Discussion topic: Moving for a job

Moving truck by Matthew W. Jackson via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Moving truck by Matthew W. Jackson via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

How far have you moved for a job?

We don’t want to turn this into a competition about who has moved the furthest, but we’re interested in the benefits of moving to your work in the library and information industry. Moving, particularly moving overseas, can give you new skills and an advantage over others in a competitive job market. However, it’s probably not all going to be easy and it is useful to be aware of some of the disadvantages if you’re considering such a move. Fortunately, there’s plenty of advice around – particularly if you’re looking at an overseas move.

Perhaps you had to move towns to get your first job or some volunteer experience to boost your resume. Maybe you moved cities to take a great promotion, or to be closer to family, or because your partner moved first and you had to change jobs. Your move might have been across sectors rather than geographic – that counts too.

Of course, if you’re here reading this, you are already interested in international librarianship, but perhaps the idea of picking up your whole life and moving it to another town, city or country for your job is out of the question. One thing we have learned here at the ILN is that while there are many differences between libraries around the world, mostly we are doing the same job for the same types of customers – so maybe it’s not as difficult to move as you first thought.

Over the next couple of weeks we will hear from some people who’ve moved for their job – some have moved a long way (like our first ever guest post on this blog), some maybe not so far and we hope to hear from all of you as well. We’ve also got a sprinkling of our Postcards series coming up – where we hear about a snippet of library life in another country from one of our ILN community. Who knows, reading one of those may inspire you to consider moving countries for a job!

Some things to consider when thinking and talking about this topic:

  • have you ever moved house/town/country for a job?
  • if so, what was the main attraction to moving?
  • if you haven’t moved for a job, what would be a good reason to do it?
  • is it common for people to move around your country as they change jobs?

As always, please join the discussion by commenting below or on our Facebook page or on twitter using #interlibnet.

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2015A and tagged , , .


  1. Apart from my first professional post I’ve not moved far for a job, however I’ve had a couple of near misses.

    I had the opportunity to do a job swap for six months with a librarian in Sydney, Australia. (I am from the UK, so just about as far as I can go for a job!) We had contacted each other and things were progressing well when my work decided that they didn’t want me to go. It was the thought of training someone to do my job for just six months that put them off. I don’t think they really thought about the benefits of the wider experience I would bring back and were more concerned with the short term difficulties of bringing another librarian up to speed with my job.

    I also got close to moving to India with the British Council, but It was decided that I didn’t have enough experience of working with the high-up representatives of state and national government that I would have needed. My argument was that I’ve had years of dealing with all that the general public can throw at me in a public library, so what extra skills do I need? They obviously thought more were needed!

    Now the kids are grown up and moved out I’d consider a job swap again, but just as the kids move out they start having kids of their own so we are now on grandparent duties which could throw a spanner in the works!

  2. I moved far a way from home when i got my first job. Fresh from college, in a very small cold town i dnt know where to start but i did it. It was more challanging since i was to eastablish a medical library in a new medical institution.

    It was challanging adjusting to the new environment i was homesick most of the time i missed home terribly easpecially that i could not go home over the weekends since its was almost eight hours drive with public transport. I pulled it through and i adjusted with time.

    Am proud that five years down i left the place with my head held up high because i managed to create the library and in additional an electronic library.

  3. We moved when my hubby took a position abroad. I had to change my job – became a language teacher. Living in the Middle East provides different opportunities and insight into many different cultures. You acquire a broader outlook and new skills in a different country. After several years I realised I now had the time and the means to pursue a dream to study librarianship – something I missed out on at the start of my adult life. I reached that dream in April when I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. But with lack of experience and no MLIS (not to mention the age thing), it’s going to be a tough road to employment. Volunteering will be the way to go. Fortunately this city now has many libraries, in contrast to 15 yrs ago when we first arrived. Although we are over the expat-life, and long for stability in familiar surrounds, I know that this eclectic environment is a great training ground. So, once the summer break is over, I hope to once more get busy out there.

    • Congratulations on your graduation. That’s a big first step! If you would like to try writing about your experience as an expat we welcome guest posts. Just email us your ‘pitch’ to contact@interlibnet.org

      Remember to sell your ‘translatable skills’ in your library applications – language teacher would have a lot of cross over with teaching information literacy for example.

      Good luck – Kate

  4. I’ve moved 3 times so far and, of course, the first one to the Czech republic was the toughest! Because there is no one to tell you what to bring with you or how exactly to put everything you have in just two suitcases. Well, you just start living with less possessions and probably that was for better. I was worried about how things would be going there but forced myself to have a positive attitude about everything, especially the new ones and probably that’s how I’ve made it the first couple of months. Greetings!

  5. I understand perfectly what is the feeling to get a great job proposal for another country! I was living in Seattle and I was working in a marketing company. I got a job offer in London and the next thing I know is that I was on the way to the airport filled with excitement! It was awesome! Living in London is a great adventure! I had to change apartments very often during the first year. I’ve always used a moving company selfstorageislington.org.uk because in London is crazy to handle a move without help! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

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