a brief hello

New job starts today. Am excited and overwhelmed by benefits package options.

Words are coming slowly and not in a very satisfying way. That cold threw me off in more ways than one. My running pace is also crap as can barely get anywhere without wheezing and hacking. (Apologies for TMI).

I have convinced myself that waking up a half hour earlier is a good idea. We’ll see how well this goes.

 

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knowing when to move on

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to move on, professionally, and how to know when it’s time to do so… For me, it was building for a while, but until I saw the job that I will start next month, I wasn’t ready to take the plunge. I wasn’t looking when I applied–not in that desperate way that I did when I was fresh out of college, working two part time jobs and barely making enough money to pay off my bills. That was a hard time and I applied for every opening because I just needed an in. Now, I’ve earned my stripes (or, the requisite 3-5 years experience that employers like to point to in order to turn away fresh candidates). And that may very well be the main motivator behind my decision to leave… I’m ready to move on because there is nothing new to be gained. At this point, I’m just rehashing the same old thing I’ve been doing for the last three years, with the exception of a special project here and there. I like a challenge; when it feels like there’s nothing left to be learned or gained, it’s definitely time to move on.

That said, there are some things I’m going to miss–my coworkers, student workers who always manage to make me laugh, a few extra special professors who granted me the privilege of teaching their students, whether in the use of library resources or general learning trends… there may not be much else to be gained, but I will feel the loss. Nevertheless, I’m really looking forward to getting to know my new colleagues. I really enjoyed the conversations we had during my interview sessions and I saw a level of congeniality among them that put me at ease. I’m also looking forward to being able to work in my area and not having to scramble to meet demands that are outside the scope of my position and the library’s role (a reality that happened more often than not). If knowing that it’s time to leave means knowing there is more to be learned somewhere else, then I’m ready for the learning.

 

the latest… and a progress report

So, dear reader, remember how I was being all vague and shifty? The moment of truth has arrived… For the last few months I was anxiously awaiting news on a job that I applied and interviewed for… and I got it! I wanted to tell everyone at work before posting about the offer, so now I can stop with the cagey antics. 

Can I just say… ain’t no job interview like an academic job interview. The process is harrowing, mind-blowing, nerve-wracking, *insert additional hyperbolic descriptors here*. But really, it is a process like no other. Academics like their folks well-rounded and they’ll stick you in all kinds of social and professional situations to see what you’re really like. Luckily, I’m pretty comfortable talking to people I’ve just met, but it’s still draining after nearly 8 hours of being chatty. Right now, I’m just trying to process all the changes that are coming my way. However, if any library students want to know more about what its like to interview for an academic library position, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I’m happy to divulge.

In other news… my NaNoThon Saturday was completely hijacked by my mother. Just when I was settling in to write–all my notes, floor plans (yes, there are floor plans now), and chapter outlines were spread in their proper order–my mom called as asked if I was ready to go out. Needless to say, my day of writing was at an end. On the bright side, I did need a break and it helped me admit that my rewrite needs rewriting. The ideas were there… but at this point I’m writing for quality not quantity. If I’m going to take this seriously, I have to put in the effort to craft a narrative that satisfies me as a writer and reader… not just toss a bunch of words together to reach a word count. It’s a setback, but better to face it now that the flaws are in sight. The only major drawback–my rewrites are splattered all over the page like some cryptic code. I’ve had to number the pages and draw arrows to tell myself how to read it all. 

November is really kicking my bum

Egads! November has thrown me way off course writing and life-wise. There is just too much stuff happening at once. And I want to do it ALL! I’m trying to avoid spreading myself too thin, but seems unavoidable lately.

Some good things…

  • My gaming day event was a huge success by my standards (small library/campus, more than 50 people equals lots of fun).
  • I totally failed at keeping my New Year’s Resolutions (re: let my hair grow out). I got a pixie cut. I love it. So there.
  • The Book Fair!!!! OMG! BERKS!!!!
  • The WIP is coming together nicely. It’s become more of a rewrite than a revision, but I’m going about it in a different way this time and rewriting scene by scene, rather than doing a full-scale rewrite. Cassiel needed the works (new setting, change of characters, plot, etc.), Anúna just needs to grow into the action.

The not so good…

  • I’m definitely not near my NaNo goal, but I’m no longer aiming for it. I’m back to my original goal of complete 2nd draft by February. I can’t remember how I came up with February… but I think it has something to do with Camp NaNo in April.
  • Commitments, commitments.
  • I need a vacation. I feel it.

accepting that I can’t do everything

I stumbled on The Writer Librarian’s blog a couple of days ago (hurray for Twitter!) and read a fantastic post that she published on trying to have it all and accepting that sometimes you can’t, but you can appreciate what you can have. It made me stop and reflect because I have been trying to have too much. Between work, working out, writing, and juggling “me” time and “Bchan” time, I’m drawing myself far too thin.

I’ve been working on a writing project for far too long but it’s almost at a stage where I can call it a complete first draft. It needs a lot of polishing, but it’s something I told myself I would stick at until I was satisfied. I also gave myself a deadline–I want to finish before NaNoWriMo so I can actually take part this year (as I rambled on about a few posts ago).  I’m not sure this is going to happen quite the way I want it to, but that’s something I have to accept. I’ll do what I can, when I can, and plod along until it’s finished. And I’ll give NaNoWriMo a shot, even if I don’t reach the full word count.

Unfortunately, this goal means giving up some things. Realizing I barely have time to spare (writing this post meant sacrificing reading time), I resolved to un-enroll from a programming course on Coursera. There’s no way I can dedicate an extra 6-8 hours a week on learning a skill that will be fun and challenging, but will just fade into memory when the course ends. Until I decide to go for a full tech-related position, there’s only so much I can do to gain new skills and keep them active. I’ll wait ’til January and take the philosophy course I signed up for instead. It’s the sort of “useless” knowledge that’ll help me with all those philosophy questions freshmen tend to ask.

Tomorrow, I will workout. And I will attend a Hell’s Kitchen finale party (with trifle in tow). Tuesday will be writing day.

Harry Potter is always relevant

Today, my work study students had a lengthy discussion on Harry Potter and, of course, this became a “let’s label everyone we work with according to Harry Potter characters” fest. They determined that I am McGonagall, at which I was somewhat offended by the idea that they were calling me old. They made up for this by explaining that like McGonagall, I am caring but scary when angry. I was satisfied with this response :p

milestones

With all the excitement of the last few weeks (events, work stuff, and writing), I completely forgot that July 1st marked my 1st full year as a professional librarian :). Quite a milestone after so many years of school, part-time jobs, and paraprofessional positions. I remember applying for the position and thinking someone else would surely be more qualified than I for the job, regardless of my desire/drive/eagerness to get started as a real librarian. More awkward still, I had applied where I was working… If I wasn’t hired, it would be weird as anything working with the person who was hired. But I did get the job and I was overjoyed and ready to roll.

It’s been a year filled with learning experiences–many of them time-consuming, but all well worth the effort. I’ve gotten to meet some great people, take part in lots of fun events, and become a presence at the library (I even have my own groupies… some would say stalkers). I’ve also become aware of my weaknesses and things I have to work on. For instance, I really do want to get more involved with faculty and more active in my professional organizations, but these are two areas that will require me to get out of my introvert bubble and be social. It’ll be my goal for this year.

I look forward to more anniversaries and ways to grow.

And since I am in narcissistic me-mode, I may as well announce my new portfolio: gricel-d.net

Why I deserve my office space – a manifesto

My cubby hole is under siege! Or near siege. I have been told that another department is eyeing my office with ill intent. It seems they are seeking to promote one of their own to an office at the cost of someone who already has an office and does not belong to their department–namely, me. I refuse to give up without a fight! I am a vital part of my department and serve the university’s students well by providing all manner of support services – from telling them where to find help for all manner of financial or educational issues related to the university, to providing help with assignments (including but not limited to research, how to write/respond to their assignments, technology and computer help, emotional support and encouragement, and help with all manner of issues and questions that arise).

Here is why I deserve to have an office space of my own (with a door and four walls): 

  • I need a quiet spot to read student theses and dissertations. I provide editing and proofreading for the final stage in the publication process and students in graduate programs requiring these cannot graduate until one of the reference librarians approves the final copy.
  • I also edit articles for the university’s academic journal. This is a process that takes time and requires care in producing a clean copy. The journal is one of the ways the university puts itself in the public eye–I help make it presentable.
  • I need a space in which to write policies, tutorials, manuals, pathfinders, articles, reviews, blog and web content. This is not possible in the middle of the reference area.
  • I maintain and write content for the library’s new website. I need a space in which to focus.
  • I help clean up the library’s records. Any task that requires delving into a library’s main access point for content retrieval (ie – the catalog) necessitates a space where the worker can concentrate.
  • I plan library events, conduct research on trends and happenings that might interest our students and faculty, and identify ways to engage students through interactive programming while working in my office.
  • I conduct research on new materials and resources for the library’s physical and digital collections while in my office.
  • I need a space to meet with students and faculty to discuss their needs – whether this involves content editing for papers, questions of collection development, or just a meeting to talk about school/life/goals.
  • I need an enclosed area in which to attend online conferences and webinars for professional development. I definitely can’t do this in the reference area.
  • Everyone needs a place to unwind and let the creative juices flow. I love my office and produce some of my best ideas in there. Just because no one can hear me does not mean I am not in my office a lot of the time (except when I am working my hours at the Reference desk, meeting with a patron, or working on a project that takes me into the stacks), it just means that I realize I am in a quiet part of the library and comply with our patrons’ need for silence.
  • Sometimes, I even turn up on the weekends to finish working on projects that I could not complete during the week because of distractions. This is why I need a private spot.

I am going on vacation next week, I expect to have an office when I return or there will be a rucus.

This is my library happy place.

in which I take a break

One of my students berated me yesterday when I told him I hadn’t been taking my lunch break lately… actually, it’s been a long time since I’ve managed to take my entire lunch hour on a daily basis, but that’s a long story. He told me I should enjoy my break, eat healthy, and drink hot drinks to stay fit and young. He says this is the Chinese way. So today I decided to take his advice and take my break in its entirety. And enjoy it. And drink hot drinks (though this is not a new addition to my routine as I regularly drink tea through the day). In fact, I decided to head off campus all together and go on a jaunt to the local health food mart for the full healthy, refreshing break experience. And it was good. Simple as that, I had a nice break away from everyone that might call me back to my desk, and I even got to try something new when I bought myself a bottle of Synergy’s Cosmic Cranberry Kombucha (which tastes like champagne to me and was quite a pleasant surprise). I believe I will continue to follow the Chinese way, if in a somewhat unplanned manner.