Once again Steve Oberg, blogging over at Family Man Librarian, has posted a very candid and personal piece about librarianship, choices, decisions, and the hills and valleys that a professional naturally encounters on his or her career path. In his post, he cites--and is inspired by--a blog post written by Steven Bell, who discusses his ascent from librarian to director...while balancing family life and its hefty demands.
The theme shared by both authors is a general but poignant question: Am I where I should be professionally? In other words, have I made the right decisions, based on various environmental circumstances of the past, and am I happy with where I am professionally? Have I accomplished and achieved all that I could have? Their responses are surprising...and reassuring!
Regardless of the profession you find yourself in, whether librarian, archivist, or some other information professional, or whether you find yourself at the crossroads of life, the fact is we all start to ask such questions after a certain amount of years in the profession. Am I where I should be professionally? Did I envision something different?
We ought to expect peaks and valleys in our professional life, and incorporate them (as best we can, being mere mortals, of course) into our planning. There will be good times--moments of exhilaration, recognition--and bad times when the surrounding fluid sounds of success diminiss into a din of noise and static, where nothing seems to make sense.
Steven Bell, however, provides some insightful advice: Treat a career path as a runner treats a marathon. Plenty of pacing, planning, bursts of energy, moments to recharge.
I have been in this field since 2001, almost 7 years, and one thing I have gleaned, which I hope can be of value to anyone reading, is to keep one's short-term and long-term goals and objectives in mind, especially long-term goals and objectives. Never lose sight of those long term visions. There will be times when a short-term situation may seem to take precedence, like that lingering never-ending project, that contract extension, but never lose sight of the long-term. Keep running toward the longer-term goal. This is not a sprint, the fastest one past the finish line wins. No. This is a long run. Do not sprint toward the short-term, wasting precious time and energy. Focus your time and save your energies for the long-term.
To use another anology. This is a story, a book with many chapters. Some chapters last a long time, full of twists and turns. Other chapters, well, those we simply cannot wait to finish, to close, and move on.
Where ever you are in your career, if graduation day occurred a few months ago or several years ago, this is your professional career. This is a long run; it is a story with many chapters. Be ready to run the distance; be prepared to finish one chapter and start another.
about the author
- David Kemper
- 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.