My second blog post ever, now over five years old, was entitled, “Finding your voice“. Having not posted here in more than a year, I find I am back at square one, once again trying to find my voice and feeling very much as I did when I began writing but for different reasons.
When I started bringyournoise, I was a newly minted librarian working in a paraprofessional (for lack of a better word–I happen to believe that being a professional is not dependent upon having a degree) position and struggling to give voice to all the brilliant (!) ideas I had and wanted to share with others, both at work and online. I used to write several times each week, but gradually over time as with many things, I lost interest, lost steam and learned so much along the way that I began to realize that what I said or wrote was far less important that what I did. I also realized that I couldn’t share much of what I learned because when one begins to supervise others there is a lot that can’t be shared.
During the past 13 years of my library career, I have made several transitions. I’ve held four different positions in three different settings. I’ve gone from being a cataloging assistant to cataloger to district consultant to Content Services Librarian. Along the way, I have supervised 9 different people. I’ve worked in a public library systems office that was not a library at all; I’ve worked in the administrative section of a public library building where I had little contact with patrons. And now I work in an academic library, where I regularly interact with library users. I’ve worked in different capacities in different environments but there is always one constant–culture.
Workplace culture matters and it is something that has always mattered to me. It is a topic that has dominated the content of this blog. I firmly believe that any employer’s, manager’s supervisor’s, etc., primary responsibility is to empower and advocate for the people for whom they are responsible. I firmly believe that trust is the foundation of any healthy workplace. I firmly believe that openness and transparency are vital to establishing that trust. And I firmly believe that honest and direct communication is key.
I don’t know if workplace culture matters to others, and I don’t know if it should matter so much to me. Perhaps the key is to adapt to whatever culture you find yourself in rather than trying to change it. Culture change is only possible if one can first define the culture that exists and if there is desire to make it different.
I’d really like to know if other librarians out there think about workplace culture. Does it matter? If anyone out there is still listening to bringyournoise and you hear this small sound coming from a long-silent blog, please let me know what you think. It could be that I am barking up the wrong tree.