By the time you’ve reached a certain age (okay, let’s say any spot north of forty), you generally feel like you’ve pretty much figured things out. Or if not, you’re perhaps trying to hide that fact from the rest of the world, especially your professional peers.
The good news: you can stop hiding; we’re all in the same boat!
Getting Your Head around Not Knowing
One of the greatest and most unremitting challenges of the LIS profession is that it’s moving so quickly and in so many directions that it’s really tough to keep your skills current. It’s even tougher to reach a level of competency that won’t become obsolete within the next five years.
From a career standpoint? Pretty daunting. From an ego standpoint? Pretty demoralizing.
Why? Because most of us in the profession are borderline if not certifiable perfectionists – it feels pretty awful to be in “beginner’s mind,” that place of not even knowing what you don’t know. But it’s clear that how good we become at getting comfortable with this discomfort will determine whether we stay professionally viable or become increasingly marginalized.
This reality has been driven home for me as I’ve worked on starting a new project/business. My business plan was exquisitely (I believed) well-thought-through, organized, and formatted (and of course based on all of my research about how to create a killer business plan). Then I started actually doing the work, and was stunned to realize how much I hadn’t, well, realized. (more…)
I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of Yahoo CEO Melissa Mayer, and the spate of recent articles about her stealth layoff approach (here’s one) remind me of one of the things I like best about being an independent information professional (i.e., no one’s going to lay me off).
But as I read the articles, I was struck by what a terrific approach the Invest/Maintain/Kill mantra could be for your career. If you’re the type who regularly (okay, at least annually) does a career review, sorting out your priorities along these lines can help focus your efforts in ways most likely to keep you moving toward your goals. What might the invest/maintain/kill approach look like? (more…)
Recently I had the amazing honor of giving the wrap-up keynote at the 2015 SLA conference. The conference itself was a pretty intense several days, as SLA is currently undergoing some very difficult but important revisions to its structure, vision, core competencies, and identity. But conference discussions also provided a vibrant, real-life example of how we all need to be able to meet changing circumstances head-on, even if the choices we have aren’t the ones we’d hoped for.
My wrap-up keynote carried the same message. Titled “Improvising Your Career: How to Not Freak Out, Run for Cover, or Have to Move In With Your Folks (or Kids),” it focused on the necessity of having, to quote The Start-Up of You (Hoffman and Casnocha, 2012), a permanent beta mindset when it comes to your career. In other words, consider yourself always in start-up mode, and assume that your most important core competency is your ability to adapt. To improvise. To tap dance as fast as you can….
According to marketing whiz Mitch Joel, author of Ctrl Alt Delete (Business Plus, 2013), we’re all sort of hanging out in uncharted territory these days, or as Joel puts it “purgatory.” New media technology has forever changed both the way we do business and the way we communicate with each other. Even those companies (and individuals) willing to adapt aren’t quite sure which way to adapt to ensure their future viability – or employability.
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about the high (and increasing) number of public middle and high schools going without professional school librarians in the state of New York. Existing positions were being eliminated, new schools were being created without any librarians on staff. I started a discussion on the LIS Career Options LinkedIn group asking whether this was part of a broader trend across the country. The response: absolutely.
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.