There is No Secret

Hello, dear readers. I hope you are all well. I wanted to share a bit of a different post today than my usual tech, library, and archives related findings from around the web. Today I want to let you in on a secret of success; there is no secret. I feel the need to elaborate on this a bit after another year of teaching and also talking with undergraduates, graduate students, recent graduates, and early career librarians. There is no secret, only intelligent, efficient hours of work that create success. And I promise to only stand on my soapbox for a little while and leave you with something fun at the end.

Now we could talk about nepotism or how favoritism undermines a true meritocracy, but I don’t want to. Life isn’t fair and sometimes people get to ride on other’s coat-tails or seemingly get all the luck with finding jobs or being successful. But I believe the majority of people in our professions, speaking specifically about libraries and archives because they are what I know best, become successful because of hard work, grit, and an ability to see past the day-to-day grind and use what they are doing today to create the opportunities for growth in the coming years. Not to mention they have these two qualities in spades: a simple recipe: empathy and generosity.

I think that sometimes people have the false assumption that they have to be mean or unkind to get ahead at work, but I don’t believe that is necessary. It hasn’t been the case in my career thus far. Showing genuine empathy for others, being generous with sharing expertise and sharing the workload for getting things done at my work have helped me far more than being negative and unwilling to help out when needed. Being generous and kind almost assuredly makes me a more pleasant person to be around as well.

Also, putting your head down and getting work done that is important for the entire department is integral to success. You can’t just do the flashy projects, and you probably won’t get much chance to do the flashy projects, if you don’t first show that you can be counted on to get the work done that keeps the department moving along. I do a lot of scheduling and coordinating for our teaching program that isn’t flashy work, but it is incredibly important work so we can serve our students and make sure they get the classes they need. Follow-through is a key ingredient to success and that takes time and commitment.

This year has been a great year so far, with lots of long-term projects finally coming to fruition, which has been lovely. But none of it would have been possible without years of hard work and persistence for my long-term goals.

So basically what I’m trying to say is keep doing your work, keep helping others, and do make sure to tell people about what you are doing sometimes, too (while hard work will eventually get noticed, you do need to let your supervisors know what you are doing, too). It’s not an overnight way to success, but it is a lasting way to build success.

And for fun, check out this lovely TARDIS Easter Egg courtesy of Google Maps via Gizmodo.

Have a wonderful weekend! Allons-y!