Sunday, June 03, 2007

Values and Career Paths

Back in late May, Ed wrote a post in which he cited a website called Charity Village, an online resource that lists jobs in the Canadian non-profit sector.

His post resonated with me because, after giving it some thought, I realized that the non-profit sector is not mentioned much as an option to library school grads. It also made me realize the importance of taking stock of one's personal values as one embarks on a career path.

For me, after graduating from library school, I had been instilled with the idea that employment in the library and information studies field could only be found in distinct sectors: academic libraries, public libraries, government agencies, and, to a lesser extent, corporate environments.

For the most part, these popular sectors offer LIS grads their very first post-MLIS job, a successful and satisfying experience, and perhaps even a long-term career path. (As I write this I am, in fact, an employee of an international government organization.)

But sometimes a restlessness surfaces after, say, 2 years on the job. There is a feeling inside of wanting to put one's skills, abilities, talents and knowledge towards something than truly reflects one's values. I use the word values, which has been maligned when used in conjunction with words such as family or religious, as another way of saying one's personal code of conduct, what one holds accountable when making a decision, for example. To create a super hero analogy: How will we use our powers?

For new LIS grads and young professionals already in their second of third year of employment, I encourage all to take stock and check your values against your current job. How are you using your powers.

And, from time to time, as yourself these questions:

  1. Where do I want to work? What sector?
  2. Do I want to work behind-the-scenes or under a spotlight?
  3. What motivates me?
  4. Do I want to develop professionally, learning new skills, or remain with only the necessary skills set to perform my given tasks?
  5. What am I passionate about?

There are certainly more questions, and there are no right or wrong answers to those mentioned above. However, how you answer them could very well change and improve your career path.

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about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.