WAAL10: Rachel Singer Gordon - "Getting Unstuck"

Posted by Lisa Strand on Friday, April 23, 2010 in WLA Blog Archive



Rachel Singer Gordon - Getting Unstuck

* The "Brisket" Story - great-granddaughter was still cutting off both sides of the brisket before cooking, because that's the way her mom did it - but it was originally only because the pan was too small.

* Why do we do things the way we do them?  Just because the person before us did it?  What's the purpose behind the action?  Did we cut back at one point and then forget to go back to full service?  Don't stop asking!

* Librarians can be agents of change for our constituencies

* If you don't promote yourself, you're doomed to defend yourself

* Your career is not your job - look at your job as a single piece of your career puzzle - where do you want to see yourself in 1, 5, 10 years?  Are your activities moving you towards those goals?  You may need to do things outside of your job.

* We talk a lot, and we complain a lot - if we do so without exploring solutions, we start to enable each other into a rut

* What do you cut off to fit in?  In hard economic times, we hunker down to not get noticed.  When new staff come on board, we say "that's not the way we do things here" - new staff need to pace themselves, or they'll get burned out by tilting at windmills.

* We put people into boxes, and say "this person is good at X, and that person is good at Y" and there they stay forever - what skills haven't been identified or expressed at work?

* "I can't..." - spiral of negativity - How could I learn how to do that thing I want to do?

* Where is your locus of control?  External (life is pushing me around  things happen TO me) or Internal (I am the master of my own fate)?

* Are there grants I could apply for?  Are there resources or services that are no longer priorities for our constituencies, and we could save money if we don't do?

* Rather than a pie-in-the-sky idea, propose a plan - who, what, where, when, why

* Resilience - what steps can I take to improve this situation for myself?  No white knight is going to ride up and fix all the problems.

* Are you just passively receiving information for your professional development?  A magazine isn't going to send you to a conference.  There are a lot of free online webinars.  You could volunteer in exchange for free registration fees - or be a speaker!

* Don't let 15-20 years go by where you only do the same things at your job - if you ever want a different job (or are forced to seek another job), you're going to need more than just that position on your resume.  Write articles, attend trainings, give presentations, show interest.

* Develop a picture in your mind of your goals - what are you doing this week to move yourself towards that?  Power of incremental change - 15 minutes + 15 minutes, etc. adds up, can grow to 30 minutes + 30 minutes, etc.. - develop habits.

* What drew you to this profession?  Try to re-capture that excitement.  How do you tell your own story - you can tell it from multiple perspectives.  Power of story.

* Rachel keeps up with what new librarians are up to.

* Why do you not have enough time?  Do you watch TV?  Cut out a show each week.  You may not have hours of free time in a block, so you need to learn how to work differently - multitasking, or 15 minutes here or there.

* Don't procrastinate because you think it needs to be perfect.  Life is perpetual beta.  Try things!  What parts worked to some extent?

* We can get into ruts - commute to work the same way each day, stop for coffee and lunch at the same times, see the same people, etc. - try changing one small thing each day - new conversation, new lunch partner.  Make new connections in other cities through professional social networking sites.

* Even those actions that helped you to be successful can be your downfall, if you get stuck in them - read outside the library literature and learn from others.

* Re-assess your goals, and change them as needed

* Nothing lasts forever - change is constant
Tags: 2010, WAAL
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