Tuesday, June 7, 2016

You Are Going To Be Okay: Things You Need To Know For Your New Job

A while back, I wrote a post of specific advice for a first time instruction librarian, but this week I want to expand that advice to be more inclusive of all brand new librarians:
  1. They hired you on purpose. Most professional positions get lots and lots and LOTS of applicants, so if you're the one who gets the job offer it is definitely a conscious effort on their part. I know this might seem ridiculous to emphasize, but so many people act like it was an accident that they got a job offer. Really, it wasn't a slip up by the hiring committee (or person).
  2. You don't have to interview anymore once they give you the job. This is a fault of mine. For the first year of any job, I keep trying to prove why I'm the right person. I'm not saying you should be arrogant, but you don't have to keep selling yourself to your boss and your coworkers. They met you during the interview process. They know you. It's your job.
  3. You are going to get overwhelmed. It's okay. It's normal. My first professional position was an amazing opportunity, but the interview process had felt too easy and - as I've already mentioned - I kept trying to interview for it even after they'd hired me and I'd started working. Anytime you start to feel overwhelmed, take lots of notes and ask lots of questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions again if you weren't clear on the answer. Nobody should expect you to hit the ground running.
  4. You are going to make mistakes. Unless you are a perfect superbeing (in which case, you're either lying or have a T.A.R.D.I.S. available), you're going to mess up. You'll forget to spellcheck an email that goes out to a big group, or be late to a meeting, or even *gasp* forget about an appointment. Don't make a habit of it, but don't hide from it. Own your mistakes and make amends and talk about how you'll move forward if it impacted a bunch of people. Make mistakes, but learn from them.
  5. You are going to be okay. When I was a brand new library director, I felt like I was drowning almost every day. Now that I've been doing it for a while, I can feel and see and hear the progress. You'll have the same thing. If you're lucky, you'll have mentors on the ground with you. (I'm sorry, but your boss can't really mentor you - a mentor needs to be a safe space where you can complain about your boss if necessary or debate when it's time to move up/on with your career.) If you don't have mentors there, reach out to local librarians or even people online. 

This isn't an all inclusive list of things you, in particular, will need to know. It *is* a list of things that every new librarian (or old librarian with a new job) needs to know. Don't you think? Other experienced librarians, anything to add?


  1. THANK YOU for this. Needed to read it today...

  2. I needed this so bad. Thank you so much!!

  3. I'll chime in and say I, too, needed this today. Thank you.

  4. I couldn't agree more with this list! I think it's so easy to forget that they hired us for a reason when we're feeling overwhelmed learning a new role.

    It's certainly better for all involved if we admit our mistakes and ask for help to fix them particularly while we're still learning the ropes. Trying to sweep a mistake under the rug just makes the problem worse and even if no one is aware that it was ours someone still has to deal with fixing it.

  5. You don't understand how badly I needed this. Had lunch with staff at a new job I'll be starting in September earlier this week. and I keep replaying awkward convo over and over again lool
    Thank you