It’s not often that I break from posting about books, but I’m feeling the need to kind of work through something, so humor me. Or skip this post. Whichever you prefer.You’re not missing anything vital if you do skip it.

When I lost my job almost a month ago, it wasn’t unexpected. The budget situation was a nightmare, and I had the unfortunate luck of being the last employee hired- even though I had more overall experience than employees that were kept, the director of our library chose to keep employees that had more branch-specific experience. I can live with that, and I understand. I don’t love it, but I get it.

Now I feel like I’m at a kind of crossroads. I’ve applied for several jobs. I’m VERY qualified for some, not at all qualified for others. But as a friend wrote in a letter, the only thing it costs to send out a resume is the postage. So far, I haven’t heard anything. Again, this is not unexpected. Sometimes it takes awhile to hear things. And given the overall state of the economy, I fully expect that employers who are hiring are overwhelmed with applicants. There are plenty of library jobs available- to those who have a Master’s Degree in Library Science and are willing to relocate. I am willing to relocate, but I don’t yet have a masters.

I have always intended to go to graduate school. But given the way the final two and a half years of my undergraduate education played out (someone very important to me died unexpectedly in March 2006, and it threw me into a tailspin I didn’t realize I was in until I was nearly out of it), I needed a break from school. I just wanted to take some time off of school and focus on work. I’m currently enrolled in a library cataloging class, but because it was work-related, it doesn’t really feel like school to me.

Yesterday, when I was looking for jobs, it kind of hit me: now is the time to go to graduate school. Not later. Now. And when I get these urges, I tend to run with them (I did the same thing last year when I decided I needed to drop my English major and just focus on completing my history degree). So I’ve spent the last day or so looking at graduate programs with distance learning, and thinking about taking the GRE. The ALA has fourteen accredited schools that have completely online programs; I’ve got it narrowed down to about five schools that I’m seriously considering. The cheapest one is, of course, the one I am least interested in (for many reasons, most of them having to do with my desire to be rid of the university system where I got my Bachelor’s Degree), and at any rate, I wouldn’t be able to get in before next Spring anyway, because there’s no way I’m going to be able to prep for and take the GRE before the application deadline for the fall.

I’ve also managed to kind of rule out two others, due in large part to cost: both schools have tuition rates nearing the cost of my parents’ yearly mortgage. I can’t afford that at all. I was really interested in one of them, but the cost is just too much. I wasn’t as interested in the other program, so the cost thing kind of sealed it for me.

So that leaves two programs that I’m really leaning towards. And the funny thing is, before last night, I had never considered attending either of these schools. I never thought anything about either of these schools, or the states they’re in, or anything like that. It’s funny, the school I had thought would be my first choice didn’t even make the running (due in part to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get in until Fall 2010 at the earliest, but also to the fact that they don’t have a completely online program).

Is it slightly crazy that in the span of 36 hours, I’ve almost completely altered my plans for the immediate future? Because it feels a little crazy. I think my head is still spinning from the way I’ve changed courses. But it seems like a better idea to me to pursue the degree now rather than wait a few years and slog through random jobs that have no real bearing on my future career plans. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop looking for a job. Oh no. I’m definitely still looking for a job. This just means I’m going to start paying off my graduate school debts sooner rather than later.