“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.”
Jorge Luis Borges
Is it even possible to love reading and not love Borges? I don’t know! Frankly, I don’t want to know. But, in all seriousness, I think that quote neatly sums up where I’m starting from when I talk about the library profession.
Career goals are such a ponderous, weighty thing to carry around with you. I have aspirations certainly, but goals seem like too-narrow a way of defining these things.
Ideally, I want to design the sort of career that is resilient enough to navigate the wonderfully disruptive changes going on in just about every industry I’m affiliated with. I want to be flexible and diverse within my roles to be able to grab opportunities that become available to me today and tomorrow. Ideally, I’m seeking something that would offer me the level of challenges and engagement that I thrive on.
I have done plenty of work that was perfectly manageable and sufficiently complex, but had no scope for actually applying my enthusiasm or rewarding me with any sort of fulfillment. Self knowledge is a powerful tool, and realising that I’m determined to pursue fulfilling experiences over other professional considerations is helpful to understand.
I know I said I didn’t want to get all specific with goals, but let’s try some broader principles instead:
- I want to respond to new opportunities
- I want to keep my skills at the forefront of new technologies
- I want to find roles that allow me to take initiative, increase my responsibility, and innovate where possible
- I want my career to reflect who I am and what I value
I feel like I have come to a deep enough understanding of myself, who I am, and who I could be that I actually am starting to understand who I want to be.
And who I want to be is changing all the time. I don’t want to shackle myself to one set of goals for a single, subset of employment. Rather, I want to broaden my horizons and aim for employability.
So, why libraries? Well, I don’t necessarily want to limit myself to just libraries. I think there’s a tremendous amount of value in pursuing a formal education in Library and Information Sciences for the kind of professional skills and competencies I’m interested in.
Yes, I gain a vocational skill set that I can apply professionally, but the generic skills I’m learning are so useful, not just in the information profession: the analytical skills, the strategic thinking, the management capabilities, and the commitment to continuous learning all position me to do just about anything.
Do I want to work in libraries? Sure thing! Libraries are amazing spaces where truly amazing things are happening in the foreseeable future.
But, let’s not stop there. There are incredible things happening in the academic world that I want to research, there are fiction books burning there way through the back of my brain and into my soul that need to be written, and there’s my powerful desire to advocate for improving literacy in young men.
There’s a great benefit in creating career goals. But, I increasingly recognise that my goals are always going to be shifting, and the most important thing is to remain flexible, positive, and creative in these times of continuing change.