Recently I gave a talk to the Rocky Mountain SLA chapter on adaptive competence. It’s basically the ability to repurpose if not reinvent your LIS career (pretty much on demand) as market needs and opportunities require. Your adaptive competence is built on a core understanding that regardless of your current paycheck, we’re all self-employed – it’s up to us to take charge of our options and outcomes.
One of my recommendations for building adaptive competence, also known as career resiliency, was to find your tribe. Although marketing guru Seth Godin popularized the phrase in his Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (Portfolio, 2008), Godin’s focus was on leading movements. With apologies to Godin, I’m going to redefine and repurpose it here (clear tip-off to my content-developer roots!) to describe a tribe as that group of people who make up your career inner circle. (more…)
When you’re trying to learn more about potential LIS jobs, employers, or careers, few options are better than going straight to the source, otherwise known as having an information interview. They’re one of the easiest and fastest ways to increase your career smarts – even when you’re not looking for a job. Why? Because these informal conversations can provide the perfect “reality check” for what you may have read or heard about a particular employer, industry, or career path – an insider’s view of how the world really looks from those in the trenches.
To max out the benefit of any information interview, however, you want to make sure you do these five things: (more…)
Ever since Darwin nailed the whole ‘adaptability equals survivability’ thing, it’s been pretty clear that being able to navigate changing circumstances was going to be critical to… well, just about everything. What was once a scientific premise is now also key to career resiliency.
Translation: learn fast, learn effectively, be able to learn on demand. (more…)
How are we to teach our students to pay attention if we have not considered this more deeply ourselves? How do we better model mindful behavior and a thoughtful, caring, and contemplative approach to life?
This is the question posed by co-author Richard Moniz in the introduction to The Mindful Librarian: Connecting the Practice of Mindfulness to Librarianship. It’s also the essence of why the five authors of this fascinating guide chose to interweave the recent findings on mindfulness into the daily life of library work. By understanding how to be more mindful ourselves, we can become both better librarians and better – happier, more present, more engaged – human beings. (more…)
Where can your LIS skills add value to a consumer-goods company, a software development organization, a green-tech developer, a national online retailer, or any of the myriad other organizations that could really benefit from a smart information professional, whether they know it (yet) or not?
Actually, those skills can address multiple needs throughout each of these potential employers; the key is understanding how and where to “plug in.” (more…)
Professional conferences can be a great LIS career booster – in-person networking, learning from cutting-edge presentations, immersing yourself in the dynamic energy of the profession or a new-to-you industry. There’s just one problem: conferences, including their registration, housing and travel costs, can be way expensive.
In addition, the broader your LIS interests and areas of expertise, the wider the range of conferences that might pique your interest. PLA, SLA, ALA, AASL, ACRL, and AIIP might just be the starters. Then there’s Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian, the Charleston Conference, KM World, ARMA Live, the ASIS&T annual conference, and dozens of other specialized information professional events.
Information professionals are even finding a home at theoretically unrelated events such as the music and tech festival, South by Southwest (SXSW), an indicator of the expanding range of information/library expertise and interests.
If you can only afford one, does that mean you miss out on everything else?
Not necessarily. (more…)
As you grow your LIS career, one of the most effective ways to build your professional reputation and visibility is to present at conferences.
You’ll have a chance to share your expertise with colleagues interesting in learning more about your topic, and create credibility for your professional knowledge.
If you’ve never gone through the proposal process, however, it can be a bit daunting at first. Rest assured, it’s actually a pretty simple process. (more…)
Businesses use SWOT analyses (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to help them plot their next moves. Where should they spend their money, where save it? What opportunities should they go after, and which aren’t worth the effort? That same approach can be just as valuable for you as figure out your next career moves. (more…)
One of the challenges you’re likely to face during your LIS career is whether or not to take a job that pays less than your previous (or current) one.
If the finances are doable, there can be some great reasons to consider it. Although the right choice depends to a great degree on your personal circumstances, here are the questions that will help you get to your best answer. (more…)
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…)