Making the Career Switch to the Library Profession

Absolutely Changing. A career switch is that most common of workday thoughts. You’re fed up. You’re not going to take it any longer. So what’s next?

If you are considering a switch into the library or information management field, then you are likely to have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Already working in information management
  • Already have a college degree
  • Have previously worked in a library
  • Working in an Education profession
  • Have a large collection of books
  • Are included in a downsizing action by an employer
  • What to be in the know about most anything
  • Are near the start of your professional career

Current Career
Taking the last statement first: Are near the start of your professional career… this talks to a couple of facts. One – persons who are beginning their professional careers are earning an entry level salary. If you are at entry level, you can move to a library/ entry level with less income adjustments to make. Two – beginner professionals have little to lose professionally. Such as, being regarded as a subject matter expert at work, or the regard of management as a senior, valued member of the work team, or simply the perks that accrue to the person who has been on the job longer than anyone else. Persons who haven’t invested too much into a profession are in a good position to switch careers – to a library job.

This is not to say that a person who has been in a profession for a good number of years cannot or should not consider a career change. Often, it’s the length of time in a profession that drives people out. Burnout, changes to the profession itself, changes in the ages of the kids, even physical requirements can cause a professional to seriously consider a different career. However, the higher the salary, the greater the income gap to consider if an entry level library job is calling you.

Some situations allow established professionals to ease into a new career. With a spouse relocation situation, both partners are going to a new job. The spouse who is “involuntarily” changing jobs can consider an entirely new career since he or she will be moving out of town anyway and need to find work in their new hometown. Or, if an individual can retire from one profession due to years of service (ie military, large corporations, USA government, etc.), they can afford to take entry level earnings since they already have something of a revenue stream coming in. For some folks, a downsizing at their company allows them the opportunity to ease into a new career while living off “bridge” income and retraining benefits provided by their former employer.

Making the Move

If income is not an issue, wonderful. The next step is to focus on the type of library/ position to seek. Again, options vary according to a professional’s unique situation. For persons who, for one reason or another, take a quick exit from their current job, the options are to take a little bit of time after leaving to look around, or take the best available job open at the time.

One of the best reasons to immediately take a job in the new (library) profession is that it puts the professional right into the field. No wasting time scanning job ads or second guessing. No wasting time at a temp. job while waiting for a good position to open up. It is always better to be working in the profession one aspires to, rather than to be sitting on the outside looking in. The fact is, the professional is waiting for their job, while already employed and gaining experience and contacts in their new profession.

For many career changers, the job from which they escaped was a hell. They need time out to recharge. Seeking work requires energy and optimism. It’s better to seek employment while in a positive frame of mind, rather than while still in a “left in a funk” attitude which can come through during interviews. But while working the former employer’s hate/hate relationship out of one’s heart and mind, there are some things to work on.

  Related Posts