More directly, a post titled “7 Lessons Learned While Being The Man.” A different perspective on what I was gleaning from my conversation with Jim.
I find it interesting that the blogger was actually hesitant to “be The Man,” i.e. be the one in charge. She was apparently encouraged as such: “You need to do this. We need more public library directors who are tech-savvy, willing to take risks, and who embrace change.” So far, that’s sounding to me like things every librarian I’ve spoken to has advocated for to some extent, not just for directors.
Her seven lessons:
- Budgets will hamstring your dreams: this one does not surprise me in the slightest. Budgetary concerns came up in every interview I had to some extent or another. Financial issues and time issues were among the most common themes.
- Be transparent: “One of the things I have had the hardest time with as a librarian has been the obfuscated decision-making processes that I bore witness to, the closed door meetings, the ‘nobody gets to know this except for us’ mentality,” she wrote. I’d never actually thought about such an issue, but it seems highly logical to me. I’m all for openness and honesty, which is really what this was about.
- Not everyone is going to like you-too bad for them: I know this is why I’d have a hard time being the director of anything. I have a personal problem with conflict, which I’m trying to get over, but I think this is good advice. “If I’m not pissing somebody off at any given time about something, then I’m probably not doing my job very well,” she said. Actually, I think that can apply to anything, even outside of libraries.
- Your job is to make everyone look good: Yes, this I understand. Taking the blame for others and giving others credit while being quiet about your own achievements is pretty standard to me.
- Small details matter: Again, something I understand and think applies not just to directorship.
- You’re always on: A vaguely terrifying truth, but one I understand.
- The days of sleeping well are over: Due largely to stress. And I can see this applying to many aspects of every career as well.