Well, first, UGH. I hate not following our own advice and abandoning this blog. When I was due for a blog post (January? February?), I had a million other things going on (who doesn’t), and it became this looming, horrible thing in my mind. Adriane gave me permission to take a step back, and what a long step it turned out to be!
The title of the post I had in draft was “Paralyzed,” because that’s how I felt then (and many months afterwards). I had been at my new job for several months, enough time that I thought I should know more than I did. I know now that’s nonsense, and as a friend pointed out on Facebook, when you know it all at work, then it’s time for a new job.
My struggle has been in expressing my value to myself and my organization. Our staff size is small, so I double as a reference librarian for about half my work hours. I had always prided myself on my reference librarian skills, but our collection is complex and requires trying several different entry points, so I’ve had days where I’ve felt fairly useless. Time at the reference desk can then sap my energy for my department head responsibilities, so I’ve often felt that I’m doing two jobs poorly. Never mind jack of all trades, just master of none.
As usual, someone else more clearly articulates this feeling. It’s imposter syndrome (thank you, Char Booth, a librarian I’ve admired from afar!). I’ve suffered from this for years, and it’s not enough to take my mother’s advice about it, I need to hear it from an outsider. So, I pledge to reread Char’s post whenever I start beating myself up (I’ll soon have it memorized). In the meantime, I can point to some accomplishments that make me feel I’m making a contribution. I finally wrote a post for MPOW’s blog (now to write another one!). And, I’ve had some exciting discussions about social media with the Executive Director of the Chicago Collections Consortium, and together we’ve launched the CCC’s Twitter account.
And on a personal note (because isn’t that what the internet’s all about?), after losing my beloved 19-year-old cat Katie, I adopted a little boy kitten Teddy, who just recently led me on a wild ride. The loss, then joy, then sheer terror, then huge relief remind me that it’s not all about work.