How and why did you get involved as an AWEfund Organizer?
For me, AWE Fund grew out of my work with the independent Salary Transparency Group. I saw the original AWEF survey go out and responded; as a recent grad two semesters deep in the job hunt, I was terrified. I may or may not have ‘preached to the choir’ in my responses, and J recognized this. She reached out and asked if I would like to lend my voice to the cause and represent my peers in an effort to help others.
While my household makes ends meet, it is not always comfortable; and I find myself in the position of being able to volunteer time more than donate funds. I have the relative luxury of a fixed income due to military benefits. Others of my cohort are not so lucky. And I have been there, too. I know first-hand how small problems blow up into big problems when you don’t have the resources to make the ‘smart’ choice – the anxiety of not being able to plan past your next paycheck and juggling bills. I know the desperation, fear, and frustration of having one’s life exponentially impacted by outside forces beyond our control. This pandemic is not the fault of the students, interns, or early professionals, yet as the most vulnerable in our profession they bear the brunt of the risk and financial disruption.
One of my best friends (and constant mentor) is a professor in social work and was (pre-covid) awarded a grant for a community resilience program. Her research often illuminates the root causes of issues such as poverty, substance abuse and misuse, lack of mental and physical health education and resources, chronic homelessness, and un/under-employment. We see these themes (and more) echoed throughout the veteran community.
As Brene Brown argues in “I Thought it Was Just Me,” our support networks are crucial to our wellbeing as functional members of society. It is our duty to future generations to combat the early employment precarity resulting from this crisis and continue to investigate related labor issues within our profession and our related industries.
What is one cultural shift you would like to see come out of this crisis?
Culturally, I would love to see an overall shift to self-reliance and realistic expectations. Maybe we don’t need everything we think we do – and maybe we can do a little more ourselves. Modern civilization affords a number of perks, but we have also become complacent, lazy, spoiled. I would love to see the next generation avoid predatory lending, live within their means, and spend their earnings smartly and ethically. We need to reach out to our young folks and teach them resiliency skills; especially those of us who have learned them the hard way – by practicing them in the face of personal trials and crises. We need to figure out, together, how to #UpcycleTheAmericanDream in efforts to phase out corporate (and private) greed.
What is one public policy shift you would like to see come out of this crisis?
Overall, the American labor market needs a huge overhaul. I think it would be amazing if the flexibility afforded to remote work that has been explored would /continue/ throughout the future. Folks with accessibility requests that have had been previously denied as “impossible” or “too difficult” should have their requests reconsidered by administrators, even after state and county level reopenings. I am totally on board with the #DoBetterLoveUs mission and would love to see unpaid internships and exploitative volunteer positions eliminated. We were beginning to see positive trends in internships, such as providing housing for short-term projects, or NWA’s new paid fellowship program. Continued transitional support and flexible contracts could provide both higher employee morale and wellness /and/ potentially cut financial costs for both individuals and companies. I want to see and feel more compassion in the workplace, especially in administration and HR.
What’s an archival item you’ve worked with that you love to share with people, and why?
One of my favorite resources is the Newberry Library in Chicago. Their Modern Manuscripts Collection is a fantastic primary source collection for American History and genealogy, and is open for crowdsourced transcription volunteers. They have fantastic policies in place and are a great example for other institutions to model programs such as virtual outreach, collection digitization, and collaboration with indigenous communities. Transcribing these materials, often letters or journals, has reinforced my own personal archival habits concerning research and project planning.
What’s one thing — archives related or not! — that you’re proud to have created or accomplished?
I’m writing this on the seven year anniversary of the end of my second deployment. I ‘manned the rails’ for our transit into port in Bremerton, a Naval tradition. Stepping off the ship to meet my dad, retired but still rocking his flight suit, was pretty awesome; but not quite as moving as saluting him for the first time after completing bootcamp. I made my final run by only 5 seconds, so it was a major personal victory.
Carady is a recent MLIS/archives graduate with current research interest in labor practices and human resources throughout the arts and humanities. She has always had a knack for records management and documentation, and has explored those practices through work in theatre, radio, electrical engineering, military administration, research, and historical applications.