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You are a business of one

We are all self-employed.

In effect, you are renting your skills out to your current employer.

This is an especially tough idea for those of us in the LIS profession to come to grips with, because we’re trained to think of ourselves as being part of a helping community. And that’s true, we are. But it’s also true that every aspect of the profession – both traditional and nontraditional – has been affected by financial realities that lead to budget constraints if not cuts and layoffs. What does that mean for your career? (more…)

Lousy internship or practicum? 5 ways to make it work for you

If you’re in an LIS grad program, you’ll probably end up doing an internship or practicum before you graduate. Internships can be a great opportunity to apply theory to practice, letting you test out those LIS skills you’ve been diligently working on throughout your studies.

Sometimes, however, students land in a less than stellar internship situation through no fault of their own, with the result being a waste of time, effort, and serious tuition dollars.

Happily, there are ways to turn things around so that you can still salvage some major career-building benefits. Assume in this case you’re going to create a “self-directed” internship that will progress alongside your official one. Essentially, your focus will be on four outcomes: (more…)

5 Non-Snarky Ways to Build Your Career Network

If your eyes (and brain) glaze over when someone brings up the subject of network-building, rest assured that you’re not alone.

In fact, in a study that tested people’s feelings about instrumental networking, defined as networking in order to advance your career, respondents indicated that they literally felt dirty, “so much so that they think about taking a shower or brushing their teeth.”

It turns out that most people tend to feel just fine about those spontaneous moments of relationship-building whose goal is the more authentic pursuit of human connection and possible friendship. (more…)

Modeling Your Message, or What to Do When You Keynote PPT Goes Nuts

Plan A failed, we need plan B

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….

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The imposter syndrome: or how I learned to get over my panic attack, love my promotion, and make my to-do list

What is Imposter Syndrome?
Basically, imposter syndrome (IS) is the sense that you’ve been promoted beyond your abilities, that you’re in over your head, that through some combination of luck and others’ misperceptions, you’ve landed in a position for which your skills are wildly inadequate.

It’s the career version of performance anxiety, aggravated by a dread that you might be “found out” at any moment. It may not be rational, it may fly in the face of years’ worth of accomplishments, but it’s estimated that some 70 percent of successful men and women experience this chronic and often crippling self-doubt.

And that’s exactly what hit me when my boss gave me what he thought was terrific news about my promotion. His rationale was that he’d worked with me for 18 months, knew my strengths and weaknesses, and thought this was something I’d be good at. My reaction was that he’d completely overestimated my strengths, underestimated my weaknesses, and we were all about to find out in the most awful way possible…In essence I was going to be “found out.” Classic imposter syndrome. (more…)

Feedback? Revised SLA Core Competencies Draft

Yep, it’s here!

The SLA Core Competencies Revision Task Force has completed its initial revision work, and would like to ask all interested parties (including MLIS students interested in a special library-related career path) to weigh in with their comments. (The document draft is included below; the final document will be graphically designed.)

The SURVEY is brief (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and if you’d like to participate, please complete it by Friday, May 9. On behalf of the Task Force Members (Kim Dority, Kate Arnold, Anne Caputo, Susan Fifer-Canby, Cindy Hill, Deb Hunt, Carolyn Sosnowski, Jan Sykes), thank you in advance for your review and feedback.

The draft document may be found here:

Core Competencies Revisions – 4 30 14 draft