Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Recharging Professional Batteries

picture of batteries in and beside a battery charger

Last week, I talked about some questions to ask when you reach a mid-career slump. This week, I want to talk about one way I've been able to recharge a little. I started writing this post in the Spring, before I ended up taking an extended hiatus from blogging, but I think it's still important to share.

Back in the Spring, I spent about two days meeting with library staff - predominately library administrators - from all around the SUNY system. I have to be honest: I was kind of dreading going to this meeting. I was already behind with my to do list before I'd had the flu a couple of weeks prior, and the prospect of missing a bunch more time in the office was not filling me with delight. Who wants to sit around and talk about things that may or may not have anything to do with my day-to-day - think about how varied the schools in SUNY are, and you'll have an idea of why I thought that - when I had plenty of day-to-day to attend to.

I should have known I would be wrong about my dread. Sure, there were things we discussed that didn't have as much bearing on my school as they did on other schools, but the updates about  OLIS and the new chancellor weren't my big take-away from the time I spent with the other SUNY staff.

There were quite a few other take-aways, though.
  • I got to hear what all the other campuses are up to, especially other community colleges.
  • The social time I was able to spend socialising with and getting to know other cc administrators in SUNY because SUNY is different from the other consortia I've been in, etc., was invaluable.
  • Even beyond the other community college library administrators, there's something so very validating about being around people who have same kinds of problems, challenges, and successes as me.
  • Also, it must be said that it was nice to get  away from the office for a bit so I could recharge.

We all need that. Time to recharge. There's a multi-day training thing going on this week for people who are involved with, in one way or another, the change over from one OPAC to another (SUNY is switching from Aleph to Alma), and though I'm sure the training will be valuable, that's not why I'm excited for my staff. I'm most excited for the recharge opportunity this presents to library faculty and staff. It's the end of the semester and things are always stressful this time of year, so I'm glad they all have an opportunity to get away.

How about you? Do you find time with peers, outside of your normal context, to be refreshing and renewing?

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