Saturday, April 25, 2009

Work Woes

For the past three years I've worked at the Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence (ARCHE). I got the job by accident, really. I applied for a job that as it turned out I wasn't qualified for. The person interviewing me happened to also be a member of ARCHE and they needed research assistants. I had the job within a couple of hours and I was to start the following week. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I'd never heard of systematic review before and I was pretty sure I was dreadfully under qualified.

Even three years later I have days where I think I'm not really qualified. My understanding of statistics is limited and I have no knowledge of epidemiology. I do have a degree in nursing, which helps a little. At least I know something of the diseases and conditions we do reviews on. I feel sometimes like I'm not meticulous enough, i.e., I'm not careful enough when I do data extraction, verification or quality assessment. It sometimes feels like I can't focus my brain enough to pick out all the minute details that other people are capable of.

Although I'm not sure I can say I've enjoyed the job, I don't dislike it. It's definitely the best job I've ever had and I've been treated pretty well as a University of Alberta employee. I've never had a problem getting time off for vacation or going home at Christmas time. I don't receive benefits but I do receive pay in lieu of. I've got some publications to my name (a review on diabetes and one on hepatitis C) and I think the research experience helped me get into library school.

However, I have felt for a long time that the job isn't quite for me. It's seven hours a day of staring at a computer screen. Reading, noting things, making decisions. Working on my own, for the most part. I feel constrained in the 8 to 4 work schedule. It doesn't allow me to be creative. On nice sunny days I often spend a little more time than I should wistfully staring out my office window at the big blue Alberta sky wishing I could be out riding my bike in the river valley, or at home writing.

I have decided this week that I'm going to start looking for a new job. There's a posting right now with the Edmonton Public Library (EPL) that I'm going to apply for. It's part time and it's over in Bonnie Doon (which would mean I'd have to drive). But, the shifts would vary and I'd get to interact with other people as a part of my job. I'm not sure what kind of chance I'd have at even getting an interview, but I'll give it a try anyway. I haven't updated my resume in three years. If this job doesn't work out, I'll keep looking. EPL, U of A. If they're still looking for students for SLIS collaborative later in the summer I might apply to that too.

We'll see.




Lisa said...

If you'd like someone to talk you out of EPL, I'm your girl!

S. Andrea Milne said...

I've been having second thoughts about it for a variety of reasons. But there's no guarantee that if I apply I'll get an interview and if I get an interview a job offer. I just feel like I need to move on to something else. Ug. I'll keep my eyes open for other stuff...maybe I'll find something with the U of A libraries...but not Rutherford...that's too scary.