Writing about how much I loved the library as a kid got me thinking the other day. It’s no secret that I’ve been unhappy with my professional life. I have tiptoed around it because I don’t want to get into trouble for writing about my grievances so publicly, but I can’t really stand it anymore. Between a bad relationship with a coworker, my beloved boss retiring last year and being replaced by someone else (I believe I called him ‘green’ in a previous post, and that about covers it, but there are so many other things I could say, but can’t here), a down economy and three promising job interviews that have culminated in a ‘thank you for your time,’ I feel hopeless, wilted, and just about out of ideas on how to improve the situation. Let’s also say that talking about it with people who can help hasn’t resulted in the hoped for help, and again, that’s about all I can say about that.
So with advancement opportunities slim, outside opportunities slimmer, and stagnation and irritation growing, it’s no surprise that I’m feeling the flight part of the fight or flight instinct kick in for professional preservation. I don’t want to use this space to do nothing but complain. I really can be funny sometimes, and I am lighthearted most of the time. I just feel so … stuck lately. Well, not lately, but for the last 12 years. For the new readers (if there are any), I changed my major in college from English to Accounting and it was the worst thing I’ve ever done. Part of the reason was that I was afraid of the instability my dream of writing books could prove to be, and also I was afraid of the rejection factor. I was changing schools to be closer to my boyfriend, who would become my husband and father of my kids, and that move prompted anger in my parents, so changing my major assuaged some fears my father had when I first declared English as my major of choice. It was done a bit to appease him and grease the wheels for my transfer to a more exclusive, private school that wasn’t as well known as the state school I started at, but was highly regarded in the area to which I’d planned to move, which I’m also still paying off. There were all kinds of reasons, most of which were the wrong ones.
So I finished school with a degree I was okay with but not something to love, and have since entered the professional world feeling like a worker bee funneled into a cubicle job because of the desire for a steady paycheck. For a mother, this makes life better, not worrying where the next income is coming from so that I can provide for my kids. But for me, just me, it’s stifling. I hate it. I have come to loathe getting out of bed in the morning and becoming one of the thousands clogging the roads to head to a job I only regularly go to out of need rather than a sense of purpose. I am in the same boat as so many others, and I don’t feel a special entitlement to bitch. My husband doesn’t like going to his job either. Well, he likes the work, but not the people for whom he works. And he endures. He vents to me, but he moves on. I can’t seem to.
I don’t know why I had it in my head that stable = boring, and why I can’t find an alternative career that I can get behind full bore. Writing that library post the other day was a light bulb. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Andrea!? Why hadn’t you thought of this before!?
So for the last couple days, I’ve been kicking around the idea of going back to school for a Masters in some kind of Library Science. The local American Library Association Accredited program isn’t too bad (though this Jayhawk threw up in her mouth a little bit at the prospect of attending a rival Mizzou affiliated school – a little collegiate allegiance reference for you if you didn’t already know) and the class schedule for the fall and spring semesters show quite a few online options.
There are obstacles, though. I want to fully research the job market before committing to ANY continuing education. I don’t want to be getting into something considered to be a sinking ship. There’s that fear of instability again, but this time, I can be smarter about it. The idea of a Library Sciences degree tickles my reading bone and nostalgia aside libraries are important public services that I can totally get behind. Another obstacle is tuition. There are quite a few programs out there for financial aid to mothers, to working professionals, and to people in general. There’s a big push to get people into colleges around the country to try to help the job prospects a person has. Another obstacle is time. Many of the classes are offered online, so I could do my work on them after the kids are in bed or on weekends. But the entire program isn’t online, so I would have to personally attend some classes. I read somewhere in my research (very preliminary so far) that most people with Masters degrees in Library Science get them later in life as a career change, so perhaps the schedule would reflect that by having evening courses that I could take without interfering with my day job.
So much is up in the air, so much is speculation. I was even afraid to mention it to Mike because I didn’t figure I’d have enough answers for him for the inevitable questions. There’s so much that could doom the idea to a wistful plan to be tackled sometime in the future, easily brushed aside for the practicalities of a life lived in busy mode.
But… I am looking. It might be a plan. I might mean the pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel for the chokehold my current situation has on me. For the first time in a long time, I am hopeful again.