Post-OCLC: A midterm update

I wrote this post on May 21, noting that I’ll be out of work as of October 1 (and readily available as of, say, October 15).
It’s just about halfway between those two dates (depending on which two dates you use). It’s long enough after ALA that things should have settled down pretty well. Seems like a good time to say how things are going.

There’s a short answer and a slightly longer answer.

Short answer: Not so well.

Slightly longer answer:

  • There are three maybe-live possibilities, any or all of which could yield satisfactory conclusions. In two cases, I have no idea when or whether I’ll hear anything, or whether what I hear will be mutually satisfactory. In the third, the conversation hasn’t taken place yet. I can’t even guess as to the likelihood that these will lead to success.
  • There are three offers for things that could be small portions of an entirely piecemeal future. I’m pretty certain I’ll take one of them, where it’s a logical extension of what I’m doing. I’m less certain of the other two.
  • Thanks to an old friend and good conversation, I have a better idea how I might go about an entirely piecemeal future–what I would and wouldn’t be comfortable doing, where there might be a market.

If you missed it for some reason, this post sets forth one scenario that would be a “satisfactory conclusion” from my perspective. It’s not the only possibility.

Also, if you missed it for some reason, let me repeat my bribeincentive from this post:

If you provide the contact that results in an offer/arrangement that I take and regard as excellent (or, for that matter, if you make the offer), I’ll send you (or a library or library school of your choice, that wants them) autographed copies of all my books–now and in the future, as long as we stay in touch. Since at least one of the books is really unobtainable, that’s a unique offer. It’s up to whoever makes the offer/arrangement to let me know you were the contact.

I’ll expand that offer, changing “excellent” to “satisfactory.”

What do I mean by satisfactory?

  • I don’t mean a full-time job or equivalent in contract money (although I wouldn’t rule out the right full-time possibility).
  • I don’t even necessarily mean “a good living” (or, by Silicon Valley standards, a living at all). I don’t expect full-time pay for part-time work.
  • I do mean an ongoing arrangement that pays a reasonable sum for value received–and that provides enough stability that I’m able to do the things I think I’m particularly good at, including Cites & Insights and, if it works out, Making it Work.

That final clause is important. I can probably do enough scuffling for pieces–speaking, freelance writing, maybe teaching and training, maybe consulting–to bring in “enough” money. But that scuffling might make it difficult or impossible to do a good job on the stuff I care most about and the area where I believe I offer the most to the field.

I may be slightly discouraged at the moment. That’s probably unfair. These things do take time. I didn’t make it easy–being unwilling to relocate (with some exceptions), not overselling (or, shall we say, optimizing the definition of) my expertise, disdaining Guru or Expert labels. Oh, and being nearly 62. Not that age makes a difference. And it’s still eight weeks before October.

Is Cites & Insights in danger? Not yet–but I’m no longer willing to assert that it will go on no matter what.

2 Responses to “Post-OCLC: A midterm update”

  1. Dorothea Salo Says:

    Five months. The average academic-library search (I learned at ACRL 2005) runs seven.

    The process is inordinately wearing, though. My hopes for a successful conclusion to it are with you.

  2. walt Says:

    Thanks. I’ve avoided applying standard job-search metrics since there’s nothing typical about my situation, but “taking forever” is probably semi-universal.


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