Riding the Wave of the “Great Resignation”

By Brandi Robertson

The phrase the “Great Resignation” has been thrown around a lot in the past year, referring to the millions of Americans who have quit their jobs since 2021. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in November 2021, the number of people who left their jobs reached an all-time high of 6.3 million. I was one of those people. In November, I left my job as a law librarian. It was not an easy decision. But in the end, I felt it was the best decision for me.

I served as a county law librarian for seven great years. I met some amazing people and worked with an awesome staff. I can honestly say that it was a good job, and I enjoyed my time there. So, why did I decide to leave? Well, I have been asked that several times. I even asked myself that question. Why would I want to leave a stable job and start over? It hit me that it was time to start looking for something else when I realized I no longer felt passionate about the work. I felt like I was going through the motions. It was just a routine. For me, the passion was not about happiness. It was about feeling motivated and thriving. So, I began my job search, I had no idea what I was looking for, but I knew I needed change

After a few months of casually searching, I came across a position for something completely different than what I have done before. It was not an academic librarian position or a law librarian position. I applied on a whim. I figured why not. I felt my skills match the job qualifications and it seemed like a cool job. I got the job and now I am an outreach librarian for a library that serves the visually impaired and disabled community.

The transition to a role outside of law librarianship was scary. Learning about an area I had no knowledge of and navigating a new environment was challenging. It has felt a bit overwhelming at times. In the beginning, I felt like I was just trying to stay afloat. I kind of felt like I did when I first became a law librarian. I was starting all over from scratch. But isn’t that what happens when you start a new job? It’s the learning or “getting to know you” phase. My new colleagues have been a great resource of information and have made this transition so much easier. I think your new colleagues play an important part in helping navigate a new job. 

Getting past the scary part of changing jobs became easier, when I realized I have an opportunity to learn new skills and explore a different area of librarianship. This has been quite a learning experience. I discover something new and different every day. It makes the job more interesting. I consider myself a lifelong learner. So, it has been exciting and reinvigorating. I am still helping people get the resources they need, just in a different setting.

So, that is my experience riding the wave of the Great Resignation. What I have learned through this is that change is not only good, but sometimes necessary. It is not always easy. But with change, comes new opportunities and challenges. And those challenges, to me, are what make change interesting. You cannot spell “challenge” without “change.” I needed a new challenge, which resulted in a change in career paths. Although I left the field, I carry knowledge and experience that has already been helpful in my new role. I am excited about the new possibilities that await me. I have not closed the door on working in law libraries. I may return to the field one day. But for now, I am where I need to be.


Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.