A recent browse at the public library led me to an interesting read. Laura Dodd talked to her twentysomething peers about their work. What did they love? What did they not love? How did they get the job they have? What is their workplace really like? In 2011, Laura Dodd published her first book, dig this gig : Find Your Dream Job – or Invent it.
I enjoyed the way the stories were grouped into sections, from growth sectors to new twists on traditional industries, such as “Green Gigs – One Earth, Billions of Footprints”. These are stories from the trenches, what is the work environment *really* like. Here’s a video promo from the author.
In the book’s introduction, Dodd mentions two common threads of the stories. #1 It is hard.#2 But it is all worth it. Two other underlying themes of this book resonated with me. Mentors. Failure. The first is often talked about in LIS land, & usually in a positive way, but the second is often ignored, or viewed negatively. Dodd interviewed mentors in the various fields and asked them to share their insights with up & comers? Dodd also includes a section titled Derailed Gigs. It sheds light on what really happens when it all turns to custard. How to recover from redundancy? being fired? being let go?
It’s got me thinking about GLAM jobs. Do we really know what it is like in the workplace trenches? How do new librarians and new professionals know what is out there? For example, at NLS6 a common theme was data, Big Data, messy data, cultural data. Do many of us newbies really know what this might mean for our future careers? How do we find out? How do we learn more about it?
Early on in my librarian career, I approached several senior staff in my then-workplace. I asked if I could buy them a coffee and talk to them about their career path. I was new & enthusiastic, and I wanted to know more about what the future career path might look like for me. So I bought them a coffee and asked some starter questions. How did they get the job that they had? What were the highlights from their career journey? What advice did they have for a newbie like me?
It was incredibly useful, and taught me to listen and reflect. It only cost me time and coffee, and it was really worth it. Some of the jobs that I thought looked interesting from the outside were indeed interesting, but not for me once I found out more about what they actually entailed. Other jobs that I didn’t really know much about seemed much more like what I wanted to do. It was worth being brave (and naive) enough to make contact with them.
There’s plenty of jobs that I want to know more about. Perhaps it is time for me to start asking more questions over coffee to get new ideas, find out what it is really like in the trenches, & what skills I might need to acquire to be better positioned to move into those roles in the future.