On April 30, 2016, I graduated with my Ph.D. in Information Studies from the School of Information at Florida State University. What a confusing series of emotions I went through on that day – from anger, sadness, happiness, and dread. It has taken me several weeks to process what “graduating” REALLY means and what it means for me. After being a doctoral student for four years, a Master’s and Specialist student for four, and an undergrad for four, I’m not sure what a school-free life should be like. Should I have more time to do non-school related stuff? How do I do that without feeling guilty that I’m not working on schoolwork? Should I be working overtime to turn all my dissertation work into more publications, conference proposals, and posters? Unfortunately, I’m very tired right now. It’s challenging to find the motivation to do any work, if I’m honest. I don’t know if this is the norm or depression or what, but I’m feel drained thinking about my dissertation. The last thing I want to do is revisit it. At least right now.
I doesn’t help that everything is in limbo as far as my job search is concerned. I have a few possible post-docs, nothing faculty tenure track, and nothing from the professional librarian world. In many ways, I still feel my Ph.D. does me a disservice in searching for librarian positions whether academic or public. Maybe I’ve super educated myself to the point where people assume I’m overqualified for so many jobs. I’ve written about this in a post for Letters to a Young Librarian awhile back. And I still have many of the same concerns. Will library directors assume when they look at my resume that I will demand more money because of my Ph.D.? ( Not the case.) Will they overlook me because they’re concerned I’ll become bored in the job and quit after a year or two? (Doubtful.) I’m still wondering over these questions. Still haven’t had heard much back from the academic and public library jobs I’ve applied to since defending my dissertation. The LIS faculty job market is so bleak right now (particularly in my area of research) that I’ve almost entirely given up on that path.
The library job market is tight right now. At least that’s the impression I get. So much competition, and so many older librarians not retiring. Remember back in 2006 (when I was a very eager MLIS student) when all the librarians I knew kept saying that there would be lots of opening for new librarians coming soon? That there would be a wave of librarians retiring once I graduated. And then the recession hit and that didn’t turn out to be the case.
I also keep asking myself would I be happy working back in the library. I think I would. I love research, but I have enough confidence in myself to know that I can find some way to incorporate research into my potential return to professional librarian life. I do very, very much miss working in the library, especially with teens. I’ve probably mentioned this a few times on this blog. Social media has played a hand in making me miss the library. Reading tweets, tumbles, and Facebook updates has made me more than a little jealous of those who are actually practicing in the library work. This work has its own share of issues, frustrations, and upsets, but I believe that I was contributing to something and really helping people.
I’m also unsure what direction this blog should take. Now that I’ve slugging my way through a Ph.D., what should be the focus of my blog? Since I started it as a doctoral student, my posts have been about academia, research, presenting, and my struggles to overcome my insecurities as an academic. I think I would like to talk more about libraries, librarianship, and all the interesting and confusing aspects of our field. That would give me a whole bunch of stuff I could rant/talk about!
Side note: I STILL don’t know what to say to people who ask me if they should go for a Ph.D. Or if it was all worth it. So far my response is, “Ummm.”Ask me again in a couple of years.