So as I mentioned in my introductory post, it took my six months to find my first archives position after graduating. During those six months, I felt anxious, fearful, and ashamed because it felt like all of my graduate school classmates had found jobs except me. I didn’t even reach out to anyone because I was that ashamed. On top of that, I worried, worried, worried about my lack of experience. Sure I’d volunteered extensively, but was it enough?
In the meantime, I took an administrative assistant position that was definitely valuable, but difficult. It was my first 9-5, 40 hours a week job which was a bigger adjustment than I thought and the job itself was a learning curve I’d never experienced. I questioned whether I was even good enough to become an archivist at all if I couldn’t get this job right. I cried a lot during this time wondering if I was doomed, but I prayed and God answered my prayers in the form of understanding.
I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a person. After a few mistakes here and there, I saw that I needed to rethink getting organized. I understood what I liked in a job and what I didn’t like. I knew I needed to grow in my communication skills. I also learned that a corporate job wasn’t my thing. You get the gist.
But back to the subject, while I was volunteering I another archivist told me that it took him six months to get a job. Despite knowing this, I was still worried. Up until I got that administrative assistant position, no one was calling me. And then I learned about The Job.
This was the archiving job that I felt would be perfect for me at my stage of life. I loved the collections and I loved the mission of the institution. I was almost afraid to apply for fear of rejection, but I stepped out on faith. Two days before I my wedding, I got an email and we scheduled an interview for June 9th. A couple of weeks after that interview, I learned I got the job! Ironically it was almost six months to day after I graduated. Persistence, networking, and prayer had paid off in a major way.
I only realized how much of my suffering was self-inflicted when I started preparing for my new job. If I’d only reached out, I would have learned that I was not alone. I would have come across stuff like this and understood the difficulty in finding an archives job. I would have known that no, not all my classmates found archival jobs right out of grad school. Heck, I would’ve realized I wasn’t the only archivist suffering from Imposter Syndrome.
You live and learn, though. I’m going to make sure I don’t close myself off like that again and get to know other new archivists. The archives job landscape is something that I want to research more and, perhaps, post a short essay about it on a later date.
I’ll be making a post about my first week on the job, but I can say that I absolutely love it so far. The staff is amazing and the collections are a joy to work with. I know things won’t always be easy and that I still have a lot to learn, but it’s a labor of love for sure.
On a side note, maybe it was for the best that I didn’t know how hard it was to get an archives job. Shoot, it probably would’ve depressed me more, heh.