do so many things I would have never have been able to do working in the library I was at that time and the position I was in. And all these skills helped me apply for better library jobs in the future.

I’ve wanted to get out of libraries for a while because I personally feel I haven’t had the opportunities and room to grow as I’ve wanted to. For me not having the qualification has been a huge barrier to moving up even though many people state they haven’t experienced this, or don’t think it’s the case, but don’t seem to back up these statements with any other helpful information or advice.

Working in this sector has been difficult and disappointing at times and I could do with a break from trying so hard to work in an area that often ends up being unfulfilling. In true ‘me’ style obviously I’ve left the moment I get my qualification.

I don’t think my qualification will be wasted in my new role at all though. One of the first projects I’m going to be involved in is a digital literacy framework project, which is exciting and has obvious links to librarianship. I’m also excited to move into more project focused work. My e-mentor was working as a project manager for a data visualisation company and project management is an area I’ve been interested in for a while as it’s fast paced, there’s a lot of variety, I’m a very organised person so that should come in handy, I’ve been part of large projects and managed my own smaller projects, and for the most part I’ve really enjoyed this kind of work.

Fun Stuff!

One thing I would recommend while job hunting and applying is that you never make a “Fun List” before you’ve got a new, secure, well paying, job. I made this list when I was applying for a very exciting Scholarly Comms role and I didn’t get the job…

However, this list is going to come in handy now! In my new role my salary will be £27K per year. This is the most I’ve ever been paid in my entire life and I’m pretty certain more than anyone in my family has ever been paid. I’m mentioning this as it feels like such an achievement for me and a huge step up when I haven’t come from a background that’s been used to these kinds of salaries.

Also looking at this list I’m both ‘Wow these are some cool things I get to do/happen to me now’ and also ‘Wow do I not think outside the box?’ haha

I’m looking forward to adopting a cat! I’ve wanted a pet for soooo long, but without stable incomes it is very much a luxury to get a pet.

Also wanting to spend more of my time outside of work focused on me, which includes art classes, volunteering / supporting arts charities (Arts Emergency) and artists through their patreons.

I don’t think employers, and some people, understand what it means for things like this to happen to individuals. My quality of life is going to improve! Vastly! I’m hopefully going to be in a role that will be both stimulating and teach me knew things. I also hope this is the start of a clearer route of progression for my career.

So many things will, hopefully, come out of me doing this job. Along with the ability to work one job and get rid of my zero hours positions. I’ve had zero hours positions for over 10 years now and have had more than one job since I was 19/20 years old. The last time I had one job I was doing my A-levels and working in retail so this has been a long time coming!

I’m also looking forward to, like I said before, spending some free time on myself, which should really fix the burn out I talked about in this post.

One thing I do want to do though is keep involved in librarianship and especially open access, scholarly communications and research support.

Does anyone have any ideas of how to stay involved with these things? Please get in touch and let me know!

3 thoughts on “Life Update – some good news!

  1. I didn’t realise that you’d decided to leave libraries behind. It can be a very challenging sector and the beauty of training to be a librarian is that your skill set is extremely varied and valued in many different sectors. I am not going to limit myself to library jobs in the future either – there’s a huge world out there! Massive congratulations on the new job – good luck! 🙂


    1. Hi Amy, thanks for reading! And yep for now I’m saying goodbye to libraries haha. I think the sector’s a bit messed up in a lot of ways, like the arts, and this huge focus on having a qualification which I really don’t think should be as highly considered as it is… issues with a lot of jobs being in London, issues with wages for different jobs and the issues of how white the field is. Lots of problems! Thanks for the congrats and I’m excited to start!


  2. Pingback: Joining the “dark” side – Rookie (almost) Librarian

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