How to find part-time fulfilling jobs
May 15, 2015 12:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a new job. I've been a library assistant for years and I'm tired of the stultifying atmosphere and conservative coworkers. This is partly made worse by my current work environment which I've loathed ever since I moved like 2 years ago. It just so conservative and small-minded, the kind of place where someone finishing the milk without replacing it would be the source of recrimination and speculation for weeks.

I always wanted to work part-time and pursue my writing the rest of the time. I'd naively thought doing a librarianship masters would be a good way to do this. But it basically feels like there are no jobs above assistant level, or that if there are I'm not qualified for them in some intangible way.

I want to do something useful where I'm learning actual skills that I can be proud of and fulfilling a useful role in society, with a minimum of neo-liberal and entrepreneurial bs, and which I can do part time. Alternatively I just want a job I can do from home that would earn me enough money to live off doing it maybe 20hrs/ week (I need about £800/month to survive) but I'm not very good at networking or thinking of myself in terms of a 'personal brand'. I've worked through books like what colour is your parachute etc but without success and tests come up with really impractical stuff like university lecturer or poet... but it feels like there must be jobs I might be suited to that I just don't know about.

I'm based in the UK (London) so mostly looking for UK options although I am open to relocating if possible.
posted by ninjablob to Work & Money (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is a mostly US-centric response, but I can attest to the very high number of part-time library jobs that require a masters in library science. Various funding puzzles and patchwork temp/contract positions have worked out so that a lot of library and museum professionals--with masters degrees--split their time between two or more jobs.

And library school is really fun, also. If you enjoy the work and want to level up in terms of responsibilities and/or pay and versatility, I'd highly recommend it. Feel free to MeMail me if I can offer any advice.
posted by witchen at 12:28 PM on May 15, 2015

Just to clarify: I am doing a librarianship MA, but have pretty much given up hope of finding a job beyond library assistant level at this point (or indeed another library assistant job). I've has a couple of interviews for assistant librarian jobs, but it was very clear at both of them that the interviewers considered me to not have a chance basically.
posted by ninjablob at 12:36 PM on May 15, 2015

You "loathe your present position", want to avoid BS neo -liberals/entrepreneurs, dislike endless speculation over who used the milk and by self description are not good at networking or self "branding"--In all seriousness, it might be best if you worked independently and avoided team/collegial situations. I would look for one-off temping (locum) work in libraries--time limited projects, home based research for industry/law firms etc--organizing private libraries ( commercial, industry. legal, education etc). You might set yourself up as a consultant in the area of private library organization, management etc. But I do think that if you want to be able to have more control over your own career and professional life you will have to develop some skills and appreciation for self "branding". You are not likely to be employed/retained if you can not comfortable identify what skills and talents you bring. Wishing you well
posted by rmhsinc at 1:47 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

A couple of interviews is not enough to decide there are no jobs in libraries suitable for you (although the UK situation is dire the fact you only want PT should work in your favour). Employment, like dating, is a numbers game; the more applications you send and interviews you go on increase your chances of finding the perfect job. You may also find your chances increase after you finish the MA - I certainly did. I felt very rejected that I couldn't get hired for the job I wanted until one day, I did. And it is a perfect job for me and I am very good at it. Keep trying!
posted by saucysault at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2015

Have you considered school library positions? Your colleagues will be teachers, very few of whom will have truck with entrepreneurial bs; you'll get the school holidays off to write; you'll fulfil an enormously useful role in society by helping kids (either by encouraging their love of books or simply creating a nice atmosphere for them to hide in at lunchtimes).

I used to work as a librarian assistant before I became a teacher and my mother was a hugely well-respected school librarian who loved her job. There's a lot of push -- old-school librarians vs "new"-school librarians -- but if you want to make a difference as a hip new-school librarian I can't encourage it enough. The librarian working at the school I'm at is impressively cool, has a huge presence in the life of the school and is definitely making a difference. Your paycheque may not meet your needs if you only do it part-time, though, and getting your foot in the door at any educational facility means you've got to prove an interest in children's learning.

I work in the UK and write part-time, if that helps.
posted by monster truck weekend at 3:08 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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