There seems to be something wrong with my computer, so I'm attempting to compose this post from my iPhone. I'm not enjoying it nearly as much as I usually do from my laptop. Why? Because I can't see the big picture.
Because the iPhone screen is small and half of it is taken up by the keyboard as I write, I can only see a small portion of what I've written. I really hope that when Chris gets home from work he'll be able to take a look at my computer and work some magic. What a blessing to have a husband that can turn his hand to anything!
As I write, my TV is showing me round-the-clock Queensland flood disaster coverage. There have been so many pictures and so much video of rising water that I think I'm becoming desensitised to it. Every half hour or so the news anchor details new towns and suburbs that are being evacuated, new roads that are cut, new flood levels that are being reached, and it just doesn't seem real.
The flooding is hundreds of kilometres to the north of me, and it's difficult to feel connected to the people that are in the midst of the crisis. For me here, the worst of my trouble is the fact that I'm having dreadful trouble getting my washing dry due to the constant rain. Not much of a problem in the scheme of things, is it?
Today I sent off another job application. Yay me, woo-hoo...
Do you hear that I'm not feeling it?
Today I asked for some feedback from the last job that I applied for. It was for a General Library Assistant position, which is beneath my qualification level. It is more on an entry level position, requiring only the completion of high school, whereas I have sixteen years teaching experience and a Masters level qualification in Information Science.
Some of the typical tasks that the job would entail include assisting clients at library service points (checking out books), assist with collection and equipment maintenance and relocation of resources (cover books, move furniture) and maintain the clerical routines associated with this work (process overdue books, take bookings for computer labs). All of which I am perfectly able to do. I don't want to sound bitter, but all of which I could do standing on my head...with one hand tied behind my back...blindfolded. Uh oh, I think I sound bitter.
For the past ten years I have been managing my own small business providing Mathematics Tuition and Music Lessons to students of all ages and abilities. I promote my business, do all the lesson planning, do all the teaching, prepare my students for Examinations, do the books, schedule lesson appointments, evaluate my students' progress and communicate with parents.
It was a big decision for me to embark on a career change. It meant two full years of demanding study that had to be fit in to my already busy life of work and family. Now that I'm finished, I'm finding it very discouraging that it is so difficult to find a job.
The feedback from my application for the General Library Assistant position? There were close to 100 applicants, and though my application was on the right track, it didn't merit selection for an interview. The applicants chosen to be interviewed showed a deeper understanding and experience with regard to the selection criteria.
So what's the problem here?
Probably there were simply other applicants that had more experience than me working in libraries. Which wouldn't be hard, given that I have never had a job in a library other than my two weeks work experience during my study. I know that I don't have experience working in libraries, that's why I applied for the Library Assistant position, which is as low as you can go without being a volunteer...which doesn't pay...and I need to be paid. Is volunteering the only way I am going to be able to gain enough experience to actually find a job? Bearing in mind that I am going on 40 and have years behind me teaching and parenting and running a small business and generally being a responsible adult with a mortgage and living my life. You don't think that maybe I have enough life experience to cope with the work? Sorry, my bitterness is showing.
Probably I also need to work on the way I address the selection criteria when I'm writing my job applications. I need to find the words that will convince my prospective employers that I have the qualities and skills required to be a valuable asset to the library.
I truly want to have a long term career in the information world. (I figure I've probably got 30 good working years left in me!) I see myself working in an intellectually stimulating environment in which I can provide a real and valuable service to library clients. I see myself as a dynamic member of my workplace team, a mover-and-shaker if you like, who shows enthusiasm for innovation and improvement. I see myelf writing papers and contributing at conferences...I'm dreaming big! But first I need to actually get paid to work in a library so that I can focus all my "work" attention in the one direction. If I have to continue to maintain my tuition business and volunteer at a library and search for a job all at the same time, I'm going to get exhausted pretty quickly. And I'm going to be tempted to give up. Which I really don't want to do.
Sorry for the ranting. I'll shut up now. Wish me luck with the job hunting...