Tales of a librarian turning developer

2012, still a library girl.

After years of struggling with what felt like the world’s biggest quarter-life crisis (smiling about it in retrospect, I had no idea what was coming) I finally came to a decision: I was going to be a librarian. I had been working part time as a library assistant since I was a 21, now I was turning 27 and I just HAD TO PICK A CAREER. No more studying art and literature just for fun (and CSN), it was time to make a serious decision and stick to it. Everyone was really encouraging, telling me I would find a steady job in no time after graduation. All that prior experience, I would be way ahead of everyone else in my class. A sweet, tiny Zooey Deschanel-look alike who loved the library world and got along with everyone, who wouldn’t wanna hire me on the spot?

Wellll, as it turned out, no one. By this time I thought I would have landed my dream job (or at least a steady job, I would have settled for pretty much anything) — working with event planning at Gothenburg City Library, meeting famous authors (especially Jonas Hassen Khemiri). Instead, I have a thousand stories to tell about endless temporary positions, bizarre job interviews, losing positions to male colleagues without degrees or prior experience and going months without an income. Let’s just say the Technigo roller coaster has been a sweet ride compared to it. Learning JavaScript is stressfull but nowhere near as stressful as fighting to get a ARBETSGIVARINTYG (crucial for receiving unemployment benefits, very reluctantly handed out by HR). Those who knows, know.

My career as a librarian finally ended last summer when a library boss told me she would never hire someone as soft spoken as me. She told me there is no longer a place for introverts in the library industry and encouraged me to find another career. I couldn’t agree less — nor can any of my former colleagues, we all believe in diversity — but I was exhausted and done trying to prove myself. The meeting reminded me about the infamous Rory Gilmore/Mitchum Huntzberger conversation about Rory’s future, but unlike Rory’s love for journalism my love for libraries was pretty much dead at this point. The mere sight of a Moomintroll or Birkenstock slipper made me wanna cry with frustration. I decided it was time for me to let go of all my expectations and try to move on.

Unlike Rory, who responded to her boss’ rejection by stealing a yacht, I decided to apply to Technigo. I had been toying with the idea of trying something new for quite a while and got the idea of becoming a developer from the Netflix show Russian Doll — the main character Nadia spends her nights coding (like I used to spend mine reading) and we shared the same favourite book as children. I took that as a sign and started looking into the tech industry where I soon discovered Tjejer Kodar. I and slowly realised that I — against all odds — might me more appreciated within tech than I ever was in the library world. Frontend development seemed hard, but also fun, and I decided to take the leap.

So here I am, still a bit heartbroken over the past few years, stressing out about entering this new, very different world (I have absolutely no prior experience in tech, my closest connection is probably the nerdy guys I tend to like). My tiny, pink laptop (which I bought a few years ago for Netflix and job applications) is fighting for its life installing node.js. I feel very scared and unsure about everything but I also feel proud. Proud of myself for having the courage to let go and try something new. Proud of myself for pushing through even though it’s really hard. Proud of myself for doing this is even though my financial situation is far from secure (I really wish I had Richard and Emily Gilmore to back me up). I’m longing for the day when I will feel pure excitement about coding (like some of my classmates do), I’ve experienced glimpses of it and it feels great. I’m envisioning myself having a steady full time job at a nice company, enjoying all the benefits of employment security, just focusing on growing as a developer. The thought of it makes me so happy and *fingers crossed* it will soon be true. The tiny Zooey Deschanel-look alike is gone (currently replaced by a slightly haggered woman — unemployment, covid-19 and learning React is taking its toll) and I doubt she’ll ever be back. I’m not that sad to let her go, hopefully coding (once I get the hang of it) will help me transform into a new version of myself, much happier than I was before. A person finally feeling safe and secure (as well as experiencing major bouts of imposter syndrome, it will be an interesting mix for sure). Can’t wait for it to happen. ❤

Former librarian looking for a new career in tech.