LIS professional community professional identity

What’s in a name?

Why is ‘Flight Path’ called, well, Flight Path? Some will already know the answer to this question. Those who are relatively new to following my blog, Flight Path may not. So where did the name come from?

I started Flight Path four years ago now. (Wow! *happy dance*) I had completed my first year of the LIS Masters program at QUT and having played around in the sandpit of social technologies in the second half of the previous year, I thought I’d have a crack and venture into the world of blogging. I started this blog because I wanted to learn how to do it – setting up a blog, committing to a writing schedule (ish), putting the word out there that I’ve shared my thoughts. It helped that I had newly developed an ability or okay, my fear lessened somewhat, to learn as I go and learn though experimenting and play….out there, in the open.

But I needed a reason to write. I thought I had nothing useful to say or share. I was a complete newbie to the online professional conversation and community. What value could I possibly add to discussion? Thankfully, I was given a confidence boost from the same lecturer who provided the sandpit the previous semester. It’s no secret who that lecturer was – Kate Davis. Kate encouraged me to submit to NLS5 at the beginning of 2011. Then so my blog became both a platform and data gathering tool for my project which looked into how newbies like me can develop their personal learning networks (PLNs).

Now that’s a bit of background into the beginnings of Flight Path and blogging, but what about the name?

Well, at the time of setting up Flight Path I was working in the aviation industry as a Technical Librarian. My role was to manage and maintain a collection of technical manuals and data that was used by engineers to schedule and undertake maintenance tasks on the aircraft fleet. Aviation is an exciting industry, by the way. I fell in love with the beauty that is an aircraft. Really, they’re magnificent pieces of machinery. An engineering marvel. And so, put this together with my starting out in the profession and you have a newbie information professional finding their way. Here’s my first blog post 🙂

All I knew at this stage was that there was (and still is!) so much cool stuff out there as an information professional to discover, explore, learn about and play with. Where to start?! Before I could embark on the runway, I needed a few things on board, like agility, an open mind, perseverance and a toolbox of apps, gadgets and a couple of social media accounts (Personal Learning Environment or PLE) that would help me in (career) flight.

Flight Path is about navigation. Navigating a career among all the possibilities of information professions. Flight Path is about being attuned to what is happening and the blog is my space for thoughts and sharing information and experiences. Reflection aids like a GPS, checking every now and then how I’m going and what is drawing my attention and interest, so I can navigate my career steps and develop myself as a professional in a more informed way.

The name ‘Flight Path’ is still relevant to me now as it was four years ago. Except now I’m not so new and hope my stories and tips help others take off from the runway in their careers. For me, ‘Flight Path’ is my navigational tool – should I go this way and why; should I go that way instead? Am I challenging the status quo? Am I on to something? What am I finding as my professional interests now? In two years time? What drives me?

To those new to the profession, I encourage you to start a blog. Grab a little space on the internet for your own and start documenting your path. You will benefit yourself as well as others and contribute to professional discussion. Start with something you’re interested in. Read about it. Share it. Share some ‘must reads’ on the topic. Share an experience. What is it like interviewing for a library or information service position these days? What are you learning in your course? To know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve come from. Blogging and reflection are ways to understand where you’re at and over time you can look back at any patterns to make informed career choices.

I may be ‘in flight’ but I’m still ascending, not cruising at optimum altitude just yet. I may still take a turn or two before that time too. My ‘flight path’ may be different to what I had originally envisioned, but with my toolbox, communications and GPS, I should make the most of it.

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