Today, 20th August 2010, is the last day of my contract at University of Wolverhampton (last Friday was my final working day). Having begun employment as a Graduate Trainee on 1st September 2005, I worked there for almost 5 years. During that time I had four different contracts, three different bosses, two different job titles, and worked at three different campuses. I worked with some fabulous colleagues, many of whom I am sure I’ll keep in touch with.
I started out in the trainee post, and then worked in a paraprofessional role whilst I was working towards my postgraduate qualification (which I still need to complete the dissertation part of!). I started my first professional post in November 2008, in a traditional subject librarian role. I learnt a lot during my time in each job, and developed many skills essential to my work such as information management, organisation, time management, effective communication, and project management.
Over the last couple of years, I also spent a lot of my free time working on professional activities such as committee work for CILIP, writing articles for publication, and speaking at conferences. I was encouraged by my managers, and by my professional network, to continue to push myself into new challenges. I began to discover my professional interests (although I’m sure these will change throughout my career), and realised that I’m passionate about driving things forward – whether it’s implementing new technologies, adopting new working practices, or investigating the feasibility of new services. I thrive on project based work and love investigating and researching areas to support development of library and information services.
So, armed with the encouragement of my mentors and my network, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for a job as Evidence-based Researcher. My passion must have shown through in my interview, and I start my new job at Birmingham City University on Monday.
The job will be very different; I’ll be involved in research projects for libraries, but I won’t be based in a library. I think I may find it strange at first to make the adjustment, but I know many others who work closely with libraries yet no longer work in one, and I’m sure my professional network will help ensure I don’t lose touch of what’s actually happening in libraries.
My working pattern will change, and I’ll probably be travelling a lot more, but that’s something I’m really looking forward to. The train is one of my favourite places to work so I’m happy to work on the go and I hope to have the technology to enable me to do so. I love attending conference and events, and hope to be able to continue to do so on behalf of my new employers.
I’ve started researching some of the projects I’m going to be working on, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it. I hope to be able to bring some of my current skills in analysis and evaluation, and develop further some of my skills in research and consultancy. I’ve got some ideas of what I’d like to achieve, both on a personal level, and also to support the work of my new department, and I can’t wait to get started!
Something that I think will make the transition easier is the fact that my professional network is unlikely to change very much. My immediate colleagues will obviously change, but I get a lot of information and support from my network (particularly those on Twitter), and I hope to continue to build this network in my new role. I’ll also be able to keep in touch with some of my current work colleagues with similar interests to my own, which I hope will be of mutual benefit to ourselves and our employers. It’s really highlighted to me just how valuable a professional network is.
Bring on the new challenges! 🙂