Thing 5 – Reflecting (or at least trying to)

5 Jun

I have to admit that I have been stewing this Thing in my head for a while, and constantly putting it off because I’ve found it rather hard to get to grips with. Being new to the information world, I am experiencing the rare phenomenon of ‘actually quite liking my job’ – something certainly not to be taken for granted in this day and age.

I graduated in 2009 and spent a couple of years doing temporary work, which is really putting your own fate in the hands of the temping agencies. I had no idea where I’d be working – it could go from shifting boxes in a warehouse one day to creating databases for a start-up company the next. It’s certainly a fun and flexible way of life for a young graduate who has no idea what they want to do (apart from anything it tells you what you DON’T want to do as a job, if not your chosen career path) but I wouldn’t reccomend it as a way of life.

What I’m trying to get at is that before the job I’m doing now, work was just, well, work. It was something I did for money, and if anything profound ever entered my brain whilst doing so, that was a bonus. Now that I am doing a job I enjoy, and want to build a career in, the game has certainly changed. Reflection can, and must, be a part of what I do if I want to develop into some kind of young professional that (at least gives the impression that he) knows what he is doing.

It’s not easy. Any of you who work on library desks will be aware that most of your job is ‘just trying to keep your head above water’. Everything moves so quickly, customers are (rightly) so demanding, the last thing you want to do when you get home is ‘reflect’ and ‘learn’ – certainly for me, the beckoning call of a cold glass of wine and some TV is much more tempting after a draining day on the desk.

But really, reflection is something that really does benefit us. In the first half of my year as Graduate Trainee, I was encouraged to write monthly reviews of my work. Even though all they really wanted was a bullet-point list of what I’d done, I was glad to have the opportunity to develop this to a reflection on how I actually felt about the work I was doing.

My next step is writing a final report for my job – the contract expires after July. It’s something I am quite looking forward to – the chance to give my opinions on the library I work for without any fear of reprocussions. It’s something that could probably benefit all library workers once in a while – the freedom to say what they *actually* think, but there are not many chances to do that if you’ve signed a steady, ongoing contract.

I realise that many of your CPD23 blogs have gone in to detail about exactly how you reflect. I am very new to this concept, so wouldn’t like to give any advice myself, as it would be extremely under-developed. But I did think it would be worth talking about my transition from ‘working for money’ to ‘building on something’ – something I’m sure a lot of young library professionals are experiencing right now.

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