It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree…

I am happy to announce, I have secured a job for the new year 🙂

It comes with a great pay jump, health and dental and even has holiday days that I can take to go home for a few visits!

This really has taken the pressure off for a while and made me feel really good about myself.

It isn’t in a library though…

I am aware that I am qualified in the area of Library and Information Studies now, but after working in a Public Library for nearly 6 months, I do not think the setting is for me.

I understand office politics, as it was forced upon me a few years ago, but working for a public library run by the local government can be a bit stressful. I found it difficult to adjust from my retail job into a “traditional” library role. I loved it, don’t get me wrong!

I just think I have out grown it, as I prepare to leave.

Everyone I work with is lovely, so grounded and genuinely nice people, but the sense that there was something else out there that I could do has been itching at me for a while.

My boss was very honest and said that my contract was unlikely to be renewed due to budget and also the need to have a L.A on the floor for which I work, which I totally understand. Sometimes it feels like I am trying very hard to look busy, and other days I am rushed off my feet.

I have managed to get a job in the oil industry, which I am very excited about starting!!! It will open a lot of doors for me and also be internationally recognized for my future plans (my partner and I would like to move to Canada before we are 30)!

As you can tell from my other posts, I will not be revealing where I will be working, as that is a private thing, but I will discuss my experiences of my new position and the career I am going to take in this area!

I am having so much fun writing this blog, thank you to all my followers and I hope you and yours have a fantastic Christmas break, whatever your traditions are!

Just remember, it’s not what’s under the Christmas tree, it’s who’s around it 🙂 Charlie-Brown-Christmas-Business-Lessons

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Card Catalogues and I

As per ermigal’s (here is her witty and fun blog hope.ly/1zHbDym) request a few weeks ago, I have been on a looking into the usage of card catalogs in my job to find out when the card catalog has been retired and the answer is……
WE STILL USE IT!

I have not personally had to use it for a research inquiry, but anything that predates 1993 can be found on the card catalog. It is still available for viewing by members of the public, as the reserve stock (mostly predates 1993) is listed on the cards. Most of the items before that date are also on our Library Management System, which is what I tend to prefer.

Please see the photograph 🙂

My experience with card catalogues from my local library while growing up varies a little, I was allowed have two different town library cards and loved it! (I lived in one town over from my primary school town).
I was aware of the card catalogue being in the brown shelving unit behind the librarian’s desk in my home town, but she would always recommend titles or encourage me to move around the stacks myself to browse.
In my school town, which had a significantly bigger population thus library, there was a full row of the card catalog cabinets underneath the stairs that really was used a lot, for the older children who were doing research for their studies.
I recall once or twice the librarians (or library assistants) going to find information in the shelves for the patrons.

I am a browser, and was no in the study phrases of my life when the card catalogue was changed for the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), but to be completely honest…. I would ask the librarian at the desk for help and for recommendations.

When my Mother went back to university when I was a preteen, I was allowed into the library to sit next to her a color and read (yes, I was one of those children)!
For her to find the book she needed, she had to queue up to read the Dewey Decimal Classification books, which I have a photo from my module last year!

She had to know which topic she was looking for, what sub class it was and the ISBN.
Full disclosure: my Mum worked 3 jobs and raised me when mobile phones and laptops were a luxury, you could say she was a hard-worker!
She would look in the DDC and figure out the floor and stack she needed to go to.
I am very happy that I went to the same university nearly 10 years later…. when they had the OPAC and guided library tours that could help little first years who were lost.

Each library is different and the technological advances do tend to be *slightly* behind on the times, but its good to know that if the machines take over the world, there are some places that have original library techniques to guide us through!

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Job Hunting and Application Forms – UGH!

My contract is coming to an end in the public library for which I work now.

It is sad, but I think that I have earned a lot a great skills and I can show them off on my CV (which I really should put up on here but I have to figure it out….)

You have found your dream job, you think you have the skill set required and your resume is the best one in the world……. but what about the cover letter?

I have this DOWN! I can sell my self to the best companies in the world right about now, but it hasn’t always been that way.

Application forms are awful, I do not care what any HR person says, they are so annoying and long and really make you drink a bottle of wine after you questions everything you have done with your and you amount to nothing! *insert silly meme here* Did you ever stop to wonder….. maybe they are hard for a reason? I take 2 days to fill out application forms that I want for a great job. Here are the steps I take:

1. Is there a save for later button? Great! I will be using that, a lot.
2. Is there a list of skills and/or desired criteria they are looking for? CTRL + C and CTRL + V that into the application questions section or a Google Doc.
3. Word vomit. Write my heart out. This is an amazing job yes, but you need to prove that you are an amazing as it. *Do not quote Whitney Houston “The Greatest Love of All”, I did this at 2am and read it back the next day, see? Save button!*
4. Now you have done that, reword the job description, synonymous all over the place!
5. Proof reader, someone besides you. Little things like “its” instead of “it’s” will be seen and you will be so happy you didn’t send it.
6. READ THE JOB APPLICATION AGAIN.
7. Sleep on it.
8. Now attack it will all your energy, envision yourself as that librarian in that science institute/teacher in that school/insert awesome job title to you here.
9. Read it over again.
10. Send it.

Applications can be easy, depending on which site you are using.

Cover letters are a bit more complicated….. And I find it more fun! *glutton for punishment*
No matter what profession you want you will have to use a computer, the internet and email.
You will have to send letters to people and show you know how the layout of a letter is supposed to be. Your cover letter is proving you can do this. Here is what I do:

1. Write out the correct layout for it, here is a link to a Google Doc I made as an example: hope.ly/1vPw0bi Please do not leave the items in bold in that font settings, that is to show you!
2. Date it correctly, again I take 2 days to write one.
3. Again, copy and paste the job description and reword it.
4. Write about aspects of your CV which are tailored for this role, you are trying to sell yourself!
5. Proof reader, again to someone who will be honest and change the odd spelling mistake.
6. READ THE JOB APPLICATION AGAIN.
7. Sleep on it.
8. Read what you have written and see if it flows nicely, make sure you only have three paragraphs which speak about how you are well suited to the roll, make the fourth one about how the company is great and you would love to work with them.
9. Read it over again.
10. Send it.

I am aware of the repeating of the steps I have detailed, but I honestly do this EVERY-TIME I am applying for jobs.

Please let me know if you are liking the direction that my blog is going in, I am really enjoying writing about my experiences, hopefully they will help some other MLISers out there!

Transcribing Cringe-worthiness

Getting permission for interviews for your dissertation can be tough, depending on your topic.

I have been lucky enough to have positive answers from most of the academics I have contacted, all virtually. But of course, the reference interview needs to be recorded for checks required by your supervisor (or else who would believe what your wrote)?!

I have conducted three interviews in person and two via phone thus far for my research. Oh boy! It can be difficult to transcribe if the conversation goes over 10 minutes long.

Transcribing is so cringe-worthy the first few times! I hate hearing my voice on a recording and I have a nervous laugh which seems to be amplified by having a professional academic setting.

Here are the times it has taken me to transcribe my interviews:

First Interview – In Person – Time of Recording 22mins – Writing time 1hr 20mins
Second Interview – In Person – Time of Recording 15mins – Writing time 1hr 5mins
Third Interview – In Person – Time of Recording 26 mins – Writing time 1hr 45mins
Fourth Interview – Via Telephone – Time of Recording 18mins – Writing time 1hr 15mins
Five Interview – Via Telephone – Time of Recording 19 mins – Writing time 1hr 30mins

Shocked? Well if you haven’t conducted research before, and are about to, you are probably freaking out!

Here are my tips for getting through those first few interviews:

In Person:
Be early, this is obvious but when you are meeting someone for the first time for help with your research, you should really be early. They are taking time out of their working day to help you out. Showing up late is perceived as you really do not care about their opinion and do not respect them.
Plan it in advanced. Do not turn up to the place you are trying to catch people for and expect them to drop everything for you.
Confirm it with an email, yes the answered the phone and said they would, you need that email in your appendix.
Record it, if you have their permission. Always ask their permission at the beginning, so it can be recorded proof they said okay.

Via Phone:
Check your equipment! Make sure you have a test run, ask a friend or co worker to pretend they are being interviewed for a few minutes to let you check you can record whats going on. It can be nerve wrecking enough without the recording not coming out!
Ring at the time you should you would, no earlier or no later! Imagine if you are the person being interviewed. (Showing up too early for an interview in person it great, too early on a phone…. you are going to eat into their work time and annoy them).
Smile when you are talking to them, people can hear that.

Via Skype:
This is a difficult, you have to test this too. I have to use a laptop for the Skype application itself and my iPhone to record it. (I find it best to rest it on the keyboard, that way you can see it and you won’t start typing and annoying people).
WEAR PROFESSIONAL CLOTHING! (Yes, all the way down to your feet). It will make you feel more confident and you can take on the world!
Guys – gel or style your hair.
Girls – tie your hair back, you will play with it otherwise.
CHECK THE BACKGROUND! You don’t want a professor you admire seeing your posters above your bed or that weird stain on the wall behind you. Ensure it looks okay.
Do you live with people? Give them advance notice you are going to do this. You will need them to be quiet, or just ask them to go get some coffee?! (PAY FOR THE COFFEE)!
I am going to be conducting Skype interviews to some people from the States, so do the math and check the time zones. If it is 6am for you and it is their lunch break, get up at 5am so you know what you are going to say. Nothing it worse that yawning when someone is talking, it looks like you don’t care.

For all of these interviews:
Phones and digital devices on do not disturb, not silent, believe me I have done this and it did not go down well.
You are not grilling anyone, you are just asking their opinion on a topic, so be friendly and like them speak at length at about what they want to talk about.
Treat it like a normal conversation, do not be too strict with your questions.
Oh yeah, write your questions down! I use this great app called MicNote (http://bit.ly/165Qumt) it’s free and it records the conversations perfectly.
It is free up to 10 recordings, and it only records for 10 mintues, so be careful and keep an eye on this. (I am going to buy the professional version when my trial runs out, its only £5.99).

Most importantly when it comes to research for dissertation, thesis, PhD, whatever level you are at…… Keep in contact with your supervisor. You need to have the channel of communication open. In the worst case, you need to have proof you attempted to keep that channel open. I am lucky to have an ace supervisor who answers my questions with yes or no and will elaborate if asked, and even meet up in person.

You are earning a piece of paper which shows how much hard work you did to achieve it, you are showing an employer that you used all of the skills mentioned above to reach the end-goal…… GRADUATION AND A PARTY!