Three months

During the interview for my job one of the set questions was along the lines of (I can’t recall the precise wording) “What would you hope to achieve in your first three months in the role?” It’s a standard interview question and I didn’t have a very good answer. I stumbled through a reply that included: working through the induction process, not being afraid to seek help when I was stuck, admitting when I was finding things difficult, understanding the role, and aiming to become a useful part of the team. At the end of my response I apologised for not answering the question better.

I’m now (just over) three months into the role and it’s a useful point at which to reflect back on this interview question. Quite honestly, in October and the early part of November I couldn’t imagine still being in this job in January. I honestly thought I wasn’t worthy of the job. I can now look back and reflect on how badly my confidence had been dented by what came before, and the significant impact of this on my transition to the new role.

  1. Working through the induction process – I got through the checklist stuff very quickly, because it was a useful distraction from how terrible I felt at the time. Of course, there’s an the less structured, ad-hoc, unwritten stuff and I would say that I’m working through that because it takes time to understand a large organisation.
  2. Not being afraid to seek help – I used to be the person that people went to for advice. Becoming the newbie again was/is hard after such a long time. I am buddied up with a very experienced, kind colleague who I can message when I’m finding things hard and she regularly contacts me to make sure I’m ok. I’m part of a geographically dispersed team but we use Skype extensively and everyone is at the end of an email or messenger.
  3. Admitting when I was finding things difficult – after (what I perceived to be) a terrible first week/month I decided to be honest with my colleagues about how I was feeling. We have regular Skype sessions where we share information on a theme. As part of a ‘Day in the life’ session in November I delivered a presentation on being a KES (Knowledge and Evidence Specialist) Newbie on which I received good feedback.
  4. Understanding the role – I would say that I understand it *more* now but I’m not there *yet*. I have dealt with several literature searches of varying difficulty including one for a systematic review, I’m in the process of setting up a current awareness bulletin, I’ve provided 1:1 and ongoing support on Endnote, I peer-review publications as part of the in-house publication standard committee, among many other tasks. Lots already done, lots more still to learn.
  5. Becoming a useful part of the team – I would tentatively say yes but you’d have to ask my colleagues what they think.

I was involved in an incident at the beginning of December that, if it had happened month before, would have seen me walk out of the building and not return. Briefly, I was on the receiving end of some unexpectedly unprofessional behaviour. It was one of those moments where you check with the people around you whether the behaviour was acceptable and if my reaction was appropriate and professional. The response was, respectively, no and yes. I subsequently received excellent support from my manager and colleagues. I know from previous experience (a long time ago) that this isn’t necessarily a given*. The fact that I was able to bounce back from it (I went from the bad incident at 10am to a lovely moment at 2pm) shows how far I’ve come in the last couple of months.

My feelings towards my previous role versus my current job have evolved since my last post. I can miss bits of my old job whilst simultaneously enjoying  my new role. I’m particularly missing managing people and collections. I can’t do a lot about the former but it’s no coincidence that I’m playing at lot of Sims Freeplay in the evening**. I’m visiting one of our libraries to help with some stock work next month. As long as I can top up my hardcore librariany goodness from time to time, I’ll be just fine.

I was chatting to a friend recently who said it takes six months to understand a new job, rather than three. I’m hoping to be able to report further progress in April.

*If I’d known what gaslighting was in 2010 it would have applied here *shudder*

** It’s extremely therapeutic controlling other people’s lives WHICH IS NOT THE SAME AS LINE MANAGEMENT. Combined with watching the Press Gang boxset it’s the perfect way to unwind.

It gets better

It has taken eight weeks for me to feel like I’m finally enjoying, and can be good at, my new job. On Monday I realised that I no longer miss anything about my old job at all.

As I indicated in my previous post, October was a write-off as I was a complete mess. Luckily, I was on holiday for a week during that time, which acted as a wonderful distraction. At the beginning of November, I saw some glimmers of hope and over the last week I’ve realised that I actually, finally, really like my new job. I might even love it. (No job is perfect of course, but this is pretty good.)

There was a creeping realisation that I deserved better. I need to make a distinction here between being too good for my previous role (that’s not something I can necessarily say) and feeling that I deserved to be treated better and, frankly, looked after a bit more. Some of this is professional pride kicking in, but a lot of it is being in a new situation and realising that the old one really wasn’t as great as I thought it was.

The best analogy I can come up with is that it’s like dumping a no-good partner, going through the terrible phase where you’re worried you did the wrong thing, and finally realising you’re much better off without them. I had people close to me telling me that I needed to leave my job two years ago for the sake of my health, confidence and self-worth, but I wasn’t ready to make the break at that point. My old job was comfortable and familiar but in hindsight it didn’t respect or treat me very well.

The impact that my old job had on my physical and mental health (particularly the latter) should not be underestimated. I was ground down and tired after many years of fighting the same battles. My old line manager and I likened it to Blackadder Goes Forth, where the soldiers battle for months on end to move the general’s drinks cabinet (the library) six inches toward enemy lines, only to have it (and my ambitions) pushed back.

I’ve been a complete pain to be around over the last few weeks. Interventions have been staged at various points. In October I cried on a lot of people. I have realised a few things as a result of this process though.

Learning points:

  1. Starting a new job is bloody awful,
  2. No matter how bad it seems at the outset, it will get better, or at least less worse
  3. It takes time to get used to a new role, particularly if you were in the old one for a long time
  4. It’s good to talk about how you’re feeling and share concerns
  5. Writing about what you’re going through is incredibly cathartic

I still have so much to learn about my new role, but I have already developed a whole host of skills over the last few weeks that will be incredibly useful regardless of what happens in future. There are huge benefits to being part of a larger team in terms of expertise, mutual support networks, opportunities and information-sharing. Having the management support and budget to get proper training and development is eye-opening. I gave up asking for training in my old job because I knew it would be a no unless it was free, I could get a bursary, I spoke or podcasted at it. Now I’m actively being encouraged to attend all kinds of training events. It’s made me realise how short-sighted it is to expect people to learn on the job without access to training opportunities. It’s a cost-saving to the organisation but it makes services far less efficient.

I am soon to celebrate A Birthday and to be perfectly honest I’m not massively happy about it. One good thing about getting older though is that you realise and value your self-worth. I put up with a lot of nonsense before, but I’m simply not prepared to do that now. I am worth more and deserve better.

First-world professional grief: Part 2

I don’t think I’ve cried as much as I have this year as I have…well, ever…really. I spoke about the first world professional grief I experienced over Fellowship earlier in the year. What I didn’t expect was the gut-punching, air-gasping, all-consuming grief I would experience over leaving my old job. I refer to it as first world grief because nobody has died, I’m still in gainful employment and everyone is healthy.

I wrote about feeling calm about the decision I’d made but I don’t think it really hit me until the very end of my last day. EVERYONE expected me to cry at some point during my last week. I’m fairly certain that some people tried to make me feel sad ON PURPOSE to make me cry. I remained dry-eyed throughout the leaving speeches, presents, cards (the lovely messages!), leaving do, laughing, dancing, hugging and then…It was all over and I was broken.

I started crying at approximately 10:30pm on my last day and essentially didn’t stop crying for a week, which was awkward as I started my new job during that time. My new colleagues (who have been lovely) must have wondered what they’d taken on. I had a panic attack one night (the first in a year) where I screamed and sobbed as the walls closed in. I felt disoriented, frightened and overwhelmed.

The grief I’m experiencing is complicated. I went through a difficult time during the last few months in my old job and while I ultimately won the battle I was fighting, it directly led to my decision to leave. The crux of it is, there’s some unresolved ‘stuff’ that I can’t deal with or change. I’m having coaching to help me work through it to find solutions and offer some level of peace. This stuff can eat you alive if you let it and I’m determined to feel my feelings and move on.

I’d taken the library as far as I could without additional support, development and funding and it was made crystal clear to me that I wouldn’t be developed further and that the service would need to remain as it was for the time being. I was bored, frustrated and stifled. I was tired of fighting the same battles on a never-ending loop. I hadn’t learned anything new for a long time (years, probably) and everything was easy and utterly routine. I could have stayed there for the rest of my career quite comfortably but that wouldn’t have been healthy for anyone.

In May I was so mad at myself about Fellowship that I ran a marathon. In October I ran a trail lap event and covered 18.5 miles through woodland, brambles, clay-like mud and leg-busting hills. I planned to do 4 laps (I like events where you can do as many or few laps as you like) and realised I wasn’t done yet so I went back out for a fifth because obviously an additional 3.7 miles would cure everything and I have a unique ability to hurt myself through running. It didn’t cure anything (obviously) but I was quite “SCREW YOU AND ALL WHO SAIL IN YOU” (inwardly) at the end so maybe that was a positive outcome.

The library was my third baby. I planned it, birthed it, parented it, got mad at it, it broke me, I cried over it, and I was proud of it. When I’m passionate about something I really love it and I don’t have that thing any more. I’m angry with myself for the time I missed with my girls when they were tiny because I was setting the library up and working ridiculous hours with no support. They don’t seem to be particularly scarred by the bath and bedtimes I missed but I’m mad at myself for letting that happen. I sacrificed an awful lot and for what, exactly? Perhaps it will be clear one day.

One of the many reasons I left my old job was that I felt my contribution to the organisation and my professional achievements weren’t appreciated in some quarters. When the interviews for my replacement were carried out, three of the four candidates apparently mentioned that they had seen me speak at conferences, knew me through professional networks, listened to Librarians with Lives, or highlighted my achievements. It shouldn’t have taken my leaving for this to become real. I’d hardly hidden any of it.

During the third week in my new job I realised something valuable. I’d spent the previous couple of weeks thinking I was a complete idiot and that I didn’t recognise a good thing when I had one. I *had* to stay put for a long time to ensure stability for my family when my girls were smaller. Moreover, after 2015 when my world fell apart, I craved safety and routine. My job was a safe, fixed, reliable place in an uncertain and frightening world. The loss of control that I’ve experienced over the last few weeks is quite scary. I was the queen of my domain, the person that knew everyone and everything. Now I’m the most stupid person in the room.

A month on the grief is less intense. I don’t feel like my brain is full of thick fog that isn’t going to clear. I still have moments where I feel very sad and angry. I’ve got good coping mechanisms in place and am developing new routines. I’m hoping that one day I’ll look back at this time and be proud of myself for doing something brave and for challenging everything I thought I knew about libraries. I think that leaving my old job, whatever happens next, is actually a bit of a baller move.



The long goodbye

I’m in the middle of a two-month notice period at work and I’m sliding into a state of irrelevance. Handover work is ongoing and I’m helping with the recruitment process for my replacement. Nearly two months is an incredibly long time when you know, and your current employer knows, that you’re leaving. I haven’t quite reached the chair-spinning stage yet (on my last day in a previous role I spent the afternoon in the library office spinning in my chair and singing Goldfinger to my bemused colleagues) but I’m definitely winding down.

There are now meetings that I don’t attend – or meetings that I attend the start of and then part-way through someone says ‘You don’t need to be here for this bit Jo…you’re welcome to stay of course’ (I am not expected to stay and if I did it would just get awkward, so I gracefully depart.) All meeting invitations after 27th September have been declined and deleted, some with more relish than others. I do have the occasional ‘Oh’ moment though, when conversations and meetings about the library happen without my knowledge. It’s a forcible reminder that it’s not *my* library any more. I think I’m allowed to feel a little sad about that.

More and more people in the organisation know that I’m going. I started off telling those close to me in person, which led to some difficult and sad conversations. Then my departure was announced in team meetings. Then it was announced in the strategy directorate news email. I have booked a venue for my leaving do and now the wider London team knows. I’ll be writing something about my departure for the next current awareness bulletin. There’s talk of my departure being announced as a news story on the staff intranet. Gradually everyone will know.

I have been described by colleagues as irreplaceable, an institution, a massive loss to the organisation, a hard act to follow. All of which is extremely flattering, but the sun shines, the world turns and later this year someone else will become LIS Manager and I’ll quickly become a distant memory, if I’m even remembered at all.

After I handed in my notice I expected to have a middle of the night “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?” moment but it simply hasn’t happened. I have done everything (and more) I could possibly achieve in my current role and while I could sit here for the next ten or twenty years quite happily, I don’t think it would be healthy for me or my organisation.

It’s an oddly enjoyable time. I have been able to let go of a lot of things that were irritating me because they simply don’t matter. Whether they really, in the grand scheme of things, mattered before is now irrelevant. The pressure is – finally – off for a little while and I’ve started doing long-neglected hobbies again because I have more brain space to enjoy them.

I’m going to be incredibly busy in my new role. I haven’t been a newbie for a very long time and I know my brain will ache with exhaustion from trying to remember names, procedures, how to get in and out of the building, and learning a completely new job from scratch.

Even though I’m becoming irrelevant to my organisation *now* I have done some impressive things over the last decade and that I shouldn’t allow myself to minimise my achievements in my current role.

New job and reflections on interviews

Since I submitted my Fellowship portfolio I’ve been feeling quite ‘What next’? As I said in a previous post it feels like the end of an era and the right time to move on and do something else. As a result, I’m leaving my current role to move to Public Health England as a Knowledge and Evidence Specialist in October.

Having been in the same job for a long time in a niche sector (social care/work) I didn’t quite know how to pitch myself. I was put forward by recruiters for some terrifyingly grand jobs and was rejected by them. I gained considerable insight into structuring an application.

I wrote a key skills document for one role that I was approached to apply for, which highlighted areas of my current role that I really enjoy (my FCLIP portfolio was a good starting point, proving that it is useful beyond the qualification): building relationships with colleagues across departments, internally and externally and getting them to buy into and become advocates for a service; compiling literature searches and really getting under the hood of a subject; and (cheesy alert) helping to make other people’s lives better and supporting policymakers to affect positive change.

I picked up advice from friends. You shouldn’t overinvest in a role you’ve been ‘found’ for because it’s a recruiter’s job to find you, encourage you to apply for a role that’s well beyond your reach, help you craft a great application and then send you a rejection email prior to the first interview stage. If you’re very unlucky you won’t get an email, but you will see the role advertised by a different recruiter. Also, go for an interview if you’re offered one. The worst-case scenario is that you hone your interview technique and get to see a different workplace and the best-case scenario is that you get offered the job.

Since 2003 I have had four jobs; five if you count an internal promotion. I’ve been in my current role for ten years and I didn’t have to interview for it as I was TUPE’d over from my previous employer. During the LwL 50 AMA I talked about turning down a job a few years ago. I don’t regret the decision I made as my dream job in my twenties was no longer right for me in my thirties.

There are good and bad interview experiences. The good experiences make you feel better about yourself even when you don’t get the job. The prospective employer goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable, doesn’t act like you’ve shot them if you ask questions at the end of the interview, procedures are followed and promises of feedback kept.

I’ve had a few bad interview experiences over the years. Usually you get a ‘Please prepare a 5-10-minute presentation on X and Y’ in the interview invitation. On one occasion, with no warning, I was given 30 minutes prior to the interview to write an on the spot scenario-based PowerPoint presentation. I got about half-way through delivering the presentation, was enthusiastically outlining my plan for saving a failing, fictional but not really, library service and saw the HR representative on the panel roll their eyes. The interview got worse from there. I think they wanted someone to slash library services and I was all about saving and improving them. I didn’t get the job. Three and a half years later I’m still waiting for the promised feedback that I requested twice afterwards.

I was once asked to value a book in an interview, for a post that was mis-advertised as a library job but was really a curatorial role. The book dealer on the interview panel painstakingly explained how I should have been able to value the book he gave me based on the binding and some other subtle clues that I had absolutely no idea about. The ability to value books was not a requirement in the job description and I didn’t indicate that I possessed such a skill in my application.

Early in my career I had an interview for a library assistant role and it was clear the moment I walked through the door that they were just going through the motions of interviewing me. The interview lasted twenty minutes. At the time I thought I’d done something wrong (I requested feedback but didn’t get any) but now I think they’d already found someone amazing and I was simply making up the numbers.

Feedback tends to be along the lines of ‘The skills of another candidate more closely aligned with the job description than yours’, which roughly translates as ‘We liked someone else better than you’. I was once told to contact an email address for feedback on a job I didn’t get. The address they gave me was for a no-reply mailbox.

I saw an advert for the PHE role and crafted an application. I received an interview invitation before I was due to travel up to Manchester for the CILIP Conference, for the following week. The fact that I was so busy may have worked in my favour because I had less time to overthink the process.

Everyone I met at the interview was lovely and put me at ease. I raced through my presentation (the nerves!) and felt that I answered some of the questions better than others. I took myself off for a consolation Frappuccino afterwards. I was kicking myself because I thought of a really great example for one of the questions and it completely fell out of my head during the interview. I braced myself for a rejection email and feedback. I was shocked when I received a phone call offering me the job. I went away and spoke to my brains trust as I have three other people to factor into any decision I make. Their unanimous verdict was that I should accept the role.

I leave my current role on 27th September and I am actively supporting the recruitment process for my replacement. I start my new role on 1st October. I’m excited and terrified but most of all I’m looking forward to a new, very different, challenge.


FCLIP Feedback and advice

Now that have achieved FCLIP, I can pass on some of my hard-earned wisdom (such as it is) on how to avoid all the mistakes that I made and give yourself the best possible chance of getting your portfolio through the assessment board first time (unlike me…)

I have divided this into three areas: portfolio-specific advice, general advice, and advice for CILIP

Portfolio advice

  1. Critical evaluation: It’s not enough to say you’ve done an amazing thing and to provide evidence of it. You need to reflect on what you did, how it went and what you would do differently next time. Repeatedly. On multiple documents: your evaluative statement, your evidence (every single piece of it), the PKSB, your CV, your job description and through your supporting statements. If you’ve done Chartership recently (note I said recently i.e. in the last five years) you will already know this. Forget passive voice. You need to adopt the persona of a charismatic preacher convincing the congregation that you can heal their terminal illnesses simply by laying hands on them.
  2. Supporting letters: The handbook states that you need a minimum of two. Actually, the more letters you can get to prove your case and blow your trumpet on your behalf, the better. This should be explicitly stated in the guidelines. Ask everyone that had anything to do with anything in your portfolio. Those people will say extremely nice things about you. Their words are useful to refer to when you’re on your fifteenth go at doing your evaluative statement and you hate yourself, CILIP, all library workers (even the ones you vaguely like), anyone who already has FCLIP, and you wish you’d become a nail technician/writer/professional Sims player rather than a librarian
  3. Mentor: You need an FCLIP mentor – as in, you need someone that has been through FCLIP themselves, or at the very minimum has a proven track record of getting other people through it. I firmly believe that an MCLIP mentor (even a very experienced one) is NOT sufficiently equipped to know which areas to push in an FCLIP portfolio. I’m a Chartership mentor and I don’t think that I would have had the skills to support someone doing Fellowship before I went through the process myself. Moreover, I think that FCLIP mentors need more extensive training than MCLIP mentors and that they should refresh their training every 2-3 years.
  4. Evidence: You must link it to the PKSB and I mean by putting a paragraph at the top of every single bit of evidence stating explicitly which bits of the PKSB it supports, down to the numbers. So far, so Chartership. Additionally, you need to signpost the assessors and point out PRECISELY why this evidence matters. You also need to elevate the reflection so that it provides clear evidence of higher-level management and leadership thinking.
  5. Language: forget everything you’ve been told about not putting ‘I’ into stuff because there’s no I in team. In your FCLIP portfolio you are the supreme ruler of your realm. You did a thing? Great! You LED that thing. You’re an ADVOCATE! You’re a LEADER! You’re an INFLUENCER!. Modest people DO NOT ACHIEVE FCLIP. Even if you *are* modest by nature you must pretend that you’re an arrogant so-and-so. This is hard but there’s no way round it.

General advice

  1. It’s a selling job. You’re selling yourself and your skills to convince the assessors and the panel that you are worthy of FCLIP. It’s not enough to have done lots of innovative, interesting things. You have to tell them, through your portfolio, in glorious technicolour. Repeatedly. In self-glorifying language. Activate jazz hands, a chorus line and twenty-five tapdancing musical theatre stars WITH CANES AND TOP HATS singing at the very top of their lungs about your greatness.
  2. You need to be confident about your management and leadership skills: You need to demonstrate – repeatedly – that you have high-level management skills. Don’t assume the assessors will be able to read between the lines and see that you’re working at a significantly higher level than a Chartership candidate. You have to tell them repeatedly throughout your portfolio.
  3. It’s lonely: Some candidates set up FCLIP support groups and have find them extremely useful, but I know they wouldn’t work for me because they would enhance my already heightened feelings of inadequacy. Everyone I’ve spoken to has gone through a really difficult time with it and it does feel like you’re trying to navigate without a map. If you can’t face being part of an FCLIP group, perhaps buddy up with someone who already has already achieved Fellowship but isn’t your mentor, or with someone going through Chartership. Even if you just end up sending each other Gavin and Stacey gifs on Twitter.
  4. It’s emotional: someone said that to me early on and I was surprised. However, reflecting on your career and your journey pushes certain buttons. It forces you to go back and explore complicated unresolved feelings about projects that went wrong, significant achievements, and the reality of day-to-day working life over a period of time. It also reminds you of things that you’ve done that you completely forgot about. It’s an odd sort of professional therapy.
  5. You have to want it: I had two drivers pushing me towards FCLIP. It’s the last library-related qualification I plan to do, and I wanted to reflect on what I’ve achieved so far in my career and work out my next steps career-wise. I don’t think that I would have contemplated taking it on otherwise. You need your reasons and you need to be able to refer back to them when the going gets tough.
  6. You’re allowed to find it hard: I think it’s very dangerous for anyone to pretend that it’s a smooth process because it prevents others from sharing their fears and worries. FCLIP should not be easy. It’s a significant step up from MCLIP. It feels like you’re trying to free solo El Capitan at times and I worry that the step from one to the other is too high and that the expectations are disproportionate.

Advice for CILIP

All of the above plus:

  1. Mentor or tutor? I think the line is pretty blurred in professional registration and I don’t think it’s entirely helpful. A mentor advises and a tutor teaches. I needed both when I was putting my portfolio together. I’m not convinced that a one-day course or webinar teaches anyone how to support a candidate through FCLIP.
  2. The step (or rather, the sheer climb) between Chartership and Fellowship needs to be made clearer at the outset. The woolly expectations in the handbook don’t indicate how onerous it is in terms of time commitment and sheer mental and emotional effort.
  3. Make the processes and documentation clearer. The handbook is extremely woolly and there should be a separate FCLIP-specific version. There shouldn’t be a whole host of ‘Stuff you aren’t told but are somehow supposed to know’ hidden away. It’s not supposed to be a treasure hunt.

Achieving FCLIP and what it means

Last week I got the email telling me that I have achieved Fellowship from CILIP. Anyone that knows me even a tiny bit via this blog, the Librarians with Lives podcast, Twitter or in real-life will know that it has been a journey for me to get to this point.

It feels like another lifetime now but less than three years ago I was so unwell that I couldn’t write an email or read text longer than a page. My short-term memory was non-existent and I often felt frightened and overwhelmed. When I returned to work full-time in January 2017 after a lengthy phased return I didn’t imagine for a second that I would take on something like Fellowship. I registered for FCLIP in February 2017. On reflection it was too soon after my illness but I felt that I needed a long-term goal to focus on beyond being able to get up in the morning and function effectively.

I have written extensively elsewhere on the process I’ve been through, so I won’t repeat that here. When I opened the congratulatory email I did a little whoop and then felt oddly calm. I had expected to be running around with joy (that came later) or maybe even have a good cry. It turns out that I’ve shed enough tears over the last few months. I told my family and friends first, then put the word out on social media. I’ve had so many lovely messages. On Monday I took treats into work and wrote a brief email outlining why, with a brief explanation of 1. CILIP and 2. Fellowship. Again, the congratulatory messages have been overwhelming and it’s nice to be appreciated.

The feedback from the Professional Registration Assessment Board on my FCLIP portfolio was as follows:

“Congratulations on achieving Fellowship. Having created a successful service you have been looking outward and involving the wider sector in being customers of the service. Your learning and development is clear at both a strategic and managerial level and is reflected in your successes reflected in the comments from the organisational leads’ supporting statements. The work you have done with Librarians with Lives and the number of “lives” it has touched is considerable. A growing and global community is emerging which is testament to your efforts”.

Ultimately, achieving FCLIP doesn’t really change anything. It’s more letters after my name (cheers to the person I know IRL who said I needed to do a PhD next to complete the set. NO. I mean, really. No.) It’s something to add to my CV. It demonstrates my commitment to continuing professional development. It will make me a better Chartership mentor. I’m now part of a fairly small group of people who can describe themselves as a Fellow. In 2016 I didn’t want to do my job any more. I didn’t want to be a librarian. I didn’t think I was worth saving. Achieving FCLIP has given me a forcible reminder that I have made something of a difference to my organisation and the wider profession.

When I submitted my FCLIP portfolio it felt like the end of an era. I had reflected extensively on my achievements over the last ten years, particularly building a library and information service for social workers from scratch and making it successful and sustainable. Achieving Fellowship is the culmination of a decade of work and I’m now ready for a new challenge.