Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On Being "The Man," Seven Months Later

I've been a director since the beginning of February and I have a confession to make: there are still times when I have full blown Impostor Syndrome when on the job. In some ways, this is a dangerous confession to make, given that my blog is publicly accessible and all. On the other hand, since those moments are fewer and farther between, with only seven months on the job, it's not as bad as it might sound.

A lot has changed in the intervening months. I don't know everything there is to know, but I do have a good handle on the things I need to learn. Even better, I've managed to learn quite a few of the things I need to know. Best part of all? There has been a handful of moments when I *felt* like a library director. The first time that happened I was having a conversation with my college's physical plant director. We were talking about something to do with the library's side door, and then - almost like an out of body experience - I heard myself citing ADA regulations. And then I got a jolt of pride because I'd known exactly what I was talking about, and it felt good.

It felt good, but it also feels weird. In some ways, I still think of myself as that upstart kid (if a 30-year-old can be considered a kid) who just got her MLIS. The thing is, I'm not that kid. Tons to do and learn yet. Regardless, I still stand by what I wrote in my EDUCAUSE Review piece, even though I haven't been able to follow all the advice I received. I've made lots of mistakes, but I've had even more accomplishments. Impostor syndrome aside, I know I do the best I can in every moment of every day, and that's all I can expect of myself.

That's my advice for you this week: no matter at which stage of your career you might be - just starting your first day of grad school, just starting your first job, about to retire, or anywhere in between - know that you really are doing the best you can.


  1. Thanks for that reassurance! And I'm sure you are doing a fabulous job as well.

  2. The impostor syndrome goes with that phrase Fake it to make it! when I feel like I am out of my depth I stand taller and act as if its all mine! The best compliment is that no one notices! A your doing well is nice but no comment is better still! Keep up the good work/pretense you are doing well. (BTW been working in libraries for 19 years and this post nearly 14)

  3. Thank you for this post, Jessica! As a newly-minted MLS, I struggle with Imposter Syndrome every day. Posts like this, from someone farther along in their career, make me (and I'm sure many others) feel less alone in work anxieties, and more prepared to face them head-on.