A professor I really like runs the title as his signature on all of his emails. I was reminded of it not too long ago when my family was eating at a local Asian food establishment and I picked up a fortune cookie which had nothing but air inside. Gigibee and AESB acted as if an enormous transgression had been acted upon me and asked the waiter to bring me another. I simply told them that it is not so much a matter of fortune smiling upon you as it is that you need to make your own luck.
Since I believe the statement to be true, I decided recently that if I really want to be hired as a librarian I need to create a little luck of my own. Being a father of two, husband, and full-time teacher of over 100 thirteen and fourteen-year-olds during graduate school left no time for internships or practica. Now I receive tweets and LinkedIn updates twice a week, at least, that repeat the same mantra~the secret to being hired is having performed an internship. What’s a guy to do?
Well, one can plug away at cover letters and resume tweaking while submitting to every job posting under the sun. One could also create a document with a professional look which states his/her interests in the field, education, experience, software skills, training, etc., that make them attractive to libraries that are already short-staffed and would love someone with said interests, education, experience, skills, training, etc., to work on a voluntary basis for the sake of gaining experience they have not otherwise been able to garner. I chose the latter and, wouldn’t you know it, I had a reply from all three academic librarians to whom I sent an email query and the aforementioned document. Two didn’t work out for the simple reason that I still teach and we had incompatible hours; both are still on my radar for possible summer projects. The third agreed to meet with me, likes me, and has agreed to let me help with reference and instruction to the tune of 10 hours a week to start.
Simply by meeting with the director of this library, I’ve already met two more librarians in the area who are energetic, intelligent and helpful. They’ve granted me the opportunity to gain experience while helping them vet some of their current instructional modules, and, other than another 10 hours away from my family, I could not be happier.
My kids are too young to understand that nothing is ever really given to you in life, but I think they understood what I was telling them about the fortune cookie sans fortune. If not, they have plenty of time to mull it over. In the meantime, I can serve as their example of the simplicity of the statement and, maybe, its effects. I repeat those four words to myself often these days; I have a new volunteer position that may help me land a library job; the experience a glean while working at this library will help me land a library job.
Make your own luck.