Gosh, didn’t 2014 go quickly! That’s my poor excuse for the pitiful 6 blog posts I managed last year, anyway… Despite setting a professional goal* last January to blog at least once per month, after the first few months I didn’t manage to post anything at all until my new job announcement in August, and then didn’t blog again for the rest of the year.
There’s probably several reasons for this. The first is that, until October, I was working in a job where personal blogging and social media were frowned upon, as was any external professional development, so I struggled to find anything to blog about that I was a) allowed to mention outside of the organisation’s official channels and b) that would be of interest to other librarians. Then from October onwards I was swept up in first starting a new job, and then buying and renovating a new house – which left me with precisely zero free time!
I think I could make a better go of blogging this year. My new workplace is completely supportive of my blogging and my CPD, and I’m learning so much in this new field that I don’t think I’ll struggle again to find things to write about! I did have a brief imposter syndrome-fuelled moment of “but nothing I do now will be of any interest to my followers, I’m just catching up on stuff everybody else already knows, my blog is completely useless now and I should really just delete it”. But then, I stumbled across this blog post from the ever-helpful (and all round super person) Ned Potter, about aiming your professional development output at yourself, a year ago. We are all learning new things all the time, and although I may feel like I’m just rediscovering what is already old news to everyone else, that’s unlikely to actually be the case! If I didn’t know something previously, there are bound to be other people out there who also didn’t know it, and that should be my target audience for these posts.
With that in mind, I’m reusing my new year goal from last year: I will aim to blog at least once per month. I’ve got a couple of topics in mind already (not least, reflecting on my first three months in my new job!) so that should be achievable this year. Overall, I’d like to have a big focus on learning and development in 2015 – that’s something I’ve really missed in the last couple of years, so I’m going to make it count this year.
So I’ve got them set down “officially”, my goals for 2015 are:
- Blog at least once per month – preferably these should be a mix of “here is an interesting thing I’ve learned” and “here are my thoughts on a professional issue”.
- Make some new professional contacts. My networking has taken a real nose dive the last couple of years. I felt very isolated in my old job, being the sole information professional in a non-library organisation. I’m hoping this year I can get to a few more in-person events, such as conferences and TeachMeets, but I also want to make more time for online professional networking, which I’ve been very lazy about recently! I can’t remember the last time I took part in a Twitter library chat, so I’m determined to join in with the next #slatalk or #UKlibchat. I’ve also just signed up for the International Librarians Network, and I’m looking forward to sharing some ideas and thoughts with another librarian from somewhere else in the world.
- Undertake some formal professional development. I’m really itching to learn something new at the moment – it’s been great getting into my new job and learning about the academic sector, and it’s made me realise how much I miss proper, structured learning and development! I’ve been toying with the idea of doing another qualification – perhaps not a PhD just yet, but maybe some kind of teaching qualification. In the meantime, I’m starting a short course through work next week, on the basics of teaching. It’s an eight-week course aimed at postgraduate researchers who are starting to take on teaching responsibilities, so as I’m pretty new to teaching (more of that in my next post!) I thought it’d be useful to do. I’ll probably blog my reflections on the course here, if anyone is interested.
I think those are reasonable goals for this year, and I’m pretty confident I’ll reach them! I’m feeling a lot more positive about my job and my career right now than I have for a long time, so I’m looking forward to having more to share here and on Twitter. Happy New Year everyone!
*I set new year goals for my professional development, rather than resolutions – because a resolution strikes me as too rigid for professional development, which needs to be flexible. A goal is something you can aim for rather than a thing you have to do or not do, and how you reach your goal can change along the way.