December 16, 2007
I guess I’ll begin with the oldest first. So, Brick and Click was fantastic. I met some wonderful people, learned some new stuff and was inspired by what other people and libraries were doing. Not bad for a one day conference! Next year’s conference is November 7, 2008 and presentation proposals are due February 28. Mark your calendars, this is one you shouldn’t miss!
I will be heading to Philly next month to attend the ALA midwinter meeting as a participant in the 2008 Emerging Leaders program. While I am not thrilled with how it started, I am going into the program optimistic and open minded and looking forward to a wonderful learning opportunity.
Meredith has two recent posts that I wanted to comment on. The first, while not really related to what I do everyday, had me thinking about a large part of my responsibilities in a different light. While she is writing about outreach and services to students and when is enough enough, this post had me thinking in terms of staff and taking responsibility for motivating them. I do feel that part of my job as a manager is to motivate and encourage my staff to do their best, but sometimes I feel like I have done everything in my power and it is not enough. I was feeling a bit down about it a few weeks ago and then I read Meredith’s post and felt better because this sort of thing happens in many different ways to different people.
After a lot of thought I made peace with myself. I feel that while some of the responsibility does lay at my feet, a lot of it also has to do with each individual and the attitude they bring into work with them each morning. A friend reminded me of the Fish! philosophy, specifically the tenet: Choose Your Attitude! That cuts to the heart of it. You can be the best manager in the world, but if you have a staff member who has a bad attitude and who can’t or won’t do anything to change it, there is nothing you can do to fix this problem. It is up to each individual to make the choice of whether they are going to come into work with a positive attitude or with a negative one.
I need to work on reminding myself that this is true.
Meredith’s most recent posts have hit a chord with me as well. I have been in the exact place Meredith describes and it can be very disappointing when you realize that something isn’t working out the way you envisioned. I left a position for the exact reason Meredith describes. I loved my coworkers, loved the work I was doing, was close to my family and friends, but after two years (and some events) I realized that there was no place for me to go in the organization and that I was beginning to get bored. I bore very easily. I work best under pressure and in a fast paced environment where each day is different and that wasn’t the case in that position or organization so I needed to look elsewhere. Looking back now it is readily apparent that the organization was too small and I needed to be someplace bigger with more happening.
Coming to that realization while still working at the library was painful at times. Other times, when things really weren’t going my way, the decision to leave seemed incredibly easy. The hard part was accepting that I needed to move on for the sake of my career and my happiness. The second hard part was accepting that in order to do so, I had to move away from family, friends, and the place I grew up.
In three weeks it will be my one year anniversary at MPOW. Now more than ever I believe that making the big move and coming here was the best career and personal decision I have made. I love my work. I love the environment I am in and I love that every single day is different. They are not all wonderful and perfect, but they are never boring and that is what matters most to me. I can say without hesitation that I wouldn’t mind working here for the next ten years. I know that there is a lot going on now and a lot that will happen in the future and that I will have the chance to be involved. I feel supported and encouraged and that my contributions and work have value.
So I say to Meredith and anyone else who may find themselves in a similar place, embrace the realization and look at it as an opportunity to figure out what you want to do and where you want to go in your professional career. It can be a painful and scary process, but it can also be extremely exciting and rewarding. There is not a large jump from feeling bored or trapped in what you are doing to resenting having to come into work everyday. Sometimes it is hard to keep those feelings in check while experiencing them. I often tell people that sometimes the best career decision they can make is to leave a job where they are not happy or fulfilled.