Lessons Learned One Month into My First Grown-up Job

I’ve been in my new job for a month now and I’ve already learned a lot, so here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:

1. Listen a lot. I often have the urge to interrupt a colleague and try to finish his or her thought to prove how much I know or understand about a current issue or problem. Since starting my job, I have made a conscious effort to slow down and really listen to those around me. This change in my conversation style has led (I hope) to more meaningful and mutually beneficial exchanges and learning opportunities.

2. One month out of my LIS program DOES NOT MEAN I know everything or am better than others. It’s tempting to start a new job and think with the snap of your fingers you can make changes or “fix” things. Taking the time to understand why certain ways of doing things have persisted in the organization make you better prepared to propose changes down the road.

3. Respect your co-workers- especially volunteers and interns. The field of Library Science depends on volunteers, interns and if you work at a university- student workers. These staff members form a crucial part of the workforce. It’s only been a few months since I was an intern, but it’s still hard to remember sometimes what it was like to be in their shoes. Greeting these folks with a smile every morning and a thank you for their hard work goes a long way.

4. Document your work and your ideas. This suggestion isn’t to say that a co-worker will steal your brilliant idea and pass it off as his or her own. Rather, it’s so down the road you can remember why a certain program didn’t work, or what was the theme of that exhibit 3 years back or how that collection backlog looked before you tackled it.

5. Pace yourself. I found the transition from full time student and part time worker to full time employee an exhausting one. The first few weeks I came home ready for bed. I’m told this is normal, so just like Mom says- be sure and get plenty of sleep and take time for yourself during the week and especially on the weekends. If at all possible try and leave work at work and enjoy your downtime.

Stay tuned for upcoming reflections about my first year as a Grown-up Library Science practitioner!

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