Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Job, New Interview

Feels a little like cheating, but as I've been editing interviews recently, I've also been thinking about how my answers have changed. At least a lot of them have. So I decided to redo my interview with myself. My blog, my prerogative? 


Luna Lovegood

Current job?
Director of Library Services, Genesee Community College

How long have you been in the field?
Closing in on 15 years!

How Do You Work?

What is your office/workspace like?

I have walls now, and privacy. It's a bigger institution than my last, so I'm not needed on the front lines as much. I have an L desk, a big filing cabinet, a table with chairs (!!) for meetings, and a bookshelf that is chock-a-block full of things I need to read and do. I like tidy, and my office feels such a mess - mostly because of the piles on my bookshelf.

How do you organize your days?
I'm still a combination of an electronic calendar and a paper journal, but I'm full-on bullet journaling now. To be fair, it's my own special version of the bullet journal since I can't be bothered to make it pretty, but it helps me so much to have all of my to do lists and notes all in one place - for the most part.

What do you spend most of your time doing?
Meetings. Meetings meetings and more meetings. I sit down with everyone who works at the library - 17 people - at least once a month, and a few meetings are more frequent. I have a weekly meeting with my boss, the provost. I have biweekly meetings with an on-site mentor. I have biweekly meetings with the deans & directors who all report directly to the provost. There are monthly web team meetings and monthly library staff meetings. I also have biweekly meetings with a student group called the Student Library Council. Oh, and we are going through a functional area review (FAR) - kind of like a program review or a reaccreditation, but for administrative units - which necessitate monthly meetings with the committee plus a bunch of other meetings with important constituents and stakeholders. And those are just the regular meetings... never mind about the avalanche of "hi, I'm new here, let's get together and chat!" meetings.

What is a typical day like for you?
I come the front door of the library to make sure nothing is figuratively or literally on fire, and that check means a quick hello with the circulation manager. I say hello to everyone who is working, put my lunch in the fridge, make myself a cup of tea, and then double check that I'm prepped for the day's meetings (I try to prep for the entire week's meetings on Monday). Once that's done, I try to glance at whatever email has come in since the last time I was at work. Then it's off to the aforementioned meetings, in between which I try to keep up with the administratrivia and paperwork and also try to sneak some work in on the bigger projects like working on the FAR or reading some of the files my predecessor left. I (almost) always take a lunch hour, which I try to make restorative by keeping work out of that time if possible. Then I go back into the race of meetings, paperwork, and getting to know my new job and new library. At the end of the day, I plan the following day's to do list, and then I head home. I leave via the front door so I can say hello and/or good night to the staff who work until close.

What are you reading right now?
As usual, too many books at once. But here's the list:

What's the best professional advice you've ever received?
The last time I answered this question, I cited Jessame Ferguson's advice to stop interviewing for a job I already had, and that is still the best, but a close second is something I got from The First 90 Days: don't give into the action imperative when you're new in a job. This basically means don't make changes just to have change, and don't do things just to do them. Have reasons for your actions and think about what you're doing before you do it.

What have you found yourself doing at work that you never expected?
Navigating the line between accommodating members of the public and not letting them take advantage of the library. I've never worked at a public institution before, and didn't think I ever would, and being polite and helping people who are not associated with my school other than the fact that they live nearby, but making sure that the needs of our students come first, can be... challenging.

Inside the Library Studio

What is your favorite word?
I still really love mellifluous, but "resist" has a special place in my heart lately.

What is your least favorite word?
Again, any word that is a derogatory term for a group of marginalized people. Nothing even comes close.

What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?
Wildlife rehab is still the top of my list, but I'd also love to do science communication to help others share my passion for the unloved animals of the world like Damon diadema (tailless whip scorpion) and Cathartes aura (turkey vulture).

What profession would you never want to attempt?
Anything medical.

Everything Else

What superpower do you wish you had?
Still kinda want Jamie Madrox's power, but have to admit the lure of James Howlett's healing factor as I age and have to deal with more aches and pains.

What are you most proud of in your career?
Still and forever this blog.

If you're willing to share, tell about a mistake you made on the job.
This happened early in my career, but I'll never forget it: a student came up and asked me for help finding information for their science paper. I heard "zebra muscles" so I spent 30 minutes finding her all sorts of stuff on equine musculature. She got a blank look on her face and I finally asked clarifying questions and learned she'd actually said "zebra mussels." Oops.

When you aren't at work, what are you likely doing?
Right now? Exploring my new city and making friends with locals. Been spending time investigating local restaurants, especially.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

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