by Annette Earl
I wrote the following piece in the second week of January this year, a time for resolutions and starting things with good intentions. Little did I know I would soon be tested to see if I could practice what I preach…
2011 – the year ahead
I have a rather unprofessional and embarrassing confession to make: I can’t remember what I agreed to write about. Have you noticed how the Christmas holidays magically wipe your memory of anything vaguely work-related that occurs in early December? Therefore I have decided to indulge myself in writing about something I am passionate about – me! It’s the start of a new year, and so it seems rather fitting that I’m thinking about how to develop myself personally and professionally without costing me the time and money I don’t have.
It’s likely to be a tough year for the profession with a number of problems and challenges predicted for the coming months. How are we to meet them? Collaboration is key. Networking, learning, and supporting each other is the easiest, quickest and most effective way to remind ourselves that we are part of something tangible. And that is important. To know and to feel that you ‘belong’ encourages us to strive forward in the most difficult of times and offers an intrinsic level of support that can and should be acknowledged. Most of us have little or no time and money to be able to do many of the things we would like and this includes our professional development. If that is the case for you, do any of the following offer a partial solution to filling the gap?
Attend a Committee Meeting or AGM
Yes, meetings can be boring but they are great for networking with people you would never normally meet, especially from other sectors. Committee roles are also good for filling in the gaps on your CV that your job can’t – budgeting skills as treasurer, website coordinator, events management and so on.
Fundraise for international projects
Check out http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/special-interestgroups/careerdevelopment/cdgbenefits/
A simple cake bake at work could help our LIS colleagues in less fortunate circumstances than ourselves.
Talk about your ACLIP/MCLIP experience
Chartership and Certification workshops really benefit from people willing to share their experiences of the process. These occur a couple of times a year but can really help those working on their portfolios as well as give you useful presentation and public speaking experience.
Get yourself signed up to Jiscmail lists
Sure, you’re a member of all the popular ones but extend your search – you can often find nuggets of information gold in the most surprising of places.
Get yourself Published
Peer-reviewed journals are great but it’s just nice to see your name in print and contribute to the professional literature. Has your organisation implemented a new policy or have you got a new service to promote? Been on a visit? Then a newsletter near you would be delighted for you to get in touch…
If you believe you could do with a little extra support in your professional world then have a think about trying one of the options listed above. It’s the old adage, ‘You reap what you sow’. After all, you never know what it
could lead to… Happy New Year!
The piece was never published and I was reminded of it only a month later when I went into work on a seemingly normal Wednesday to discover an hour later that I had been given three months’ notice and would be unemployed by March.
Wow. Did not see that one coming.
I admit, I spent 24 hours in shock and there were a few tears. I have never been in this situation before and I wasn’t really sure what to do. The jobs market is, at best dire, and my options are not great. There is a
strong probability that I will have to relocate if I want to secure a job at a professional level. It would also be fair to say that I will consider myself lucky if I am able to find work in the LIS profession, especially if I want to stay in the South West. But this is the really interesting part; I have taken great comfort from being involved in CDG and it’s all to do with the key concept I was referring to when I wasn’t in this situation – belonging.
The support and kind words offered to me by colleagues who don’t even really know me have been much appreciated. Organising an upcoming Chartership day has given me something positive to focus on and it helps me to know I’m still in a position to help others which in turn motivates me to do so, and so on. I contribute to lists, I write about my woes for others to read (lucky you) and I continue to keep my eyes open for opportunities to learn new skills and develop the ones I’ve got. I have no idea where, when or what my next job will entail but I do know that it is easier to apply for them knowing that I have a whole support group to turn to should I need to.
Sure, being involved with the CDG doesn’t stop me being unemployed. But it does help to secure my confidence in a time when it could easily be eroded. And that, for me, is enough.
Chair, Devon & Cornwall Division