Switching Horses: Thoughts on Career Change

I found this graphic one day a few weeks ago while flipping through my RSS feeds:


I immediately printed it out and tacked it to the bulletin board at my desk, and started wondering about my purpose.

I’ve been a librarian for two and a half years. I was a professional writing major in college and then went to graduate school to earn my MLIS because I loved my job as a student worker at the university library and because I couldn’t imagine living in a world where being a writer in Northeast Ohio would pay my bills. You have to be published in a lot of places, make a name for yourself, live in a big city where you can rub elbows with editors in order to make it as a writer — that’s what 20 year old Kaylin believed.

So I got my Master’s degree and I landed my first librarian job at a small technical college. I love it here — I love learning new things every day and helping my students learn, I love using technology to adapt instruction methods, and I love the tight-knit librarian community I’ve been privileged to be a member of.

But I also still really love writing. I write every day, everything from articles for library blogs to tutorials for faculty members to novellas.

And I started looking at that infographic again. I love being a librarian but… well I could go into my philosophy of librarianship and my prognosis for the field, but I’ll save it for another post – suffice it to say I love the profession but I don’t feel entirely optimistic about it, either.

And then I stumbled on an opportunity to interview for a technical writer job. Love it? Check. Great at it? Check. Paid for it? Check. World needs it? Check. So when they offered me the job, it was pretty much a no-brainer.

I start in two weeks and I’m thrilled to begin a new chapter in my career, but at the same time I’m deeply sad about leaving the library world. I’m leaving one amazing profession for another one that I hope will be equally amazing, and I have a lot of feels about losing the community, my amazing librarian friends, my professional identity as a librarian. I hope I don’t have to – I’m going to keep following librarian blogs, talking to my library people on Twitter, and working on the LIS projects I’m involved in. I will be the most active inactive librarian ever.

I can’t imagine a more supportive, fun, collaborative, engaged community than librarians, but here’s hoping there’s a great community of technical writers out there waiting for me. If there isn’t, I will make it my mission to create one.

I also want to document my experiences as a technical writer since this is something entirely new to me. I’ll be blogging here under the category Technically Speaking as I learn new things and explore the profession, so stay tuned if you’re into that kind of thing :)

*Originally posted on theleastshrew.com*

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