About a Decade Later: Anonymous Job Hunter 1

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. 

This is our first check-in with a respondent who chose to remain anonymous, but let me check back in with them. They originally took the survey in 2013 and answers appeared as I was recently hired through a head hunter so I did not have to do this. We then followed up a year later. I was interested to hear that they are still in that same job! They were 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?

I’m at the same law firm – it’s been about 10 years now.

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

What has been unexpected was the pandemic and how my position has changed since 2020.  I have transitioned to remote work and I have relocated to the West Coast.  I chose my current schedule and am happy to work from home rather than commute. 

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed? 

Going into a new recession, I’m not sure what the market will look like but I was struck that 10 years ago I considered the legal market bleak.  It’s been a very successful 10 years for my employer and for my department and we have expanded greatly.  It’s been very hard to find library staff though our salaries are very competitive. 

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

No.  Though I have referred colleagues and friends to positions at my company and they have been hired.

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

Depending on what market you’re looking to enter it may be worthwhile to be flexible.  We have staff who have moved between departmental teams into positions they prefer.  Taking a position the firm needed at the time got their foot in the door so to speak even if it wasn’t their first option.  And again, like I did 10 years ago, taking a non-standard hours position can transition into a more senior position where you can set your hours to something you prefer, depending on how successful you are in your role.

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

Flexibility goes both ways.  Forcing everyone to head back into the office is counter-intuitive in my view.  Every time I’m back in a physical office location, whether it’s the home office on the east coast, or the west coast office, I get much less work done because we’re socializing so much and/or interrupted so often.  Hiring a remote employee may get you the perfect candidate.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m really hoping the new New York law requiring disclosure of salary information will prompt other jurisdictions to do the same and I really hope it helps applicants negotiate the much needed salary increases our profession deserves across the board.  We have been critically underpaid for decades in my opinion. 

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