Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How to Sabotage Your Career

November is a month when I look at my calendar, see an odd yet blissfully uneventful week ahead, and thank my lucky stars. This week began in that fashion, but no sooner did the words take form then a phone call and personal visit changed the landscape of my scheduled obligations. Altered in a good way, but changed none the less. Both commitments are important to me, one a search committee (the personal visit) and the other an accreditation committee (the phone call). I'm flattered, honored, and enjoy being a part of both processes, but both require some deft juggling of responsibility. Talk to any academic librarian this deep into a semester and you will learn this is all part and parcel with a career in librarianship.

So, why am I blogging about this topic instead of the promised ALAO conference session information? My bloglines account gathered an interesting article this afternoon posted on Insider Higher Ed, by Rob Weir titled "How to Sabotage Your Career." It ties in neatly with afore mentioned outside library interests and pays homage to the importance of fulfilling responsibilities.

After aptly describing several instances of career sabotage, one of which I lived through in graduate school (I will never forget the partner who withdrew from class one week before a collaborative assignment was due without fulfilling his obligations to the team), Wier closes with the following:

"But make no mistake: There is an informal and unpublished blacklist, one that emerges from conversations and in professional networking. I have sat with conference planners poring over proposals and heard them say, “She sent a proposal two years ago and never showed up.” I have watched senior colleagues glance at vitas, paper proposals, article submissions, applications, and grant requests, arch their eyebrows, and utter a single fatal word: “No.” I recall a Fulbright project rejected with the words, “not if God Himself commanded it.” If you find yourself running into dead-ends where there should be open doors, you should take stock and contemplate who you’ve dissed and what piles of garbage you’ve left for others to clean up." (Rob Weir, 11/7/06)

It reminds me of a piece of advice I got from my first boss when working retail; Be nice to everyone who comes in the store because you just never know. Common sense and common courtesy go a long way.

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