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March 26, 2008

Doing the blog thing

Each Spring heralds a variety of events, both good and bad: warm weather, spring flowers (you should just SEE my tangerine tree!), Spring Break, rain, taxes, and at my work, annual reviews.

I've been thinking a lot about my job over the past couple of months in preparation for my evaluation. I had my review with my supervisor today - and, of course, I'm doing a good job. But while I'm meeting her expectations, I've been really unmotivated. Ever since I started this position I've been struggling to define it, to own it, to make it feel like MY job. This is complicated by the facts that it is a new position without a history, no other librarians do comparable work, and the day-to-day duties are rather vague. Many of my responsibilities are affiliated with committees that take a long time to make decisions, or I need to seek approval from various levels of authority in order to other things.

In ILL, I was pretty spoiled - if I thought something needed changing, I just did it. I really enjoy that kind of freedom - the freedom to take risks, to experiment with new services, to implement changes. I still do that now, to a certain extent (such as implementing WorldCat Selection), but it's much slower and affects a greater number of other people. However, other things, like making updates to a webpage, have to go through levels of authority, and then other levels of actual implementation (though soon I should be able to make my own changes once our CMS is finally in place).

Our library is participating in a ClimateQUAL survey next month, which has also drawn my thoughts towards job satisfaction. The survey deals with various organizational concepts, including organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and task engagement. The sample question for task engagement is "The work that I do is important to me." That statement really hit home - I'm not sure that the work I do IS important to me. This is partially due to the fact that it's hard to even define what my work is, much less whether it is important. And while I think that certain things I do are important to others (which I appreciate), those things are a small part of my work week.

I wonder, also, how much of this is my fault. Is my lack of motivation because my job is ill-defined and restricted, or is it because I'm just lazy, or don't know how to find what's good about it? I've mentioned before that this position isn't necessarily what I had in mind when I envisioned my future in librarianship, but shouldn't I be able to learn from it, gain valuable experience, make it into the position I want? Am I failing as a librarian?

I brought up some of these issues with my supervisor today, and hopefully we can discuss some possible solutions for the future. But I guess the other question is should I look for a different position? I've never wanted to leave ASU, but there haven't been other positions for which I'm qualified, and with the state's current financial situation, there probably won't be for a while. Is it worth it to look elsewhere? And if the problem is just me, would moving to a new position really solve the problem? I know entirely too many people who wander from job to job in the search for happiness and job satisfaction - and never seem to find it. Can't I make my own happiness?

All of these thoughts have been percolating around in my head for quite a while - part of the reason I haven't been blogging lately is just that this what I've been thinking about and I wasn't sure if I should, or even wanted to, bring it up. I've always wrestled somewhat with how much to divulge about my work here, but I've decided what the hell - I'll post what I feel like. Within legal grounds, of course.

I missed this week's cat picture, so here's one that's perhaps symbolic for this post.
Bath time

4 comments:

  1. Personally, I don't think it's just you. I have no doubt that given the appropriate motivation and challenge that you would feel more inclined to excel at your job. I say there's no harm in at least looking for another position that meets your ideal expectations. In the meantime, I guess you'll just have to IM with me while I too am suffering the boredom of my job. Someday we'll have something better!

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  2. The thing is, you want control and the ability to do cool things at your job. Sounds like you had that in a previous role. Maybe asking to be able to try new things or explore different services might be of interest to you. I know when I worked at ASU I needed to find a project that was of interest to me and benefited the library. I worked in Government Documents. I left there to become a librarian, and soon-after, I become the library director. Talk about having control, I definitely have the ability to try new things and new services.

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  3. I think it helped to talk it out with my supervisor, too. I feel better about everything today, and she is encouraging me to think of projects, or take classes, or find ways to spice things up a little. So, we'll see what happens.

    It goes to show that these annual evaluations can really serve a purpose.

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  4. I don't think it's all you either. But then I may be projecting some of my own issues onto you. :)

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