I have recently been made permanent for the first time ever. I am absolutely thrilled, and finally have that thing called “job security” that has alluded me for years*.
My career so far has been a veritable hotchpotch of fixed term positions, interspersed with education. Each stage of my life so far has been working towards a specific goal. Sixth form was two years spent working towards obtaining the IB. University was three years working for my degree (and a job). My year spent as a library assistant was spent trying to gain as much experience as possible prior to my MA, which in turn was spent trying to gain as much knowledge as possible to get back into work.
My first position following the completion of my MA was a fixed term, maternity leave contract. It served me fantastically well (I’m still there!), and following the initial contract period it was extended, then extended again, before becoming permanent. So now what? My brain has been conditioned to working towards the next goal, be that work or education. How do I motivate myself further?
Thankfully, on one level, that is a really easy question to answer. My role is fantastic, diverse, and I can become involved in projects that keep me busy. I therefore am able to tick the job satisfaction box that some would say is the first thing that most work towards.
I don’t think I will. Not one bit. Firstly, professional development keeps me occupied and gives me a sense of career progression. I am still involved in the SLA Europe Events Committee, and now as part of the board itself. I’m also involved with the SLA Legal Division and with #UKLibChat. Professional involvement is a great way to help skills continue to grow, and to develop alongside your day job.
Most importantly though, I am able to really knuckle down into projects at work. Prior to becoming permanent, my biggest fear was not having an end point to focus on. I have always used fixed term roles as a way to prove how much I can achieve in a limited time frame, to leave a lasting impression. I had thought that a permanent position would therefore leave me somewhat at a loss.
I’ve realised that this is not true though – I can engage with longer term projects, and become more committed to a wider range of tasks. Appraisals will help me to monitor my progress.
For quite a few years I have jumped around various fixed term contracts; I’m relishing the thought of staying in one place and really getting to know my role inside out. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on.
*My first experience to library work in my local public library during sixth form was technically a permanent post, and I was offered at pension at 16, but it was only for 5 hours on a Saturday, so I’m not counting that.