Subtitled “Define and Create Your Success,” this recent and welcome addition to the collection of LIS career books is a delightfully personal compendium of advice from two of the profession’s most respected and experienced practitioners: Ulla de Stricker and Jill Hurst-Wahl. Both have worked in a wide variety of information roles throughout their careers, and bring that breadth of experience (and lessons learned) to the handbook.
One of the fastest ways to get the inside skinny on career success is to work with a wise and caring mentor – or mentors. But the success of a mentoring relationship depends as much on your personal “match” with your mentor as on his or her knowledge.
What should you look for when considering potential mentors?
Ah, where was I before all hell broke loose, which is another way of saying before I started teaching this past fall? The double whammy of teaching my alternative LIS careers course for the University of Denver and then the holidays means that it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I last posted.
Perfect timing for a New Year’s resolution to be a more diligent blogger, yes? Maybe, maybe not.
Creating a dynamic career is often a mix of good luck, hard work, and an ability to position yourself smack in the middle of the “path of opportunity” – that spot where cool new things are happening, and someone needs to take charge. If that’s where you’d like to be, consider the following four actions to get things moving:
In fact, I think he completely missed the mark with his “There are no second acts in American lives” remark. On the contrary, we are completely capable of reinventing ourselves – and our careers – on an ongoing basis.
Sometimes it happens just by accident. You start out doing one job, and then you end up being the person who just happens to be good at that new thing that needed to be done, and your career takes off heading in a new direction. Or you volunteer for a project and then realize that you not only love the new work you’re doing, you’re also pretty darn good at it – so you keep doing it. Or you’re promoted into a position that at first feels way over your head but then ends up being a perfect match for your growing professional skills. In each instance, you’re reinventing your career.
Other times, however, reinventing yourself – creating that next act – becomes a purposeful choice. Perhaps you’ve simply outgrown the job you’ve been in for years, and are ready to explore the question of what type of work or work environment might re-engage you. Or perhaps a change in your job (new boss? new leadership? new expectations? new mission?) has left you feeling like it’s time to consider other, more rewarding, options. Or perhaps your personal circumstances have changed, so that what worked for you previously no longer meets your requirements.
For whatever reason, you’re ready to reinvent your career.
Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an article debunking the oft-repeated mantra that most of us will go through seven career changes throughout our working lifetimes. Basically, the Department of Labor has completely disavowed the statement, and no one’s ready to ‘fess up to having started the seven-careers rumor.
However, I think a more valid (and useful) way of framing this is that we may, in fact, be much likelier to have at least seven career extensions throughout our working lives. With that frame, I’ve had at least seven so far, and have friends and colleagues who’ve had even more as new opportunities have opened up (or been created by them).