For some reason these past few days my zen outlook is taking on some panicky edges. From what I gather from listservs and other online discussions, the professional job market continues to be hotly competitive and difficult in most parts of the country. On average it seems that librarian job searches take from several months to several years. I’ve already been looking seriously for several months and have only gotten 2 interviews, which actually seems amazingly fortunate in comparison to others.

Even though I feel like I’ve been doing everything right for the past several months – hitting all possible national employment aggregators as well as all local listings, and carefully designing my resume and cover letter to address each job specifically, I’m definitely nervous about not finding a job by the time I graduate. I’m not sending out resumes blindly for jobs I’m not suited for, and because of this positions are limited. If anecdotal evidence is true, I may need to send out hundreds of applications even to get a couple of interviews. That’s deflating. It’s even more deflating to consider compromises such as moving to Wayne, Nebraska (just an example – no offense to Wayne!). I really want to stay in New Mexico, or at least in the west, but there aren’t many openings out here. I would rather compromise on a job here than on location, but who knows what kinds of compromises I will eventually have to make?

Then there are jobs like these“visiting reference librarian” positions that ask for every imaginable qualification for a short term position and pay under $35,000. Do they have any idea how much it costs to live in Durango? That is ridiculous. Yet I’ll probably still apply for it, against my better judgment. One can’t help but feel that our profession is becoming increasingly devalued.

Do I have a backup plan? Yes. If the job search stretches into August, I will try to find a month-to-month lease (whether here in Santa Fe or – more likely – Albuquerque I’m not sure yet) and take on a short term job or temping. I don’t mind clerical and administrative work, and it will give me the chance to keep looking. But I would find it disheartening to have put in so much time, effort, and commitment to the profession only to be in that position.