It’s Spring in Tasmania. This has been the first time in my adult life that I’ve ever really been able to enjoy the Spring here. When I was living here before, the months of October and November were blighted by end of year exams and the studying for them. As I mentioned in my other blog, Tasmanian spring is not as dramatic as its Minnesota counterpart, but it still has a subtle and diffuse beauty of its own. I have seen an amazing number and variety of wildflowers on some of the walks that I’ve taken this week.
Once again, I am preparing to leave Tasmania. The last time that I did this was a very melancholy affair indeed. I truly loved the place, and I was going to separated from it by the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, so that I would only be able to visit the place every few years.
This time the parting is a lot easier. Of course, I’m not going to be going as far away. Sydney is only a 90 minute flight away from Hobart, and the airfares have gone down recently. The other thing is that this time my decision to leave Tasmania is completely my own choice, based on what’s best for me.
One reason why I felt so homesick for Tasmania while I lived in Minnesota was also homesickness for Australia in general. Another reason was that I felt I had not yet exhausted the possibilities which the island offered me.
Now I feel that professionally, I have exhausted what Tasmania has to offer me. As I have mentioned before, there are few librarian jobs in Tasmania, and most of them are school, public library and academic (non-legal) positions. There is very little need for special librarians or law librarians. I was willing and able to change specializations, but I can understand why employers would prefer to hire someone with a background in their specialization, instead of somebody new to the specialization.
I wish that when I was at high school, deciding what I wanted to do with my life, somebody had sat me down and said this to me:
“What the careers advisors say about pursuing a career that is best suited to your talents and interests is all fine and good, but just remember that if you want to find a job in Tasmania, you should be a doctor, nurse, tradesperson, teacher (although even that is a bit iffy from what I’ve heard about how difficult it is for young teachers to get permanent positions or work in urban areas), or something in the hospitality industry. Yes, there are other things that you could do, but you’d be taking a real risk that you couldn’t find work in Tasmania. Do anything else and you’ll find that the job market is a lot more competitive, and that the competition to find open positions is rarely on a level playing field.”
Am I bitter? I hope not. I admit to feeling regret, in that I wish that it wasn’t like this – I don’t regret the decision to return here. This was a lesson which I had to learn for myself. If I hadn’t returned to Tasmania and discovered this unpleasant truth, I would have always been pining for the place wherever I might have lived. Now I know that there are no absolutely perfect places, every place has its own good points and bad points.
I look forward to returning to Tasmania frequently as a visitor. That way I can catch up with my parents, sister, niece and nephew, and enjoy the island’s beauty without shouldering the burden of trying to find work here.
I have discovered that for myself, at least, natural beauty is not enough. I would rather be living in a concrete jungle (not that I view Sydney in that way) and be doing work which makes use of my varied skills and experience. For me that would be preferable than living in a beautiful place in Tasmania and being unemployed or having to work at a place like the Vodafone call centre (I plan to write one more post about my experience of working at a call centre and why I’d never choose to work in one again).
When I first returned to Tasmania in February, I wrote about the interdependent relationship between places in the centres and the places on the periphery, but I wasn’t quite sure how that worked. Now I know that my work skills are needed in the centres (like Sydney) yet from time to time, I need to escape to the periphery. There are others who find themselves needed in periphery and they get their escape in the centres.