This report continues from the quantitative responses of my survey on job hunting during low-morale experiences. Following are some qualitative responses to other queries:
If you haven’t started looking for a job yet, how have your job search concerns impacted your daily work?
“I don’t want to commit to any kind of project that could take a while to complete because I don’t know if I’ll be around to complete it. I don’t worry so much about those types of projects within the library, but I do worry about commitments to people outside of the library. I don’t trust that someone would continue those external relationships once I leave. And I don’t want to screw over external partners by making promises I might not be able to keep.”
“I am not able to focus.”
“I am mindful of how my work translates for other potential employers and the need to do more to remain competitive and an attractive candidate for career advancement.”
How have offers and/or rejections impacted your daily work?
“It makes me feel less committed to the daily work that I’m doing. Having to deal with a low-morale experience already means that it’s a struggle to put in quality work. And then rejections make me feel like I can’t escape the situation, which makes me both frustrated and sad, with the effect that I’m putting less effort into my daily work.”
“I have less patience for hostility and dysfunction at work because I know there are other options.”
“My mood has improved dramatically as a result of my offer. Finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, I am frustrated that once again I have to desert the progress I’ve made on my projects and learn the ropes all over again somewhere new.”
How have the offers and/or rejections impacted your perceptions of the library profession?
“It feels like it’s impossible to move into a new track, even if you have transferable skills. The pay and expectation of starting out in part-time positions means it’s an unaffordable career path. The field seems to be full of people who look down on those with paraprofessional experience.”
“As a person of color, I also can’t help but feel my candidacy may be used as a way for search committees to fulfill the ‘diversity’ checkbox.”
“That my labor is not valued. Like I always have to be in high mode alert because they are going to offer me very little money. Like my work needs to be perfect all the time because colleagues will use that against me.”
Considering your job hunt activities (or desire to begin looking for a new job), how has your low-morale experience affected your perceptions of career mobility?
“I hate that I had to move for my new job and that’s too common in our field. We give up community for jobs and it’s heartbreaking.”
“I just am not sure that it will be better anywhere else. Maybe it’s worth sticking around and fighting? I just don’t know any more.”
“Surprisingly hopeful that I will be able to get out of my current low-morale position. While a move at this point would likely be a lateral move, any adequately funded position would be a step up from where I am now. Given the number of interviews I have already had and have upcoming, I feel hopeful that there are options for me to advance my career.”
Feel free to share other concerns, advice, or ideas about job hunting during low-morale experiences.
“A supportive network of both library and nonlibrary associates is helpful to remain positive but to also be understood. I have focused on professional development and external acticities to boost my skills/resume while also maintaining/improving my attitudes about my professional capabilities/possibilities independent of my current role.”
“If we want to make room for mobility, we need to recognize that sometimes people apply for jobs not because they love the new organization, it’s that they need to leave their current place of work. They can almost certainly do the job, but so much of our interview process isn’t about daily duties, and instead relies on just the sort of “soft skills” that are depleted by low-morale.“
“As anxiety-inducing and exhausting it can be to job hunt while still working at your regular job, it can give a much needed confidence boost when you see how much you’ve accomplished (especially if your workplace doesn’t usually acknowledge your accomplishments).”
The survey remains open. I will periodically publish updates.