Did I library good? 

Here we go with the impossibly long-winded blog post. i said i wasn’t really going to write about libraries in this blog, and i’m not. but i think it’s probably my turn to stoke the impostor syndrome fire that was started last week by Kate in a blog post that was so right I could have reblogged with a simple “what she said”. But here are my thoughts on the subject. keep in mind this isn’t just about libraries and being a librarian, but pretty much any role in any industry. but for the sake of experience, most of my personal worries about my ability have indeed been related to being a librarian or working with libraries. Also, I’m not even going near the topic of feeling like an impostor as a female student ina male dominated IT degree: that one can pretty much write itself, hmmmm? 😉

a year ago, in my first year as a librarian, there was a role that was up for grabs at a university, around the hew7-8 mark. my very good friend who happens to be a liaison at another university told me i should go for it, she knew what was involved, and they’d definitely interview me if i wrote a good ksc my immediate response was ‘yeah!’. for a week i worked on it, before eventually deciding not to go through with it. Not because of the ksc; one thing I KNOW I’m good at writing is job applications, so I wasn’t worried about that. i just didn’t think i was good enough or would be able to handle the role.

i did this seven times last year, for jobs that were almost entry level librarian positions. in the end, i applied for two roles: one of which i ended up in the final two (not shabby!!), and the other one which i am very, very happily ensconced in right now. Hells bells, if you think a year of not applying for a higher role was a bit stupid, try waiting a full 8 years in retail limbo land before finally having the guts to go back to uni. It took me that long to believe I was even worthy of being a librarian!?

the liaison role i thought i wasn’t ready for eventually went to someone with a very similar resume and level of experience, which was a huge lesson for me. i should have at the very least tried. i didn’t, because i didn’t believe i was capable of moving up. I’m not saying I would have had a shot, but just genuinely did not think I had the chops. I battled through the whole process of moving to my current role because in the course of 18mths i’d trained myself to believe I was very very lucky to even get into the industry, and I should probably never leave where I was lest the ‘real’ library people realise I don’t actually know what the fk I’m doing.

for me, impostor syndrome doesn’t show a lack of drive, or energy, or assertiveness. I’m very assertive. Most of you who’ve met me KNOW I’m assertive! And I’m driven! VERY driven. i don’t want to play the gender card, but i kind of feel like it’s appropriate here, because i really do believe that women have a tendency to doubt themselves or the sincerity of compliments from others about their work way, waaaaaay more than blokes, simply because we cop some pretty weak stereotypes that I think have actually stuck really hard to a lot not us; we second-guess our strength, we play down our achievements, and we think there is room for improvement. ALL THE TIME. 

it’s overwhelming how out of control it can be, but also, i really really think that it is important to have this sort of battle inside your own head on a lesser scale occasionally to learn and reflect. Kim’s tweet about it sums up what i think about impostor syndrome: questioning oneself and abilities can be just as much about not having ego as it is about having self doubt. (Apologies if I totally misread the quote. Context and sh1t). 

Let me also be really clear about something: ego is healthy. There is nothing wrong with having an ego. I have a big one, it likes to tell me I’m really smart and awesome all the time; I just remain incredibly aware of it, and I refuse to listen to it because with a healthy ego, I think there should also be a bit of healthy doubt. And as awesome as I am, I know stuff from a lot of books and books (I’m sorry to say this) do not hold all the answers. Experience holds many of them, and mine has been short. Hence the doubt and the second guessing about whether I even know enough to comment.

personally, i like research. i have a questioning mind, and i want to know how things work and what people’s reactions to things are. one of the hardest things to let go of when researching something is bias. and for me, bias comes from the same messed up dysfunctional family unit as assumption and ego. ego tells you that your assumptions are correct, bias tells you that anything that doesn’t fit perfectly into your pre-fabricated opinion is incorrect. When it comes to wanting to learn and understand topics that I’m not an expert in (aka everything), I’ve learned to rely on my niggling feelings of self doubt to drive and push away my bias. I can accept that the answer is not what I expected, and I can admit to being wrong. I like listening. I think it makes me a better listener, because I’m more likely to actually take on board alternative processes (like Kim’s approach). 

Where ego and doubt and feeling like an impostor take the very ugly turn in your brain is usually the point where you stop thinking about things from a “maybe I’m wrong because there’s a chance I haven’t researched this correctly” space to a “I’m not worthy, I can’t do it, I am a terrible librarian” place, which is how you end up too scared to apply for higher roles and not stepping forward with legitimate points of view on topics because you don’t think you know enough to contribute. It’s a really difficult, hard distinction to make, and for me, it’s been almost as hard as turning on the bias alert in the first place that I never even realised I had until a researcher pointed it out. With every thing that I say I like and I think I’m good at, there is always, ALWAYS the other voice inside that says “big head. You have a big head. Stop talking. STOP. TALKING”. I’m not sure if guys think the same way. I know plenty that do. Maybe it’s a gender things, maybe it isn’t; I still think it is, but is that bias?? Or doubt, or assumption, or just lack of research? 

I’ve held off on writing and posting this because I feel that as a newbie to the industry, I should probably sit down and let the people at the big table talk. Truth is, I don’t feel like much of a librarian. I don’t have the same experience as others. I’ve never worked a circ shift. I studied alone, so I don’t have a group of people I went to lib school with. Every time I chime in to a discussion on Twitter I wait to get told I’ve misunderstood or I’m wrong. Every single time. 

But I wanted to write and post it too, because I think most of us that have been talking about this don’t even realise we actually ARE at the big table. 

whinesday: renovations

admittedly i’m writing this in a pretty foul temper. and yes, it’s first world problems and at least I own a house blah blah blah. I know. I get it.

we’re at the tail end of our renovations to our late 70s townhouse. I think we’ve got about two weeks left. I’m not sure, because I’ve been saying that for over a month. so in July, I think we’ll actually be done. let’s aim for July.

I’ve heard a lot of stories about home renovations, good and bad. tv shows like The Block and House Rules are driven by the public’s demand for the high stakes drama of bathroom interiors. why anyone would choose to go on national tv and have a meltdown at their partner holding a crowbar is beyond me, but it’s a consistent ratings winner. I don’t watch them but I reckon I could cover the basic synopsis based on the experiences we’ve had so far. here we go:

  • the design process will be the most stressful part of the whole thing. screw the tough manual work, it will be figuring out what type of deep bathtub is going in the world’s tiniest bathroom which will result in lack of sleep and the most hilariously ridiculous arguments you’ll have in your entire relationship;
  • couples always have different ways of approaching things. they will both refuse to do it the other way. they will both insist the other person is wrong. they will find out at the very end that they were both right;
  • builders will not listen or read instructions if they have done something similar (but not exactly the same) before. it will invariably lead to many a ‘do-over’ and many, many new grey hairs for the home-owners who specifically told them that this thing that they think they know how to do is nothing like the things they’ve done before;
  • subbies will not turn up on the day they say they will. no plot spoilers there!
  • women will be patronised for choosing items that ‘look good in a magazine but aren’t real bathrooms’. they will also be ignored when they say ‘it is a real bathroom. it’s from a house listed for sale’;
  • the budget is never enough. it is not even close. triple it.
  • unless it is a brand new house, someone at some stage has thrown the building codes to hell and decided to make it up as they go along. you will have one of the following (if not all):
    • a corner/multiple corners/every single corner in the house that is constructed on angles that never equal 90 degrees;
    • no plans, or incorrect plans (thank you to my council for not enforcing plans and permits until the 1980s);
    • windows not built to code: this sounds stupid, but it’s actually unbelievably important for bathroom windows to be up to scratch.
    • something sinking. ceiling, structure, floor. it could be all of them.
    • dodgy insulation/asbestos.
    • dodgy plumbing. always fun to work with.
    • electricty and wiring that may at some stage cause a fire or a death in the house. we had live light switches; we know friends who had ungrounded electricity. fun stuff!

complaining aside, we’ve had fantastic builders and subbies who have done an amazing job with a polished turd of a townhouse. i love my house, but i think there may be some issues with the existing structure and wiring, as our doorbell randomly goes off when no one is at the door….

… and we don’t even have a doorbell.

what-did-you-just-say

meme tuesday – layering your thoughts

thanks fi for this meme, which i’m finding particularly difficult to answer! i think i have a thick layer of sarcasm and cynicism built into my onion which needs to be surgically removed.

LAYER ONE: THE OUTSIDE

  1. What’s your preferred name? Katie. It’s my real name. I’m not a Katherine or a Kate/Kaitlyn. I get called Kate by family except my mum (even though no one thinks I have a nickname as such), and Kat by my sister, but I actually am just Katie, and it’s what I prefer 🙂
  2. Do you wear glasses? No. I have them, but I don’t need them. They’re for refocusing my eyes if I’m doing lots of teeny tiny coding stuff and I wore them more in administration roles with weird handwriting to decipher.
  3. How would you describe your fashion style? “cracked out nanna”. not what i’m going for usually but it’s what i end up with.

LAYER TWO: THE INSIDE

  1. What do you fear? i’m not great with flying. i’m pretty fking terrible with flying to be honest. i also do not like ladders or staircases (there’s a ‘falling’ theme here, can you tell?)
  2. What is your guilty pleasure? gossip. see previous post about my not so guilty gossip habit. I also like to eat the occasional sausage roll and then torture myself for the rest of the day.

LAYER THREE: YOUR THOUGHTS

  1. What was your first thought when you woke up today? “Do I still have a headache?”. Answer: Yes.
  2. What you think about most? i have absolutely no idea. seriously. it’s just random thoughts, probably about work, and possible research topics, and whether i’m doing something right, what i need to do to complete something, family stuff, the cats, the weather….. too much stuff. none of it particularly relevant, important, or life changing.

LAYER FOUR: WHAT’S BETTER?

  1. To be loved or respected? respected. ‘let them hate me so long as they fear me’ :-p loved is good too!
  2. Dogs or cats? cats, however if a greyhound or whippet came up in a game of Top Trumps, I think they’d beat the cat. I can’t tell you how much i love greyhounds (possibly more than cats).

LAYER FIVE: BELIEF

  1. Believe in yourself? yes, with a constant, healthy diet of ‘get over yourself’, “are you really sure?”, “you know nothing”, and “you are NOT an expert, better check your facts first” chucked in for good measure. always room for improvement, not enough room for assumption.
  2. Believe in love? what he said: 

LAYER SIX: YOUR TALENTS

  1. Do you play a musical instrument? clarinet. not very well anymore.
  2. Do you enjoy cooking? i will in a week when i have a decent oven/stove top for the first time in 3 years.
  3. Are you any good at gardening? I can kill airplants.

LAYER SEVEN: YOUR FAVOURITES

  1. Favourite animal? badgers. i’ve never seen one, but i loves them! 
  2. Favourite movie? NULL (i have no favourites)
  3. Favourite book? NULL (no favourite book either).

LAYER EIGHT: AGE

  1. How old are you? mid thirties.
  2. Does age matter? only when needing a justification for device upgrades 🙂

ugly crochet update

I thought I’d share some piccies of the ugly crochet I mentioned in meme tuesday. here is the cushion cover I’m working on while watch vampire diaries courtesy of Netflix: 

  
    

it was made out of scraps from the loosely termed “scrappy” blanket, which ended up actually increasing my stash by about 20 balls of wool when I realised I needed waaaaaay more colour options than I had available! 
  

and these are the two blanket thieves that claimed it as soon as it was finished!