Always “on”


At the moment I’m taking a break from going in circles, round and round in my head trying to articulate what it is I’m trying to describe in my findings and linking them to existing literature. So, this calls for a blog post! Thank goodness for #blogjune, hey?

Last week I attended (and presented at) RAILS in Melbourne on recreation/ annual leave from my job. This was my choice. So I was a member of the audience just for me, right? Nah!

Throughout the day, I couldn’t help but pay closer attention to the presentations that were relevant to my role, my developing professional knowledge and what I could potentially share with colleagues. I thought about how the presentations could be applied to the context of archives and the role my workplace might have in some of the subject matter that was presented. For example, there was a presentation about big data and this was particularly relevant to what is currently happening in the workplace context and identified as what is needed to be kept on top of. While most of the presentations at RAILS related to academic libraries (yawn – seriously, academic libraries are not the centre of the library and information universe and is not the only area for research), I could still pick out a thing or two that linked back to my workplace context and the services it delivers.

This isn’t the only time I’ve caught myself keeping an eye out for things related to what could inform how I do my job or what might be coming up for my workplace. Boxing Day last year I was reading the paper and an article caught my eye. I emailed a note back to my work inbox. Seriously?! I can’t pick up a newspaper nowadays just for the pure enjoyment of reading the news. I’m constantly relating relevant things back to my work.

I don’t think this is particularly a bad thing. While my participation in professional development activities isn’t just for me, I am benefiting from the sort of reflective practice going on in my head as I place what I read the news, a blog post or listening to a presentation into my workplace context. I’m also interested in the some of the things my workplace is concerned with. So really, this is a win-win. I’m keen to be better informed in my job and so my workplace benefits because of this. Professional development activities have gone from ‘What knowledge can I take away from this activity as a new information professional?’ to ‘What can I learn that will better inform my work and my contribution to my workplace or profession?’ It’s not just about building my own self and knowledge, but this reflective practice has almost shifted to applying new knowledge and insight to my work and context. Does this move me from being a student, a sponge for all knowledge I can lay my hands on,  to being a professional who takes relevant bits and pieces to fill gaps?

Food for thought. Hmmm…I’d be interested to ‘hear’ thoughts from others.

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  1. I agree, even if I am from the “academic yawn” sector 🙂 I’m challenged to be myself in all my ciricles be it work, home, church, biking & often find aspects to pass on between the ciricles. e.g. some of my #blogjune posts cross the ciricles and are relevant to variant areas.

    1. Please don’t get me wrong, I may like to work in the academic sector some day. But it’s not the only area of librarianship or area to do research for the profession. I have similar experiences with crossover between the many areas of my life. Some lessons can be applied in more than one area. 🙂

  2. This is so me too – took annual leave to come to Sydney for Jean Arnot… Used a full day Sunday at a conference workshop, unpaid… *sigh* learning is great, but sometimes you wish the “above and beyond” stuff was compensated.

    1. Thanks for your comment Freya. I actually don’t mind taking annual leave to explore and undertake professional development activities. Yes, my employer has a role, but so do I. The point I was making is that even though I may participate in activities on my own time, I find my mind wanders back to how I can apply what I learn to my work. The “above and beyond” stuff is a choice to me, anything that might be compensated is a bonus. I don’t have this sort of expectation.

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