Tag Archives: Career Planning

Enlightened self-interest

Workshop 7: Moving out into the profession

Quite the capstone to a long, challenging, and illuminating semester!

Socialising and mingling with my peers in-class one final time this semester reminded me that we were strangers only a few months ago. Over the course of the semester we had already taken meaningful steps towards building our personal networking and professional relationships. Chatting with the guests over cheese and wine and listening to their presentations drove home for me just how vital communication and sociability is to the success and vitality of my career.

Being a responsible, capable, and proficient information professional is not something I can manage on my own. My learning and development isn’t taking place in a vacuum; it is being guided, shaped, and informed by the people around me. Finding my place in this profession was always going to be a by-product of connecting with people and building a meaningful understanding of how I fit into the larger context of this community.

Although it is unnerving to face the challenges of finding meaningful employment in a field that is so dynamic, I am confident that I have started to develop enough self-knowledge to understand how to thrive and prosper in the face of these challenges. I feel like I have moved beyond my initial embarrassment and reticence of not knowing or understanding some things, and I have embraced the fact that I am still a beginner in this expansive field. I feel I am finally comfortable with letting go of some perfect ideal of my future employment, and embracing change as it comes.

Documenting these first steps I’ve taken into a larger, professional world  has contributed to my own understanding of  who I am, and what I want to do. It has illuminated for me what sort of jobs, environments, and types of work will make me happiest and helped me to develop career goals that reflect what I value most.

On reflection, the entire program of INN634 instilled in me the guiding principle of loyalty to my own professional goals. My own personal integrity and commitment to moving forward is not about finding an employer willing to take me on, but rather about developing a practical set of skills and capabilities that guarantee I will be employable for life.

I’m going to cap-off this off with a quote that really evokes what I felt was the core theme of this program:

“It is not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change

Charles Darwin.

GLAM

Workshop 6: Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums

(This reflection was originally written on May 12, 2013)

There are fascinating things happening in the GLAM space as these disparate institutions collaborate and converge in new and exciting ways as single entities. I’m intrigued by the intersection and integration of these cultural structures, and I can see how the proliferation of new, and better technology could be driving these physical spaces to converge in the way many digital collections already are.

New Zealand is forging ahead with these new-style memory institutions. Guided by the concept of Manawa which I believe translate approximately as ‘heart and soul’ they’re really driving the strengths of the cultural heart of their cities, and I loved the idea of bringing these entities together as a civic focal point.

There’s undoubtedly a lot of opportunities in these new shared spaces. But, I can’t help but think that in a ‘collective-identity’ something of the unique, individual cultures of these institutions are lost.

As someone who want’s to work in these institutions, I have a great deal of enthusiasm for new, innovative models of engaging the public. But, does convergence really create a better experience for everyone involved? Can the professional values of disparate organisations maintain integrity and focus when forced to operate in such a close proximity to each other.

I’d love to explore these spaces more, as I think there’s an opportunity for fresh skills in these new spaces that demand a new sort of meta-professional.

I think it ties back into a running theme throughout my studies, that there is an increasing importance of generic, transferable skills across the information professions. It isn’t worth developing a career in isolation from other professions in the same associated space, and I can only see benefits from aggressively pursuing multi-disciplinary proficiencies.

Failure requires no preparation

To venture causes anxiety. Not to venture is to lose oneself.

 Soren Kierkegaard.

If I’m going to take responsibility for my career development, I should really be setting some specific, measurable goals.

To that end, I want to demonstrate that I have the ability to contribute effectively to the profession by expanding and updating my skills over the next 2-5 years, and create a systemic plan for organising my progress.

Recent technology trends are creating new opportunities for specialising with my particular skill-set, but there’s a fair amount of terror with jobs that have never been done before. But doing what hasn’t bee done before is intellectually seductive, and I want to be able to transition into new disciplines as they grow in demand.

Change is disruptive, confusing, and brings uncertainty. I mean to combat that in part by:

  • Setting up a media monitoring process: I want to stay hooked in the the world of information around me, and identify possible opportunities as they arise. Emerging patterns in blogs, conferences, and publications will help me track these changes.
    • In addition to major LIS journals, I will be scanning:General media in Newsweek; Management trends in the Harvard Business Review; Tech-trends in Wired; Business and economics in Forbes; and critical discussion in The New Yorker.
  • Cultivating a professional network: I intend to build a relationship with my peers and professional colleagues of mutual respect and trust. I see the benefits of collaboration, and want to be a positive and enthusiastic part of that environment. I also will use my advanatges of student rates to join as many professional bodies as I can for my studies, and establish a foothold in organisations that have meaning for me (e.g ALIA, QWC)
  • Developing resilience: If I’m going to make this work, I need to get comfortable with the fact that setbacks may detour or distract me, but not wilt in the face of the challenges awaiting me. I intend to commit my energy to owning my mistakes, being willing to fail, and celebrating my accomplishments when and if they happen.
  • Committing to continuous learning: With my time remaining in the graduate program I intend to use my assignments and lectures to explore my options and prioritise what is critical, innovative, and reinventing the profession. Once I am done, I intend to remain flexible and positive about change and update my skills through short-courses, programs, and professional accredations where necessary.
  • Gaining visibility: I want to build my expertise openly. This blog serves to further that goal, but I also strive to: ·
    • o   Publish a scholarly article on folksonomies, social data, and tagging in an accredited journal.
    • o   Attend conferences and professional events and make myself known through questions, conversation, and projects.
    • o   Publish in the YA fiction space to support and advocate young-male literacy.
    • o   Investigate the prospect of furthering my academic career with research or higher-learning.

Who knows where I’ll be in 2 years, let alone 5. There are so many traditional and nontraditional paths my career could take that I’ll undoubtedly need to re frame these goals along the way. But, what an adventure that will be!

Raised lettering, pale nimbus white…

I should probably get some business cards printed one of these days.

Maybe eggshell.

Failing that, here’s my no longer current CV (Circa 2013).

I’m a firm believer in concise, one-page resumes. Anything beyond that should really be taken care of in a cover letter and/or your response to selection criteria.

The Great Chain

My LinkedIn Proflie.

I’ve had the skeleton of a LinkedIn account haunting me for a few years now. I’ve always had it at the back of my mind to gussy it up and start raking in the job offers, but it never really seemed to pan out.

I’ve attempted to make it pretty comprehensive while keeping the content lean and relevant without the clutter of years gone by.  I suspect that there’s not a great deal of head hunting going on for information studies students with a background in academic writing–but you never know!

To be honest, I’m not really great at the whole self-aggrandising thing and I find it challenging to sell myself without feeling self-consciously boastful or egotistical. But, I am a huge sucker for social data, and I get a real kick out of using LinkedIn as tool for tracking Six Degrees of Separation style connections.

I don’t love the idea of LinkedIn, but I’m willing to give it a shot. At worst it let’s me get a better perspective on who is in my orbit of influence is, and where I need to start searching for networking opportunities.

Boldly Going Somewhere

“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.