The exits are here, here, and here

I fell into a job and subsequently a profession in my early twenties. I always had it in the back of my mind that I would stay in the profession for a year or two, maybe up to five years, while I worked out what I really wanted to do with my life. Nine years later…

…it turned out I was actually pretty good at the thing I’d started purely because it was a job and I needed one at the time. Then I got onto the professional treadmill, got qualified, got chartered and, through a combination of internal promotions and company moves, moved steadily up the ladder. Then I started doing continued professional development stuff: mentoring here, case studies in books there and some conference involvement and committee work for good measure.

To the outsider it probably looked like I was totally immersed in what I was doing. Inside I knew differently. What began as mild discomfort a couple of years ago became a roaring fury earlier this year. I tried to ignore it. I submitted ill-advised papers to conferences. I tried not to roll my eyes (I often failed but I really, really did try) when I was told WHAT I should be thinking about the future of the profession and WHY I should care. I thought about the next 10, 20, 30 years and where I’d like to be when I’m 60 and decided that, actually, I didn’t want to still be doing this when I was almost ready for my bath chair. For lots of people it is their forever profession (and that’s great), but I don’t think it is for me.

Running parallel to all of this is the fact that I really, really like my current role. Moreover, I’m good at it. However, I can do this role very well without any of the professional gratification I have been seeking over the last few years. In any case, it has become far less of a librarian role and much more about research so I don’t fit the ‘traditional’ model any more. In the current climate, though, I’m under no illusion that my job could go at any point. If the will is there…with that in mind, I like having a Plan B bubbling away.

In January I’m starting a distance learning access course in Psychology with the University of Derby. After that, I’m hoping to get a place on the distance learning Sports Psychology MSc course at the University of Staffordshire and from there, wildest dreams, pie in the sky stuff this may be, I want to sort sportspeople’s heads out and make them even better at what they do. Yes, it’s a massive swerve from what I’ve been doing (if you’re interested, there’s a more fulsome explanation of the reasons for this on my other blog I like to Ride.) It might not work out. However, I don’t want to look back and wonder ‘What if’? I have to try this out. If it doesn’t work at least I gave it a good go.

To juggle all of this some things have to give. I have given up the Chartership mentoring, but will be seeing the lovely Emma through to her submission. For obvious reasons I won’t be writing this blog any more. Most of what I write boils down to this: STOP OVERCOMPLICATING THINGS YOU CRAZY, MOSTLY LOVEABLE NAVEL-GAZING LOONS! It’s not exactly a great loss to the professional canon of literary works. Let’s face it, I’m no loss either. There’ll be no more conference presentations (thank the freaking Lord), no more meetings, no more professional networking, no more Twitter-baiting. Basically all the extracurricular CPD stuff is going.

I’ll leave the blog up because I know people have found the Chartership post useful (all I ask is that you give me due credit if you use or recommend it) and there are some posts that hold up pretty well. However, I won’t be writing Librarians with Lives any more. Through the blog and Twitter I have met some great people (and some not so great, sadly), some of whom I now regard as good friends. Oh yes, if you want to unfollow me now I’m not doing the librarian CPD thing anymore, feel free (I’ll only judge you very very slightly for being shallow and career-grabby.)

It’s been an entertaining few years, all in all, but now it’s time to give something else a try. It’s been….enlightening. Thank you.

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7 thoughts on “The exits are here, here, and here

  1. Thanks so much for the Librarians with Lives posts, all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. They have really helped me realise I was definitely erring towards the overcomplicating of most of the things I was doing. I think I’m getting better at simplifying things, and I certainly found your Chartership post useful for that – and frequently remind others to do the same.

    I’ll definitely miss your straight-forward common sense approach to LIS-related dilemmas, though hopefully as I’m only on the outskirts of the profession myself you won’t mind too much if I still ask for your advice. Good luck with the new exciting stage of your life! 🙂

    • Thanks Jo. There have been lots of times when I’ve wanted to bellow IT’S NOT BRAIN SURGERY YOU NUMPTIES (not necessarily at you) at the entire information profession, but I suspect I could say it until I’m blue in the face and people would still treat librarianship like it’s the be all and end all of the universe. That said, I’m glad that you found what I said useful 🙂

      I’m more than happy to offer you advice – I might use you as ‘practice’ for my future studies 😉

  2. I second what Jo says, will really miss this blog, especially when you bang out heads together and tell us to stop over-complicating things, but all the very best with your new studies and career.

  3. You’re wrong, you know. You’re a big loss to the profession. It is better to have someone who has a little perspective on the whole thing…our profession is so full of the weird and the mad that one of the sane ones leaving will leave a gap. Good luck in your future endevours but don’t think that librarianship is better off without you. We’re all worse off for removing that extra bit of common sense from library land

    • LOL at “weird and mad”. Based on some of the conversations you and I have had recently, I know exactly what/who you’re talking about! 😉

      Obviously I respectfully disagree with your sentiments re: me being a loss to the profession. I can imagine that one or two people are glad that I have finally been seen off!! I know my views were extremely unwelcome in some quarters and on one level I feel like I’ve failed because I’ve walked away from something where I at least tried to offer a different viewpoint. However, life is too short to engage with the ‘weird and mad’ for any length of time if you aren’t making headway.

      I certainly have lots of ‘fodder’ for my future studies, anyway! 😉

      • Librarianship-schmibrarianship (ok, that doesn’t work at all!). It’s not like it’s some great vocation – I know we love to think it’s super-special but for most of us it’s really just a reasonably nice way to earn a crust. You’re setting off on a new path where your clarity of thinking and perseverance in the face of navel-gazing will be hugely valuable, I think you’ll be great! I’m sure they’ll miss you enormously when the time comes for you to leave your current post, but the profession as a whole will probably cope 😉

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