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Being an Introvert in an Extrovert’s Career

Quit your job as a TV anchor and get a degree in library science. But if TV anchoring is
what you love, then create an extroverted persona to get yourself through the day.

-Susan Cain, Quiet

It took me a long time to realize I’m an introvert. I’ve never been particularly shy, I enjoy people when I’m hanging out with them, and growing up with three siblings, solitude was a luxury only imagined. It wasn’t until I got older and was better able to control my life circumstances that I began paying attention to when I was most energized, when most depleted. I began to realize that I enjoyed small-group get-togethers much more than large conference-type events. I explored my Myers-Briggs profile and found I was an “INTJ.”

Then, just to confirm the determination, I recently found that out of Cain’s 20 questions to identify extroversion/introversion, 19 of my answers fell firmly into the introvert category.

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Only Connect

With apologies to E. M. Forster, “only connect” has been occupying a lot of brain space for me lately as I look back on two years of managing the LinkedIn LIS Career Options group. What I had launched as part of an SLA conference presentation, assuming it might grow to (perhaps?) 35 or 50 people, has become a forum for 3,685 members from over 50 countries engaging in over 450 discussion topics.

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The Permanent-Beta Career

I’m trying to figure out how to start off a blog post when I’ve been missing in action for months (good grief, was my last post really November 27th???). Yep, that would be about the time that I was going all-out to finish up my manuscript (LIS Career Sourcebook: Managing and Maximizing Every Step of Your Career, Libraries Unlimited, to be released in late fall this year). Then it was the holidays, and then I basically just decided to read and think and reflect. (Is there a better way to spend winter?)

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When You’ve Really Messed Up….

The longer you work, sooner or later it’s going to happen to you: the major mess-up. You did something that was the result of perhaps not quite paying attention, missing a major detail, skipping a step in a work process to beat a deadline, or figuring that it wouldn’t really make that much difference if you just relied on someone else’s information rather than verifying it for yourself. The result: a classic screw up, the kind that’s going to be embarrassing at best, send your boss through the roof at worst.

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Build Your Professional Equity

This has been a great year for conversations about “equity” – political equity, financial equity (or not), social equity.

From a conceptual standpoint, equity refers to how much investment you’ve built for a given asset, which might be your political reputation and influence, the value of your home relative to your mortgage, or the amount of standing and influence you have in your community of choice.

From a career standpoint, professional equity is a combination of the job skills, expertise, and experience you’ve accumulated, the relationships you’ve developed, and the reputation you’ve built so far in your career.

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Defending the MLIS: Top Ten Reasons That Getting an MLIS is a Really Smart Move

Recently I’ve been part of a discussion taking part in the classroom, on the LIS Career Options LinkedIn group, and among LIS friends and colleagues about how to respond to people who bash others’ decisions to pursue an MLIS. Some of the variations:

• You need a master’s degree to work in a library?
• You’ll never get a job (or one that pays anything)
• It’s stupid to go to graduate school at your age
• What on earth are you going to do with that?
• Are there even go to be libraries anymore?
• Why would you need a degree in that, everything’s on the Internet!

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