“Streets” meaning my current professional world and “my current professional world” being an academic environment. I thought about it today and I’ve been doing my job for 2 months. (I’ve been in my position for 3, but the first 2 weeks were meeting everyone and getting tours and then I was gone for 2 1/2 weeks in Singapore) I knew that once I started an “adult” job, I wanted this blog to shift towards talking about the dynamic of it all; what I like/don’t like, and what I didn’t expect/what has prepared me and proved useful. Well here’s my first post in that vein: Group Work Means Nothing on the Streets My understanding, and what I touted during my interviews, was:
This is incorrect. I get it’s intent and maybe this definition works in some professional positions, but as a newly minted academic librarian, I was not prepared. Now, one could state that maybe I now have an understanding of the larger framework of it because I participated in group work in library school, but it is not the same.
I am the Online Learning Librarian, which means that I deal with library services at a distance. Because distance education spans across all disciplines and areas of the library, I work with others much of the time.
To say that this is the most fearful phrase to me professionally right now would be an understatement. (I have nightmares about stepping on someone’s toes or talking to the wrong person about the wrong thing.) In class, you are working with your classmates, so if someone needs a little nudge to start making some progress on your project, that’s perfectly plausible. You all got into the class at the same time, went into the project with the same knowledge of what was required, the same timeline, and the same end goal. Period. In the professional scenario, in my scenario, I am the newbie. I have no right to ask someone to do such and such part of my project by this time, so that I can continue to work on it. I just don’t. They probably had a stack of work to do before I came along and that probably takes precedence.
This aspect makes me long for working alone. Not because I don’t like working with others. I am one who enjoys the satisfaction of starting something and finishing it. Enjoy the journey…..blah blah blah, [insert motivational life quote here]. I like a finished product, so the wait is not fun. “The wait” is the time after you’ve handed over the project to another party for them to complete their portion and before you receive the finished product back from them, so you can continue your work. I have between 2-4 ideas/projects that I am working on and they are now in the waiting period. It’s excruciating! It also makes me feel as though I am being unproductive, hence why I’ve been so hard on myself lately.
With a deadline set by someone higher on the food chain (a professor), the gratifying “finishing” comes quickly and when I expect it to…on the due date. Maybe that’s another factor as well, the not knowing when things will be done. I also enjoy schedules.
Anyway, all this to say, if you are ambitious and a persistent worker, be ready. Tips for aiding in the process?:
1. Keep two “to-do” lists; one for long-term collaborative projects and one for quick wins?
2. Just deal with it
3. Keep creating new things to work on until they too end up into the lap of someone else? No!! I’ve confided in a few others on this matter and they dropped a knowledge bomb on me.
For now, I’m just trying to manage it best I can. I want to be accommodating of others, because that’s what the situation calls for, so I need to figure out the best way to handle this. What works best for me? That’s another big thing. It helps to know yourself and your work preferences and styles. That way, instead of being brutish and going around trying to change everyone else, you can figure out what you can handle to change and edit accordingly. This is the best method for everyone.