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.
Kevin Maloney filled out the original survey in 2013 and his answers appeared as A Failed Application or Interview is Much Less Painful When You Take a Learning Experience Out of It. At the time, he was volunteering at a college library and had been job hunting for somewhere between a year and 18 months.
When I checked in with him recently I learned that he’d had an unexpected career path and is now working outside libraries. He seems to still take a learning perspective, and has continued to grow in his new field. He 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?
My career path veered far more than I expected. Two years after graduating, I was briefly a weekend manager at a public library, though regrettably that position did not last long. After some five years of searching fruitlessly for a further library position, I briefly took a human resources course at a community college; afterwards I joined a legal transcription firm as an editor and reporter, and now am working with one of the four major banks in Canada as a payment analyst.
Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?
Practically all of it. It has been an unexpected, uncertain and often difficult professional journey. Quite often I simply ended up giving up on finding anything relevant to my degree, though I would still often go back and try to continue the search.
Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed?
The last time, I had mentioned that I felt the secret to being hired is “staying positive and never giving up.” Aside from the fact that I’ve discovered just how hard it can be, I can also say never be afraid to find a position through word of mouth, through the aid of an agency. I have also discovered that informational interviews can be hugely beneficial for narrowing your career path.
Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?
I have never had the chance to hire anyone, even though, with my brief turn to HR, I would have been more than qualified to do so.
Do you have any advice for job hunters?
Be prepared to endure frustration and disappointment, and do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone if need be.
Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?
None, other than that us LIS folks are out there and eager for interviews
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
These past ten years were a significant learning experience for me. In part, it forced me to learn to deal with disappointment and adapt to adversity. They also taught me to look for LIS aspects beyond the traditional library setting, and to go out of my comfort zone when searching for a position. Above all else I’d like to say that even now, with my career path having been what it was, I still think my LIS and the learning experience involved were more than worthwhile.