Woes of the Underemployed

Today I took an exam at Santa Monica College for a Library Assistant position.  I think that this shows my desperation in desiring a full time job.  or at least another library job to cancel out my PA job.  The requirements to be able to take the library assistant exam were: HS Diploma or GE, 3 years library experience, and 1 or two community college classes.

An MLIS was not really an option as a requirement.  Questions on the exam?  Things I learned by my mom taking me to the library as a child and were fine tuned 4 years ago when I became a page.  Put these items in order by Dewey call number.  By Library of Congress call number.  How do you start a new paragraph after a sentence on the next line? A) Tab B) Space C)Enter/Return Key D) Delete.  Honest to God, that was a question on the exam.  A 40 question exam, so you would think there wouldn’t be a lot of wiggle room in the questions since they are trying to suss out 20 interviewees out of 140 candidates.  If I didn’t get close to 100%, I should be stripped of all my degrees, particularly my MLIS and my 8th grade graduation certificate.

So, what is the point of this high-class problem (and kind of unwarranted complaining) I have?  The exam was a little demeaning.  It is for all intents and purposes, a demotion from my current position.  BUT, it is FT with benefits, stable, and not extremely far from home.  So at what point do we, the generation who graduated with all these fancy degrees in the middle of a recession, let go of our pride, buckle down, and pay the bills?  My husband and I get along just fine.  We lead fairly simple lives.  We’re not super into labels or new cars.  We own an extremely tiny house.  But we also don’t have kids.  We only have to worry about ourselves and feeding and clothing our own faces.

As long as the mortgage is paid, we have the luxury of picking and choosing what jobs we apply for, what jobs we take, and what jobs we even consider.  This is a luxury so many people do not have, and part of the reason I don’t even want to take positions I’m overqualified for or don’t really want, is that I don’t want to strip someone who needs it more of the opportunity.  Someone who will benefit from the position rather than wallow in it or simply use it as a stepping stone and only look for the next job rather than focusing on the job at hand.

Having a conscience sucks sometimes.


2 thoughts on “Woes of the Underemployed

  1. Your guilt that makes you reluctant to apply or, if the situation came up, accept a position that someone else might be better suited for is the same one that prevents me from applying for full time positions as a college English instructor. The few times I have pushed through that guilt, it was by looking at the people who have received those jobs and comparing what they do with the opportunity with the possibilities you see in the position.

  2. I wish you all the best of luck in this effort. I have found myself in the same boat more than a few times (I graduated the same time as you and am continually on contract). One day, it will all work out in your favour. Do not lose sight of eventually being a librarian.

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