Yesterday I started working at a German library. The library belongs to the Dank-Haus - a German association just a bit North of where I live, in the German part of town. So far, it's more a room full of books than a library. And that's why they need us - a group of German speakers. We are there to re-organize the library, sort out all the doubles, eventually sell them, find out which books are valuables (we have a lot of books that are more than 100 years old - some of them with beautiful Art Nouveau illustrations). It's all non-profit, low-budget so I am not getting any salary out of it but they do give us free take-out lunch and beer. And the guy who is organizing it will be one of my references for my job search AND I can put librarian on my CV AND I think it is a big plus to have a job in America on my CV. On top of all that awesomeness I get to work with really nice people - so far I have met the organizer who is a movie maker, American but with a German wife, a German woman who has a masters degree as a German teacher and apparently a few other masters degrees plus 20 years of experience as a teacher but can't find a job here and an Austrian guy who it turns out went to the same school I went to in Austria, which is such a coincidence, I can't even comprehend it. Oh and he has a masters degree in economics and also can't find a job in Chicago. This made me feel so much better. First of all to meet some really nice, open, fun people to hang out with and second to see that I am not the only person who seems qualified but can't find a job. I have been feeling like a doofus for so long. I lowered my standards so much (I mean, I was team leader for a team of seven people at a prestigious company in Holland and I applied for data entry jobs here) and didn't even get an interview for any of those jobs - it's relieving to see that people with even higher education have troubles finding a job.
My outlook has changed though. I am using this time to collect as much experience as possible. I am talking to a few different people about different stuff concerning photography - everything unpaid but hey, the more experience I get the more employable as a photographer I will be eventually.
A good friend sent me a long email telling me to not apply for jobs I don't really want since it will suck the life out of me and keep me from doing what I really want to do. Another friend told me to be persistent about writing and Photography because often persistence is the most important thing, more important than talent or experience or education. I took both of these advices to heart and that's what I will be doing.
From meeting these other German speakers I now see how incredibly lucky I am to not really have to worry about money. We might not be able to go to Europe this year but the people I met (who are also married to Americans) are struggling from pay check to pay check. One of them lives in a neighborhood in which it is advised not to leave the house at night.
I have the luxury of pursuing my dream and it would be a crime not to use this opportunity.
This afternoon I will cycle down to my favorite coffee place and give you that blog post about New Orleans and hopefully get some studying done too.