Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are about a decade later.
Laura Perenic completed the original survey in 2014 and her answers appeared as It is hard to imagine all the form completing and hoop jumping I have been doing really results in finding quality staff. We followed up with her in 2016 and learned that her job hunt (while unemployed) lasted four months and resulted in full time work in Children and Youth Services.
I was really fascinated to learn she is no longer working in libraries! Laura has found a new career that seems really fulfilling – massage therapy. She works from a home studio in Springfield, Ohio (more info on Facebook) and also at Knot Your Average Massage in Bellbrook, Ohio with (more info here).
She was kind enough to answer my questions below.
Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?
After 15+ yrs in public libraries, I went back to school for massage therapy and I now work in a massage studio 4 days a week. Massage school in Ohio was an 11-month part-time program that earned an associate degree. Since school, I have also taken extra training to learn a variety of other skills such as therapeutic cupping and Thai-style massage. I am an independent contractor which means I have a higher degree of freedom in my work than I would as an employee. I also had to learn about how taxes are different for my work. I now use a CPA instead of turbo tax because financially this job makes things a bit more complicated.
Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?
After investing in an MLS and trying so many jobs under the framework of youth services I really thought I would never leave. I began to find that a 5 day work week was too much for me and now have a totally different profession that’s somehow harder on my body but easier on my mind. While I was in massage school I worked part-time at another library as a clerk instead of a librarian. This was a really nice downshift since I did very little programming. It was easier than I expected to finally walk away from libraries after graduation since I had in effect been weaning myself off the work for a year.
Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed?
In reading my old answers my frustration is so plain. I wonder if that came across as desperation in interviews. I should have realized that my fixation on only working in a library was holding me back.
Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?
Yes, I hire people like I buy umbrellas; one to use and one to lose. I always assume at least one good applicant won’t make it through the month and purposely overhire.
Do you have any advice for job hunters?
I think you can be broader in your thinking of where and how your skills apply. Being a librarian and working a public desk gave me a great customer service background that makes me a better massage therapist. I think I have better than average communication skills and while I hate making phone calls in my persoanl life I have good phone etique from working the children’s desk for so long.
Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?
Stop asking people to do more with less.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Don’t discount your intuition. I looked at a massage school while unemployed years before I actually went to school. I didn’t trust myself and I went back to libraries instead of giving myself a clean slate. I ended up in a job that didn’t value my mental health or job satisfaction. For me library work was great until it wasn’t and honestly, I’m grateful that I got out of the profession before the pandemic.