Outside of thinking about things like my current projects or what’s in the pipeline for the near future, e-mails that need to be sent or answered and generic everyday stuff like that, there are some things that occupy my thoughts for at least a brief amount of time pretty much every single day that I’m at work.
1. Our Organizational Culture (and How to Improve It)
– I am the Organization Development Specialist after all! 😉
2. How To Engage Our Entire Staff
– Related to that last point, inevitably, any organization will have employees that are not engaged in their work for whatever reason – they’re nearing retirement, they’re frustrated with supervisors or co-workers, the work they’re asked to doesn’t meet their expectations, of what they thought they’d be doing or would like to be doing, they’re dealing with issues outside of the workplace that impact their work. Most of what I read says it’s impossible to reach everyone but, being a bit of a glutton for punishment, I still find myself trying to figure out the magic key that will do this.
3. What Public Libraries Will Look Like in the Future
Not just next year but what will libraries look like in five years? In ten years? In twenty years? (As with trying to engage every single staff member, this may be a futile exercise. Would someone in 1990 have been able to predict the impact of the Internet on libraries? Mobile? The shift to community based service models? Coffee shops?)
4. The Changing Nature of Library Staff
Being in HR, this is something I see regularly – the people who tend to get hired, promoted or whatever aren’t necessarily the same people who would’ve fit these roles in the past. An anecdotal example – I recently heard someone comment about how libraries tend to attract introverted, bookish types in general. Another person replied, “Well, that’s changing – I would say a lot of the people coming out of library school now are a lot more outgoing and extroverted, tech and media savvy than ever before.” And you know? That person was probably right.
5. Management Theory and Differing Management Styles
I’ve often made the joke on my blog that the 25 year old me would probably punch the 37 year old me in the face if he saw how much he was reading on management theory, business books and related topics. (Actually, it was only four short years ago that I was handing in assignments in a Management class at FIMS where Dilbert was my sole citation. I still feel somewhat justified on that though – that prof was *truly* bad.) But now I find there is enormous value in reading a range of books, articles and web sites which either directly or indirectly relate back to management techniques.
6. My Pet Projects
I’ve got a few ideas for potential projects I could do in a wide variety of areas – some have been proposed and are awaiting approval/rejection, some have indication that they can go ahead but at some point in the future, some are in draft stage and need to be put forward and some are still sitting somewhere deep in my brain as little idealings.
7. The Massive Differences Being in A Larger Organization From Everywhere I’ve Worked Before
When I get around to writing about RPL in my ongoing “5 Things I Learned (At Every Place I’ve Ever Worked)” series, probably the first thing will be the massive adjustment I had to make (and still have to make on a regular basis) having previously worked for organizations that tended to have between 3-10 employees (Southeast Regional Library had over 100, 80 of whom I supervised. But given the geographical distances within the region and lack of regular direct contact, that really felt like I only had the 10 or so fellow employees that made up our staffing at the regional HQ.) Sometimes at RPL, with over 200 employees, it’s as simple as realizing I don’t have to take a photo if I need one – we have a Marketing Department to do that; I don’t have to update the web site as we have a web technician to do that; I don’t have to move chairs or transport boxes, we have Physical Plant staff to do that. Coming from a world of “you’re pretty much it so you do whatever needs to be done” has been a real shift for me which, as I said, is something I’m still working on.
8. How Much I Enjoy Interacting With My Co-Workers
I’m not sticking this point in as a kiss-up in case any RPL colleagues read this – I sincerely love that my job gives me the opportunity to have regular interactions and in-depth discussions with staff throughout the entire system and at all levels.
9. How Lucky I Am To Work in A Public Library
Truly, (most days) it doesn’t feel like a job at all – a big sign that you’ve found a good place for yourself!
10. If I End Up Spending My Entire Career at RPL…
…will I be proud of the actions I’ve taken, the projects I’ve completed and the achievements I’ve made?