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.
To put it simply, I’m an archivist just beginning my career at my first formal archiving position. I graduated with my degree in library and information science in December 2015 and six months, some more volunteer experience, and one (valuable) administrative assistant position later, here I am.
A little background: I decided to become an archivist my final semester of my undergraduate career. I wanted to do something with my history degree, and to my horror, I didn’t know what because at that time I was not prepared for life after school. All of the options I envisioned seemed nebulous at best. Archiving as a career came out of nowhere after some extensive prayer. I then graduated with my B.A. in history in 2012 from Georgia State University and decided to take a year off.
Shortly after that, I started volunteering at the Auburn Avenue Research Library down the street from my alma mater to see if archiving was for me. I was already interested in black history; volunteering gave me a passion for preserving it. I got the amazing opportunity to work and talk with other archivists and work with collections created by the black community. I also made some valuable connections that have served me well. As a result, I’m a huge proponent of volunteering
After that, I applied to and was accepted to graduate school out of state. I had my adventures during school (including a brief time where I decided to stop pursuing archiving–long story, another blog post), but I made it through. They say it takes around six months on average to get a job in the field, but try telling that to my anxiety (that’s blog post #2). But I remained productive those six months and now I’m about to embark on my first archivist gig!
I created this blog to chronicle my own experience in this profession and discuss my research interests. From the beginning of my archivist journey, I had an interest in preserving the collections of small institutions. Now it’s evolved to caring about the digital presence of small institutions–especially those focused on minority populations.
But most of all, I’m looking forward to interacting with others. I’ll be writing posts, conducting interviews, book reviews, re-blogging content about archiving and about minority LIS professionals, and historical stuff. So it’s a lot…and I’m sure this blog will evolve from here.
Let’s get started, shall we?