A waste of flesh


I'm getting a little tired of all this rejection. When I first started applying for library jobs, I assumed I was being told "you suck" (in obviously more politic terms) because the job needed to be filled prior to my graduation. I was ok with this, as it did not reflect poorly on me at all. Then, I started using the excuse that the places I was applying had a nearby library school, so that was ruining my chances. Again, not really my fault. But then I had to stop living that fantasy when I was told thanks, but no thanks for a job at Idaho State. I even interviewed for that one. Granted, it's not a job I wanted, but it was a bit of a blow that my amazing charm didn't come across in the phone interview.

I got a few more letters saying they had better luck and then another interview. This interview went pretty well, but I think I've shared with everyone why that job fell through. Again, I chalked it up to being for the best. I probably would have only lasted six months at the institution anyways.

About a week ago, I got a letter from a university I applied for all of two weeks previous. It took them only two weeks, less mail transit time, to discover that I wasn't worth further consideration. Two weeks in academia is like a nano-second. This was not good for my self-image. Then I got two letters from a college here in Utah saying I wasn't good enough to be a Media Librarian or an Access Services Librarian. There's not a library school here, so it can't be that. It's not even in a place that most librarians would be comfortable living. And they're not jobs that I can really see many folks jumping up and down about.

I'm pretty sure the only reason why I have the job I do now is that I was the only one to apply. I can hardly imagine many people would rustle up three reference letters, transcripts, a cover letter, resume and application (that you had to call for) for a part-time position. The posting didn't even list the wage, which has turned out to be much better than I hoped, but still made the position dicey.

Just yesterday I got a "you suck" that I really wasn't prepared for. It was for the internship position at the school I did my library degree. I don't get this. I mean, maybe it's for the best on some level. I get to stay in Zion this way and I have a job that will probably last for as long as I want it to. But it hurts me because I thought my chances were pretty damn good. I have two degrees from respectable, if not prestigious, institutions. I did well at school and seemed well-liked by the folks who I worked with and studied under. I've got scads of library experience (just about to hit seven years), including a substantial amount of academic library experience. I think (perhaps falsely) that my ability to write is above average and that a cover letter expresses this. I even had some career professional look over my application documents for the position and they said they looked really strong. I've been proactively involved in professional communities. Hell, I even got a scholarship from the school.

Also, I think I'm pretty good at what librarians do. I mean, not only searching and finding and teaching, but also at having the right attitude for service, working well with others and simply getting the profession. So what's my problem? I mean, is there something that I just don't know? Something horrifically wrong with me? I'm beginning to think that I really am a waste of flesh. What's worse is that all these letters are making me really hesitant to apply for any more jobs, which means I may just get stuck in a rut for total lack of trying. It just makes me tired to think about all the effort that goes into filling in some application form online, writing a cover letter and then waiting. Waiting for months sometimes. And then, all it adds up to is being told that I shouldn't have bothered in the first place.

While it doesn't help that I nearly always teeter on the brink of total self-loathing, I can't really reconcile what I thought as the one thing I had going for me (chances at landing a job) with all the other failures in my life. I mean, I already feel ill at ease for being an unmarried (and indeed even unrelationshipped) nearly 24-old Mormon boy (who hasn't served a mission). And there are some serious issues at the root of my status there, as well. Coming back to Salt Lake makes me feel pretty utterly friendless, which in turn makes me feel like a loser (a thought which needs little help from external evidence). I don't really have any sort of accomplishment to show for my two dozen years here on earth or even particularly good stories to tell.

Maybe these feelings will pass. But, knowing me, they won't. Maybe the hope, inclusion, and generall all-around happiness I felt my last semester at library school was a little divine gift to prepare me for the total crappiness of what my life has turned into right now. I'm ok with this state, for the most part, as I'm used to resigning myself. But, I thought this will all end up so much...better. Or at the very least, in a way that doesn't make me want to curl up and sleep for weeks on end.

Oh well, I'll cope, I'm sure. I always have.


Petra said...

Awwww....I still like you. Not that that means much, but...well, that's all I've got to offer.

(PS: That's a sympathy "awww," not an "awwww how cute.")

Prolix said...

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time, and there is nothing I can really do or say to help, other than to tell you that I think you're a library science superstar. Seriously.

Prolix said...

PS. You can make fun of Canadians for awhile if that will make you feel better. We're all communists you know! We say "eh" a lot! (Go crazy.)

Sean said...

I'm really sorry. I'm planning on starting a library science program this fall, and I'm terrified of graduating and not being able to find a job. Good luck.

eleka nahmen said...

Salt Lake really is fun. You just have to find the right people, and the right underground niche. Took me a few months, but now I'm having a blast.

Sean said...

You should come contra dancing with us next month. And I totally should have invited you to the party we went to on Saturday. D'oh!

Jake Spurlock said...

I saw this the other day, and thought of you... Good luck!

Shaun R. said...

My other librarian friend said she struggled finding jobs too. She said that they kept giving the positions to people who were less qualified (sometimes not even real librarians) so that they wouldn't have to pay them as much.

JYawn said...

I think you should consider children's librarianship, there are tons of jobs. You'd be a great children's librarian. I started out saying this totally sarcastically, but as I write I am deciding that you really would be a good children's librarian. What do you think?

Anyway Dai, things'll improve. You are too smart and too gifted to go through life without doing something remarkable.

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