SLA Board Candidate Question 1: What sort of advice would you give to professionals, both newly minted and more seasoned professionals, who might be interested in nontraditional career paths?
Tara Murray, candidate for Division Cabinet Chair-elect:
The information profession is an evolving one and it is difficult to say what constitutes a nontraditional career for an information professional. I know from talking to fellow professionals at conferences that we have a wide range of job titles and responsibilities. Much of what we do - even those of us in relatively traditional roles - falls into the "I didn't learn this in library school" category. This is what makes the profession challenging and exciting.
Keep both your mind and your eyes open.
You may have started your training, or even spent a good portion of your career, with an idea of what your dream job is. The truth is that your dream job might be something you can't even imagine now, and you might have to create it yourself.
In a constantly changing world, you can't afford to be static. SLA offers many opportunities to keep up with the latest in the field and learn new skills, including chapter visits to member libraries and organizations, division programs at the annual conference, webinars offered through ClickU and chapters and divisions, and more.
Keep in touch.
Nontraditional careers usually don't come with a built-in network of information professional colleagues. (This is true for many traditional jobs in smaller institutions, too.) SLA provides that network. Whether you meet your colleagues at a chapter event, a networking event at annual conference, or a discussion on a social media site or discussion list, they help you keep up with trends, provide a sounding board for ideas, offer advice - and who knows, might just have a lead to your next career opportunity!