And, now you mention it, what exactly is Plan A?
There’s a little phrase trending amongst Amanda Palmer followers on Twitter at the moment: #FUCKPLANB – and it’s got me thinking. How do I know when to #fuckplanB when I’m not sure what plan A might be?
I graduated almost exactly a year ago now with an upper second class honours in English Literature and Creative Writing. Just about a year and a month ago, I started my first full time job at Royal Holloway. I (wo)manned the Music Library for it’s final few months of existence. This consisted of
- opening up every morning
- issuing lots and lots of Short Loan books
- never having enough shelving to do
- quite often wanting to watch The Apprentice
- making tea for my colleagues
- destroying CD jewel cases (which still make me queasy now) and locking our precious CDs into cases with magnetic locks
- turning off all the lights, closing the curtains and locking the door behind me when I went to the pub in the evening.
It was rather a nice job. Come September, as my contract ended, I was offered a permanent job in Bedford Library as an Information Assistant (Digital Collections) – which I took. This is a nice area, I’m comfortable here, I know how the library works and – most importantly, I think – I am self-sufficient. Hence, I have fallen into library work.
But what’s the grand plan?
I have just begun applications to a couple of universities to start a distance learning MA/MSc in Library and Information Studies as and when an opening comes up. I am still idling googling for Trainee Librarians/Archivists – and sometimes still wishing I had taken a Biology degree and was working at the Sanger Institute or the Natural History Museum.
None of these things are a plan.
What I feel guilty about, reading these confident and exciting tweets, is that all these people are creative, have always wanted to be creative and have gone out of their way to be creative and thus, be happy. I’m not doing that. I haven’t written anything creative for – well, that’s a lie, I’m mid-poem in a couple of notebooks at the moment, but that’s not quite the same as making a proper go of it. I’m not sure if I’ve squshed my interest in writing with library work, or whether I just slowed down and a career in literature was never meant to be.
Plan A at the moment seems to be an exercise in preserving my independence and my sanity. I want to take this degree because I feel I should seize the opportunity now and make the most of what I have. I like library work, it’s interesting, it’s changing and it gives me the time to explore my other interests. I want to be a qualified, flexible librarian so that I can move with my interests and not be tied to one place. I understand that I might not feel this way forever, but I don’t think that should stop me in the meantime from giving this a go (although when you attach a monetary cost to this, I guess I’d better want to give it a bloody good go!) and making the most of what I can do.
Plan A is: getting the most out of my job, making sure I have time to pursue my interests, living with/near the people I care about.
Plan A manifests itself by: applying for a Master’s degree, staying employed at Royal Holloway, compromising on commutes between home, work and living-somewhere-else boyfriend – possibly by moving before September.
As I don’t really have a concrete Plan A/burning desire to become a poet, perhaps Plan B is just looking at other opportunities? If the perfect traineeship/immense promotion (unlikely) came along, I would have to ask myself some serious questions but if enough of them point to fitting in with Plan A’s values, then why not?
Maybe that just means Plan B is non-existent because Plan A is flexible? In which case, fuck it. I’ll stick with working out Plan A.
So, do you have a Plan B? Have you ever had a Plan A? And did any of it go to plan at all? Help a still-dubious graduate!