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Transitioning archivist

May 11, 2015

For my friends over at the SNAP Roundtable, I wrote an entry for their Transitions blog series about the things I have learned (and am still learning) in my early career. I highly recommend that even less-new professionals take a gander at the SNAP blog (and listserv), as they highlight issues of relevance to archivists of all experience levels.

I have been writing

February 16, 2015

I have not been writing here, but I have been writing. Check out my recent post on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) blog regarding traveling to the upcoming joint MARAC-New England Archivists meeting, held next month in Boston. Spoiler alert: I have food on the brain.

Announcing: the Salary Survey report

November 1, 2014

The final report for the Salary Survey, also known as How Much Did You Earn in 2013?, is provided in PDF form for download below. If you have any issues with the file, please let me know. Otherwise – happy reading!

I will note that I did not include a bibliography here, as I had planned. It is in the works for the future but may not appear here until December.

Thanks to all who responded to the survey and made all this possible, and special thanks to the advance readers. Y’all all make me proud to be an archivist.

Happy reading!


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.


  • 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)


  • 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.


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