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Eating in DC: Tips for #SAA14 Attendees

July 8, 2014

Fun fact: I have lived in the DC area at four different times in my life, totaling 10 years. That’s a big deal when you’re a military brat. And although I believe that food always tastes better when you’re in good company (or if the food is really affordable), I have some faves that have passed the test of time. Not all of them are near the conference, but you should saunter towards the Mall as the sun goes down anyway – especially now that the Washington Monument is open again! YMMV, but hopefully one of these will strike a chord.

Lunch

  • Naan and Beyond, 1710 L St NW (both Farragut stops) It’s not the most authentic Indian food but it is completely delicious with great sauces and the portions are generous. Not a ton of seating, but you can eat at Farragut Square if it’s full.
  • Greek Deli, 1120 19th St NW (the Farraguts/Dupont) I love the Greek Deli with an undying passion. Wednesday is Lamb Meatball day; they are dreamy. The portions are EPIC. The line can be, too, though – I recommend going before noon or after 2pm, although the line can move fast. Grab lunch and go eat at Dupont Circle!
  • Potbelly, everywhere If you have yet to eat at Potbellys, seize the opportunity. The lines move fast, the sandwiches are delicious, the chips are Zapp’s, the shakes are soul-rejuvenating, and the cookies are ginourm.
  • Central Michel Richard, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW (Metro Center) Also a good spot for dinner, though lunches are always cheaper! This resto’s namesake chef is the man who made Georgetown’s Citronella famous, if you’re into places with pedigree. The drinks here are real good but the food is also delicious, and the desserts are well-known too.
  • Open City (Woodley Park) Close to the hotel and delicious. Also a great dinner place. Boom.
  • For other suggestions, Yelp is very reliable in DC. A quick look leads me to say: if I were you, I’d check out Keren, an Ethiopian spot super-close to the Hilton. (Ethiopian food is common in the DC restaurant scene and something that I recommend visitors try in general)

Dinner

  • Birreria Paradiso, 3282 M St NW (no transit Georgetown – take the K Street Connector or walk from Rosslyn across the Key Bridge) Birreria is in the basement of the Georgetown Pizza Paradiso. Go during happy hour to get the best deals, and go as early as possible – the wait usually isn’t too long, though, the beer selection is really fun, and the pizza’s delish!
  • Chef Geoff’s, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave NW (Metro Center) Best happy hour in town! Well, I might be overstating it but it’s really good. Great beers and cocktails, decent bar food at a great price. Can fill up but… it’s affordable enough to be worth some jostling.
  • Founding Fathers, 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW (Farragut West/Foggy Bottom) The food is okay – the drinks are delicious though! We’ve been known to stop off there for a nightcap and a quick snack.
  • This website arranges daily happy hours by neighborhood. Go forth and use wisely. Beware of the massive amount of interns in DC during the summer – I’d recommend avoiding bars in the Foggy Bottom area.

Breakfast and brunch brunch brunch (I really dig brunch)

Reservations for brunch are never a bad idea; Afterwords does not take them, however.

  • Kramerbooks/Afterwords, 1517 Connecticut Ave NW (Dupont) There’s always a wait on the weekends but the line usually goes pretty quickly, the food is reliable, the menu has something for everyone, and – it’s a restaurant in a bookstore!!!
  • La Madeleine and Le Pain Quotidian, multiple locations These places are a little expensive, but the food is good and relatively healthy, and the servers are (in my experience) kind, which makes for a good dining experience in my book
  • Masa 14, 1825 14th St NW (Dupont/U Street) Dear friend R highly recommends this joint, and R knows brunch. Unlimited brunch with unlimited drinks for $40, so caveat emptor.
  • Farmers Fishers and Bakers, 3000 K Street NW (Georgetown waterfront – enjoy the walk) If you go hungry, the $30 flat free for brunch is totally worth it. We went after a race and I tried everything – it was all pretty good and encompassed an amazing variety of brunch/lunch/sea/bakery foods.

 

To Negotiate or Not to Negotiate

May 4, 2014

As I’ve been thinking about the topic of salary negotiations, I keep coming back to Hamlet’s speech. Sorry, Shakespeare.

To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

Should we not negotiate, and be left to the slings and arrows of the initial offer? Or should we ask for what we perceive as fair, knowing that this could engender ill will from the future employer or result in an offer being rescinded?  I go back and forth on this issue; one side comes from the head and the other from the heart. I mostly listen to my head, but I try not to fault myself for listening to my heart, and you dear reader are allowed to choose either as well.

My Head: Negotiate or forfeit value

I am a fervent proponent of negotiating your salary almost always. I have my reasons, and they’re good ones (or at least good enough for me):

1.In college, I had a great history professor who, before becoming a professor, had spend two years in the Peace Corps and more than five years as an employee, including non-profit administration. We had some great conversations about vocations and finances, and he ardently said that even people in non-profit could earn salaries that reflected not just their needs but their skills. People being compensated for their skill sets? Makes sense to me.

2. In my first job out of college, I was offered a great salary, and I gratefully accepted. At some point, a male colleague said something about the company paying his moving costs. Whaaat?! I left money on the table.

3. Across my career, as a researcher and then as an archivist, ever since that first non-negotiation, I have tried to be proactive in my offers. It’s hard to approach that, and sometimes impossible in the library environment (“The salary is X.” seems common), but it also feels good when I’m able to advocate for myself and my skills and experience.

My Heart: The risks of negotiation aren’t nil

We all have heard stories about rescinded offers; in some cases, we know someone who has had their offer rescinded. In a field that is seemingly flooded with archivists and librarians looking for work, libraries don’t have to negotiate; although it seems nonsensical for a company to choose a candidate – the best candidate, presumably – and then not enter into salary conversations with them, it’s still a choice that they can make.

And some positions do not offer the opportunity at all. In my experience, this isn’t restricted to certain types of positions – pay bands in government and public positions are typically determined by the position, and I have experienced private institutions stating one number, and one only, for a position. Thankfully, in my experience, those positions are also up front about the salary limitations.

So what do I do?

Here is how I roll in approaching salary talk:

  • Try to read the organization. What kind of leeway do they seem comfortable with?
  • Stand up for myself. If the salary is not enough to pay my cost of living and loans, it’s not enough, no matter how much I want the job.
  • Read up on salary negotiations. The internet is full of useful advice (although the “women tend to”s are annoying) and less-than-useful advice.
  • Do what feels right in the moment. So maybe my old colleague did money for his moving expenses. That’s okay. I had a great job that came with a good salary that left me with some disposable income; I wasn’t hurting for anything.

If you have any stories about successful or not-so-successful salary negotiations, or things that help get you ready to negotiate on your behalf, please consider sharing them here!

PS: Rebecca said, maybe we need a salary negotiation survey, to highlight good negotiating tactics (and hopefully to discover job offers don’t disappear all that often). Maybe we do…

Am blogging

April 29, 2014

I’m going to go ahead and apologize for a barrage of posts that will be flooding my blog in upcoming weeks (if all goes according to plan) (and if it continues to be 48 degrees here!). I just attended my first MAC meeting, which spurned ALL THE THOUGHTS about archives and projects that I’d like to discuss here. I’ve been meaning to blog about salary negotiations for a while now (I have thoughts AND questions);  a recent twitter convo and Maureen’s related blog post made me think “Ah do it nowwww.” And I’ve been thinking whilst processing, so I have some thoughts (and more questions) about paper and processing and workflows and and and. Plus! The salary survey will be closing and I will be delving into its revelations.

If these subjects are of interest, watch this space.

Reminder: get your survey in!

April 29, 2014

The archivist salary survey is closing early morning on May 3, so you have a few more days to respond to the questions. A heart-warming thank you to all those who have already submitted responses; I’m grateful to everyone who has participated! Looking forward to crunching the numbers. I’m hoping that I’ll have some preliminary numbers to share early this summer.

Archives Jokes?!

March 26, 2014

Once upon a time, someone found my blog while searching for “joke what is the difference between an archivist and a librarian.” ARE THERE JOKES ABOUT THIS.

Hilariously, there are none on the first two pages of Google results. But we already knew librarian types >>>>>>>>>>> Google.

The closest is from a comment on this The Hairpin post by An Archivist:

In grad school, our flat was 2 archivists, a librarian, a writer, and an equine studies major. (It’s like a bad joke setup, yes.) Equine studies major finally stated that the difference between librarians and archivists was that if she was visiting us and cut herself, the librarian would help staunch the bleeding, while the archivist would snatch away the materials.

“Merely a flesh wound!” does not cut it in an archives, that’s true.

Y’all. Tell me there are jokes about this. I know there’s a book or a piece of typewritten, mimeographed, crumply, and/or war-era acid-ridden paper with jokes, somewhere.

Let’s Talk About Salaries: Questions, Answered

March 24, 2014

The little history of this survey (it’s real little) did not answer enough of people’s questions. This will be updated as they come in.

Here are the most recent ones:

 

Q. Should I include intern experience from graduate school?

A. All internships can be included! They are part of your body of experience after all.

 

Q. If someone is changing jobs can they take it twice?

A. Yep. All jobs in 2013 and 2014 can be included. I hope you haven’t changed jobs more than once in that time, but if you have, fill out the survey as many times as is necessary/as you’d like. If you have multiple part-time jobs to cobble together one “full” position, consider noting that in the comments.

 

Q. Is the survey for people who have archivist duties only, or also for people with *some* archival duties regardless of job title?

A. If your job encompasses some aspect of archives work – as defined by the list and your knowledge of the field – take the survey. If you want to talk more about what you do/don’t do in the field, use the comments field at the end of the survey

 

Q. Do you want international comparisons or US only?

A. Silly me, I had very small designs for this survey. As I released it, the survey leaves out our non-US brethren. I still love you, I promise!

If you are in another country and would like to answer the survey, I’m sorry to complicate your lives. I ask that, instead of responding to the survey, you email me with your answers. This will require legwork on your part, but I ask that you include at least the cost of living in your country *and* the source of that information. If you’re comfortable, include your general locale – city and country if you’re okay with that.  I will keep your name/data separate and anonymous. Alternatively, non-Americans, please feel free to adapt my survey for your country/all your friends’ countries. Let’s survey all the salaries everywhere, shall we?

 

Q. When you ask “How many years of professional experience do you have?” do you mean only as an archives professional, or overall?

A. Keep these questions coming! This is a nebulous one and I don’t have a great answer. It seems that many employers in archives start from degree earned or from first moment of archival work, but if your employer sees your non-archives work experience as related and “counts” it towards your salary, include it in the answer. (And if you would like to share more info on how/why those skills are applicable and how that conversation about previous relevant but non-archives experience goes in your org, include it in the comments box please!)

 

Q: Why isn’t educator included in the options for primary career role?  

A: Note to self – surveys are not a one-person project. Note to professors, reference archivists, workshop moderators and teachers, all of whom have taught me a great deal – mea culpa, mea culpa. Education is a component of many archivist’s work, and a crucial bit of outreach and advocacy. I hope people have been including this in the “Other” field and I hope some data about those archivists who teach makes it into the final survey. Certainly I will point out this omission in the commentary. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. (One last mea culpa)

 

Q. Can I share this with [group]?

A. Please! Yes! I hope that this survey crosses the desk of all archivists, SAA and non-SAA alike, and it’s on my list to send it out to regional groups as well. If you are willing and interested in sending it out, go forth with my sincere appreciation.

 

Let’s talk about salaries, let’s talk about you and me

March 23, 2014

Paraphrased from Salt-N-Pepa with my apologies.

I have been curious about salaries in the archives world for oh-so-long. The data collections from SAA’s ACENSUS is 10 years old this year, so my curiosity lives on. The Association of Research Libraries collects staff salary information yearly, so if your library is an ARL institution: (1) the information will be applicable; and (2) should be readily available through your institution – I found it in our library catalog. Anyway, SAA members and ARL staff members do not comprise the whole of our profession, and will not ever do so. Also relevant is Rebecca Goldman and Shannon M. Lausch’s “Job search experiences and career satisfaction among recent archives program graduates.”

Inspired by a thread about librarian salaries on Reddit, which pointed to a thread about salaries on my bff job-hunting-blog Ask A Manager, I decided: why not do a DIY salary survey for archivists? All of us. So I put together a survey that tries to understand how much archives-types make – in money, health care, vacation days – in relation to where we live, how much we work, what we do. It is a pale imitation of ACENSUS, but I hope it can be useful nonetheless. Access it here. Data collection will continue until May 2, 2014.

UPDATE: since there have been questions for people changing jobs (hopefully congratulations are in order!), you may fill out the survey for the position you are leaving as well as the position you are entering. People with multiple part-time positions may also fill out the survey multiple times. If you are so inclined, please note that you are taking it multiple times in the comments. Other questions are answered in detail over here.

In regards to the information that people share through the survey: Data will be summarized; comments will be paraphrased. I will maintain control over the data and, should I get a decent number of responses, after the survey closes, I will create a report that provides an overview – it’ll look something like this (opens a PDF). Have other questions? Please ask! I’m available at on Twitter and via email.

A great many thanks to input from Rebecca Goldman, Rose Love Chou, Steve Ammidown, and Sasha Griffin. Any mistakes are mine. (Tell me if you find any, please!)

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