@bgprincipessa It's not so bad. I mean, it's a little bad? But not heart palpitations bad. I got my MLS from UM-CP in December 2009 and landed a job by May 2010. Of course, I was willing to apply to jobs all over the country, so your story might be different if you are locked in to DC. Although I found UM to be OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced (I had to pay out of state tuition because I lived in Fairfax, and even though they do have a reciprocal program, I hadn't live in VA long enough to be in-state there either), you do get the benefits of being in an urban area with lots of libraries and other opportunities for internships. I would never have gotten my current job without my one-semester internship at the National Science Foundation's library, and I wouldn't have been able to do that internship without living in the DC area. For what it's worth, almost all of my classmates that I kept in touch with have found library jobs. One really good place to look into is TRAK jobs - it's like a temp agency just for librarians. You meet with a counselor there and tell them what you're good at, and they hire you out to places that need librarians short term (filling in for people's maternity leave and sabbaticals and stuff). It's a good way to get your foot in the door, several of my UM-CP classmates used them. http://www.trakcompanies.com/rl/library.asp
@Jenn@twitter I am in a job that I like right now, but my coworkers are more than a little kooky. I sometimes want to call the person before me and ask her if it's any different at her new (very similar) job.
@Grant@twitter Ugh, those personality tests. What the hell are they actually supposed to tell you about someone? Who would admit to being a terrible, awful employee on a test like that? And then normal people end up not being eligible for jobs they should be able to do in their sleep. They always make me wonder if I should just pick the obviously goody-two-shoes answer, or answer honestly with the slightly less perky answer (obviously not the "steal and deal drugs" answer)? But then will they think I'm actually a slacker? AWFUL. Case in point, I once failed one of those personality tests to work at a major chain bookstore. I am a librarian.
@allreb Yeah... I thought this guy seemed like kind of a tool. Mostly because when he was all, "You're the problem with America, Logan, because you spend money you don't have and it would be so easy to stop doing that!" and all I could think of was my $10,000 of debt that I got paying for severely not-fun things like "clearance groceries" and "repairs on my 16-year old car" and "gouged by my property management company for rent increases because I couldn't afford to break the lease and get out." Yeah, Greg, it's easy to know that you are out of money and shouldn't go out to the bar, but when you have no food in the house and you know you're not getting paid for 10 more days and you ALSO know that check will go entirely to your douchebag landlord... Some of us don't have your options, is what I'm saying. I really like the whole tone of the Billfold, it's very positive about managing money and trying to live within your means, but this was a bit much.
@gidge Yes, this is what I was trying to say! Once you have settled on a starting salary, your raises don't really make up for a whole lot. If you're lucky they might keep up with inflation... maybe. You tell yourself you'll get raises, but they aren't enough to matter, lifestyle-wise. In my experience, the salary negotiations happen last, after they've already spent considerable time and money deciding that they really want YOU. So go ahead and ask for what you're worth! $45k is not such a large salary that they will think strangely of you, but they might just counter with, "well, here's what we CAN pay you: $$$" and then you have to decide if the job/location are good enough for that pay. Barring some strange unique circumstances that I can't even fathom, they aren't going to suddenly withdraw their job offer because you asked for $45k.
@tiktaalik Coming back to add: Take whatever job you need in the meantime to pay the bills, obviously - even those shitty part-time $12/hour jobs. I'm not saying you should hold out for your perfect $45k job. But just remember to keep looking. Even if the library you are at tells you that they intend to hire your position full-time in a year, remember that budgets change all the time, and the reason those part-time jobs are so shitty is most likely because they used to be someone's full-time job, but now the library can't pay benefits. Not that I have any experience with this scenario.
Hi! I registered just to make this comment. I am a librarian. I, too, went straight through school and got two (2!) Masters degrees without any breaks. My first MS was in biology, the second was my MLS. I got a really-real library job about 4 months after my graduation, which was in December 2009, AKA when the recession was still at "OH SHIT" levels. My beginning salary was $46,000. I do not think $45,000 is outrageous, not at all. I also love almost all of Mike Dang's advice, but I have to disagree with him a bit here - freelance writing and journalism is not like being a librarian. As a librarian, you will probably switch jobs only a handful of times. While you might get annual raises, you are never going to astronomically increase your earning at the same job. If they hire you at $30k, you will be making $15k less per year you work at that place than if you'd gotten a job that offered $45k. This adds up, and you can't really count on being able to make up for it later. While it's always good advice to work hard and hope you'll make more next year, it also pays (literally!) to not be shy and ask for what you're worth. The worst they will do is offer you less. Of course, there are other factors to consider; you don't mention what kind of librarian you want to be, but since you mention public librarians specifically... you're right, they're generally paid much, much less. I work at a university, and $42k is the minimum I've heard of a university library hiring a brand new librarian. University libraries also generally look for librarians with double Masters degrees. You also mention you want to stay in Montreal, which will limit you, but probably not too badly since it is a city and big cities tend to have many types of libraries, universities, archives, museums, etc. that you could work at. If it were me, and I was trying to stay in my current city and get a public library job, I would probably end up settling for somewhere around $25-30k. Basically, you can either be in the city you want working at the library you want and make less, or you can expand your job search to national/international (and maybe other types of librarianship, like academic) and actually get paid what your'e worth. It sucks, but that's the way it is. Also, having been on a few hiring committees - play up your experience. Seriously. The MLS degree means we won't throw away the application without reading it; relevant experience will actually get you an interview. If you get to the salary negotiation stage, go ahead and ask for what you think you're worth.