Librarian Avengers

Look it up.

Jun 29, 2004

Dear Ms. Avenger...

Because my name is on a list in the office entitled "Huge Suckers", I sometimes get letters from current attendees of my graduate school. After writing a few replies, it occurred to me that I would have to type less if I posted responses for all to read. So, without further ado...

Hi Erica,
I found your contact information through the mentors database on the SI web site. I have an amateur interest in bird watching (thus the interest in what you are doing at Cornell). I would love to hear how you came across your dream job. I am in the midst of my own job search and I was wondering what pointers you have for finding one's dream job. -Bird Librarian In Training

Hi there BLIT,
My dream job story goes something like this:
I graduated from SI, and was offered a fellowship doing digital library stuff in the main Cornell library. It wasn't exactly what I was interested in, but the position looked really good on a resume, and Ithaca was on the shortlist of places my boyfriend and I wanted to live. We moved out here, and the job, as expected, was less than inspiring. However, while I was putting my time in at the Not Dream Job, I was busy attending Cornell Web Forum meetings, and meeting people who were doing what I wanted to do. I hadn't heard of the Lab of Ornithology before I moved out here, but after living in town for a bit, I realized that it was the neatest place to work on campus. It's located out in the middle of a bird sanctuary, is well-funded, and has a heavy IT/Communications leaning. I kept my eye on the job openings, got a tip from a friend, and by the time this job opened up, I was an established Cornell employee (it is much much easier to get university jobs from within - they tend to hate paying moving costs) and was able to transfer over.

I guess this is all to say that I found a great job by taking an impressive-looking terrible one. Most importantly, I was living where I wanted to be, and was able to take my time until the right thing opened up.

If you are interested in interface design for wildlife organizations, I might suggest compiling a list of the places where you wouldn't mind working (WWF, Nature Conservancy, zoos, etc.), and then monitoring their online job postings. Beyond this, you might consider targeting the place you want to be, going there for a non-dream job, and then looking around for the best place to work in the area. In many cases, it isn't the slick, impressive job that becomes a dream job, but rather the one with interesting projects and good people running the organization. Unfortunately, there isn't a great way to tell these things from a job description, or even from an interview. Burrowing in and observing seems to be the best way.

I hope that helped. If you are interested in positions at Cornell, you can check out our online listings here. I don't know of anything HCI-related coming open here at the Lab soon, but there are plenty of other university bird and animal programs out there too.

Good luck!

Jun 25, 2004

I found this list from a year and a half ago. I was half-drunk and coding a webforum for my PHP class. I made a list, oh so long ago. Here it is...

List of things I want to do after graduation:
Learn Yiddish
Finish reading Sophie's World (Done!)
Make the webforum decent and secure (<-- IRONY! the webforum was recently hacked. Thanks annonymous Russian guy!)
Overhaul Librarian Avengers (Half-assed overhaul complete)
Start looking into Art schools and Computer Science departments. (maybe in a few years...)
Re-dye blue streak in front of hair for Librarian Job Interview Shock Value (Done!)
Start doing 5k runs again (or 3k...3k is good...)
Write old friends
Move to warm place
Develop a drinking habit
Read!! Read!! Real books! Things I care about!
Start buying music again
Start ballroom/swing dancing again (Done!)
Visit Erin in San Francisco and Jenny in St. Paul (Too broke. Thanks homeownership.)
Stay with Jessamyn West for awhile and help with chores
Plan the next Librarian Avengers ALA party. Book Klezmer band.
Re-pot my plants
Build a hive for the honeybee and live alone in the bee-loud glade (Done! Thanks Yeats!)
Romance my boyfriend (ongoing)
Buy impractical shoes (Done! ow!)
Think impractical thoughts
Raise a dog (soon)
Rescue an old cat (soon)

Jun 4, 2004

Copyright, birds, and Mystery Chemicals.

What a beautful way to violate copyright... (from Lawrence Lessig)

I saw a kingfisher, three baby geese, and a little green heron today at work. My job rules. I also got two free meals, and was told that a cd cover I designed was "infinitely beautiful." My job rules. Did I mention that my job rules?

Do any of you chemists out there know what Phenylalnine is? It's in my Diet Pepsi.

Jun 3, 2004

Nature comments on the media

I saw a Northern Flicker this morning. According to my brand-new field guide (thanks employee discount and kindly officemate!) this is some sort of big woodpecker. I was alerted to its presence by what sounded like an impact wrench, and was, apparently, the bird pecking on the neighbor's satellite dish. heh.

This evening we will be attending the Ithaca Festival Parade. Unlike most parades, this one doesn't involve fire trucks, politicians, marching bands, or any form of suck. The Ithaca Festival is a big townie party held the weekend after the Cornell students go home. "Woo Hoo!" quoth the locals, "We can finally find a parking spot!" And a parade is had.

Jun 1, 2004

Field Report from Rural Michigan...

My mom and dad drove over for a visit this weekend. Chris and I took them to the Syracuse Zoo (it was a zoo at the zoo, tourists everywhere) and bumped around Ithaca for a few days. We got up early to hear Bill Clinton address the graduating class. God, what a fantastic speaker that man is. Unlike some occupants of the White House I might mention.

You might want to go here:

My mom, the rural library director, reported yesterday that small Michigan libraries are in deep euphemism as a result of across-the-board state budget cuts. If George Bush's stupid deficit makes my mom's library close, I'm going to be one very irate informationist. Wait. I already am an irate informationist.