Career Wake-Up Call

So, I just got off the phone with an old expert in the field of my dream job – a rare books librarian. The half-hour conversation was certainly useful, but if I’m honest, I spent quite a large portion of it squirming in my seat. As I tumbled over my words, admitting sheepishly to what was quickly feeling like an interviewer that I could not remember the meaning of ‘incunabulum’, I felt completely out of my depth (it’s an early printed book, by the way – printed before 1501, one of the first wave of printed texts. And I knew that!)

I’m aware that my self-perception is skewing what was a good talk (I knew what EEBO and ECBO were, as well as who the first European printer was!) but I can’t help feeling that this is a haughty, specialised area of work and no matter how academic my interests are, I’m simply too rough around the edges. I don’t know Latin. My history degree is only a BA. I didn’t even go to a grammar school.

But, even as I write, I’m deciding to say ‘Screw that!’ The world is our oyster, and I want this job. I’ve got some great tips from this experience, and a fire under my backside which will encourage me to, as an example, keep up the Latin classes. Anything is possible.


Personal Professional
Finish two ongoing poems. Complete PID assignment.
Finish reading ‘The Beautiful and Damned’. Track down text recommendations AND complete Latin tutorials.
Make any c. writing notes in diary.
Come up with more personal motivators.

Dusting off

“”Yes,” said Maggie. “It is with me as I used to think it would be with
the poor uneasy white bear I saw at the show. I thought he must have
got so stupid with the habit of turning backward and forward in that
narrow space that he would keep doing it if they set him free. One
gets a bad habit of being unhappy.”” (Eliot, The Mill on the Floss)

I may well have cited this quote on here before – it’s one I return to occasionally in my life. Even if I have, however, it does no harm to repeat it.

Habits can be innocuous and silly, but they can also form some of the staple foundations of our… personalities? I’m not sure that’s the right word – surely our characters are made of deeper stuff than biting nails, gambling or cigarettes? – but they do have a significant impact on how the outside world views us. Even if we manage to hide them from all others, they can tinge our self-perceptions and, what’s more, our self-worth.

I certainly feel that a lot of the aspects of our lifestyles which make us unhappy stem from such habits. Indeed, anxiety is apparently little more than a neurological ‘habit’ of releasing particular chemicals from the brain in particular scenarios, resulting in particular responses to triggers. I’m not at all arguing that a problem as complex as mental health can be waived by ‘breakin’ the habit’. But fighting those urges which leave us disappointed yet famished, still unsatisfied but ever more discontent with who we are, may help with the daily battles many of us face.

With this in mind, I’m dusting myself off and scouting around to find my key motivators. They might be familiar, lifetime partners, or new posts in the World Wide Web. Either way, I hope to post some of them up here, along with a couple of thoughts, in the coming weeks. Oh, and I’ll try my damnedest to avoid anything drenched in trite, clickbait-esque drivel (sorry, a bit of useless cynicism there – a terrible habit!)

Above all else, I believe in using the advice of others in supporting emotional well-being. But the opinions of some can be a risky means of relief. Take my posts with a pinch of salt, I beg you – they’re only my thoughts, after all.


Personal Professional
Make some plans for Lisbon. Complete essay.
Finish editing a poem. Write up a sketch plan for upcoming report.
Make any c. writing notes in diary.
Come up with some personal motivators.

Yet more resolutions

It’s been a strange few weeks; I feel that the use of this blog for myself (and any others – ha!) might be almost dried up. Whether it’s money, the future, or simply making the best of life, many silly things have been wrestling my mind lately. I’ve not had the headspace to write here properly, let alone set my weekly targets – but they’re coming back, I swear.

Speaking of resolutions, today is the 17th May… we’re already almost halfway through 2017, and what have I done? Well, I’ve had a poem published (albeit by a small publisher); I’ve been to Japan(!) and Belfast; I’ve recently run a triathlon and managed to get somewhere near my desired fitness level; I’ve read quite a lot and trundled on with my MA; I’ve strengthened friendships. But is this enough? Not nearly. What else is coming?

Well, I need to finish the first year of my MA; do more volunteer work (especially around August after I… move to a new flat; go to Lisbon; focus on my writing and get more published; start a new blog about special collections and complete a CPD course (Advanced Rare Books Librarianship); run another event for charity in the autumn. What else? Well, we’ll just have to see.

Recurring dreams

[The following post contains a dangerous amount of clichés. Readers with weak stomachs should not continue].


I’ve not written for a while, and I apologise to myself. I’ve been buried by a lot of nothings – stupid, really, but the nothings are the first to bite, and always stick around up to breaking point. They’re slow killers, but killers all the same, perhaps.

There’s so much noise at the moment, we’ve all heard it, and heard others talk about it, and argue about it – you see, we’ve heard it all? Every wonderfully dull particle of our lives is pretty much in sight, if we want. But we’re all becoming so bored of those lives. How many times can you follow the same routine, the same thought patterns you’ve worn through? Our identities are clogged with all the stuff, but what is the alternative?

Just remember – which memory do you want holding your hand, the last visitor at your bedside?


Have any more shamelessly airy advice? Share it; it’s worth keeping in mind, you know.