So. For the past few weeks, I’ve been alluding to some pretty big, exciting changes happening in my life but, unfortunately, I’ve been unable to share any of the good news.
Now I can. Everything has finally worked itself out and it’s bookish news to boot, which makes sharing here even more appropriate:
- I quit my job as the editor of a community news website
- I applied, was accepted and in May start graduate school at Wayne State University, where I’ll be earning my Masters in Library and Information Science
- I have made a triumphant return to bookselling as one of the newest booksellers at a Books-A-Million opening down the road from my house
Phew, lots of news. But see how exciting it all is? See why I’ve been so antsy to share? This news comes with its fair share of nerves and anxiety – ah! where did our money go? But it’s exciting because I’m finally setting out on the path that will take me to the career I’ve always wanted.
I won’t go too much into my reasoning here, but I will admit that while I love journalism, and I love writing, it was never my intent to be a reporter my entire life. I wanted to do more. I have a Certificate in Publishing. I have an English degree. I have an unabiding passion for books and literature. And while having a steady job with a generous income (at least for someone of my age and experience) was nice, I realized early on that it wasn’t making me happy. In fact, my old job literally took over my life so at times I was pretty unhappy.
So at some point during the past two and a half years, it hit me: I would rather be happy doing a job I love, even if I made a little less money and it took me awhile to get there, rather than be unhappy at a job that paid the bills. They say if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well I was working far too hard and even though I know I’m young, I could see my life stretched out before me as one long road of disappointment.
Plus, never before have I realized the importance of work-life balance. I’m a hard-working, intelligent, pretty successful girl, so I thought I would be able to take on the “big jobs” and work through the long hours – all in the quest to “make a name for myself.” But then I realized that by doing so, you allow your job to become your life. You are defined by your job. Money and fame be damned, I never want that to be my life. I want to leave my job at work and come back to my *real life*, where I hope to have many projects, passions and things to keep me busy. The minute I started setting aside relationships and things I love – like reading, or time spent with my husband – for my job, that’s the exact moment I realized something was wrong.
So I decided to make a change. I also decided to come back to a world I’ve loved for many years, but never seriously considered as a profession for one reason or another: libraries. Maybe I thought being a librarian wasn’t “glamorous” enough during my undergraduate years – none of the flash or panache of journalism and publishing. No breaking news bylines or fancy lunches with the next J.K. Rowling. Just…sitting behind a desk, checking books in and out. How lame I was.
Now I realize, despite its own challenges, how exciting and dynamic the library world is right now. Plus, I don’t plan on leaving the media world entirely, either. Books and other content – like, the work of JOURNALISTS – are increasingly moving toward digital formats. How should libraries respond? How should this information be cataloged? How can we make it accessible not only for posterity, but for readers and students? Academic libraries are also becoming centers of publishing as self-publishing becomes easier and easier – how will academic journals change? Who is curating this change?
Now, I think questions about the “future of journalism” are interesting, but these types of questions genuinely excite me. These are the kinds of problems I want to be solving, and considering my skills, academic study and work experience, I think I’m poised pretty well to tackle them. In fact, I hope my time working as a journalist is more than just a blip, I hope it helps land me my dream job: working at a university library as the liaison to their journalism department. Can you imagine?
So anyway, that’s a lot of blather but there you go: Why. My. Life. Is. Changing. This change has definitely been scary – I literally applied to grad school, was accepted and notified my bosses that I’d be quitting within a month. Things happened fast. Then, an opportunity to work at Books-A-Million popped up here in my own neighborhood, I jumped on that as a way to make some part-time cash, bam, got the job and then started working last week. It’s been a rush and the reality of it all is still settling.
But can I say that I’m LOVE-LOVE-LOVING working at a bookstore again? OK, it’s not the magical world of Half-Price Books, where everyone was guaranteed full-time employment with benefits and you could wear jeans and a t-shirt everyday. It’s part-time work (at least for now) at a major bookseller (second largest bookstore chain behind Barnes & Noble now that Borders is gone), and I have to don my finest “business casual.” But I’m having a blast.
So maybe my “Annals of Customer Service” will return to the blog? Maybe. Customer service…oh boy. Everything comes with perks, of course: Books-A-Million provides ARCs for its booksellers to check out and read for free so I *might* be like a real bookseller/book blogger now. You know, the kind you read about on Twitter, tweeting snarky/smart things from BEA! How exciting! Plus, I will have oodles more free time at least in April since classes start in May, so maybe I’ll actually read some books. What a concept. And of course, there’s the whole not-working-at-all-hours-of-the-day thing. That will help…everything…in my life.