So I’ve been applying like mad for academic librarian positions. I’ve had five phone interviews and one on-site interview, with two more on-sites coming up this month. It’s been 13 years since I’ve had to interview for a new position. It’s scary and wonderful and exciting all at once. There have been a shocking number of academic positions advertised this spring/summer so far, that’s why I’m calling it a safari rather than a hunt: ”bigger animals on the trail” so to speak.
I confess, I’m shocked at some of the major four-year universities that have shown interest in me. Naturally, I couldn’t buy this kind of attention when I was just starting out as a librarian. Of course, I didn’t have nearly 20 years experience behind me either.
The presentation topics are pretty broad – flipped classrooms, assessment, making the library relevant. Nothing I can’t handle – the problem is my own self-talk: I always think I have to be brilliant, knock-their-socks-off brilliant. I am aware that all these presentations are really meant to do is to see if I’m up on the literature, if I can give a coherent presentation, if I’m creative at problem solving and if I can think on my feet. Still, I’m a perfectionist and tend to put undo pressure on myself. I should just relax and understand that, if I’m not chosen for the position, it’s not a statement of general professional unworthiness. I’m just not the type of person they secretly have in mind. And there’s no way to combat that. You either just happen to fit, or you don’t.
Weirdly enough, all of my immediate application rejections have come either from colleges in the upper eastern part of the country (not a big shock) and from community colleges – you’d think I’d be perfect for those. My theory on the latter situation has to do with money. They want a bargain. Given my experience, I’m not going to be a bargain. I can’t/won’t take a 10K or 20K cut in salary at this point in my career. And I do want a tenure-track position, a situation that is becoming harder and harder to find.
While my current organization has major issues right now, this isn’t the main reason I’m looking for new employment. I’m in the mid-40s now, an age when I’m at my most marketable. In five more years, it will be far more difficult, if not impossible to get hired. I’ll be too expensive and too close to retirement (snort, like I’m ever going to be able to do that – the curse of being a GenXer, they say). So I’m striking while the iron’s hot, so to speak.
Now I’m off to prep for the presentations. I hope I’m what they want. I hope I do well. I hope I don’t screw up and say the wrong thing. In short, I’m pretty hopeful overall with this process. Wish me luck.