Look I am no stranger to work blogs and I know that they don’t help you get jobs and no one really reads/cares about them, this sentiment can also be applied to Twitter and LinkedIn, in my experience!
I used to have a blog that was called ‘museumingrid’ and having pretty much given up on a museum/heritage career eight years later, I wonder if this is the first nail in the coffin on any future career in libraries too. My experience is all over the shop. I come out in a cold sweat during that first icebreaker question in a job interview when asked to summarise myself and why I applied to a job. Why? Because for a start my CV is not this logical path from going to uni to where I am today.
Also the minute I feel like my skillset, intentions or ‘career’ aspirations are pigeonholed or defined in any way, I feel a bit trapped. The fact is, I want to do EVERYTHING and I have already given it a good go, but right now I’m doing library and education events stuff in the NHS and I am enjoying it. As such I am currently trying to do CILIP Chartership and have been dragging my heels for 12 months or so and thought if I can go on about it on a blog, I might get it done. Let’s test that theory.
Why CILIP Chartership? I guess firstly I should say why CILIP? I joined CILIP when I started my current post as an Enquiry Services Librarian in June 2016. I was delighted to be the selected candidate when I got the job because I hadn’t worked in libraries for over a year and hadn’t been in health libraries since 2012. I later found out that I was the only person shortlisted who did not have the library masters.
I do have an MA but it is in Museum Studies and when I started my current role I was in no way interested in doing another one. So yes, joining CILIP and doing the Chartership felt like a cheaper alternative when it came to choosing a recognised LIS qualification. Almost two years later and I have been paying my membership and not doing much else, which I do completely own, as it’s my own lack of energy or time, or ability to prioritise over other more exciting things. Mind you ‘working towards Chartership’ is something I can put on job applications without actually being a lie. Anyway when I got this job and was ‘back in the LIS game’ I thought okay ought to join CILIP as I had said in my application that I would.
So far my experience of Chartership is that it seems to require you to pay money to do your own administration to prove you can do what you already do. So far this is my experience anyway. But it’s one of those things that comes up as being ‘desirable’ so I’m jumping through the hoops aren’t I!
I must thank the Northwest branch of CILIP for their informative and hugely valuable training day (? I think I will refer to it as a workshop from now on) I attended at MMU many months ago. The CILIP regional reps were incredibly approachable, friendly and helpful, and made me feel so much more equipped to manage it and put things in the plain language I really needed.
Getting a Chartership Mentor was a frustrating process. The spreadsheet you get access to is pretty cool but in reality, was quite out of date as I awkwardly found out when I emailed people to see if they would be my mentor. Anyway when I attended the aforementioned workshop one of the facilitators recommended a few people they knew might be available and I lucked out with my first choice from that group (an experienced Public Library Manager) as they were able to mentor me and we have been able to meet IRL in a very convenient location which I appreciate because I think meeting in real life is much more motivating for me.
I think the mentor-mentee experience is what you make of it, I have met mine twice but at the end of the day, they aren’t going to make me do this! I have to do it myself.
It took me some time to navigate the VLE and again, attending the training/workshop day at MMU was so helpful. I don’t think I could have got this far without that. I have made my Chartership Portfolio page on the website, which is kind of like a Myspace page in that you can choose different layouts, and sections for bits and pieces.
The PKSB (Professional Knowledge & Skills Base?) was also a bit confusing, but in the workshop it was explained really well which I found much more accessible. There is a Health Library specific one as well which I have been using. I think the best thing was finding out that I don’t have to fill out every single thing in it particularly as there are loads of sections which are simply not relevant to what I do or I personally do not have the wherewithal to worry about them.
For me the best part so far has been annotating my CV and Job Description. I actually really enjoyed doing this and found it easy in that I liked the opportunity to be really analytical about my skills, my experience, and how the job plays out in reality compared to the job description. I am in a job share post which complicates things a bit and means that not every single thing in my JD is something I necessarily deal with. Me and the other member of staff who share my post both have different experiences and strengths so I was recruited for my strengths to make the team as a whole more well-rounded and it’s satisfying to see where I fit in to the team and what elements of the Job Description I found came naturally and other bits I have picked up along the way.
Now I need to be doing my evidence but something about this terrifies me, it feels very daunting even though I have actually done all the things in my day to day role. Writing about them and documenting them feels like a weird, uncomfortable process. Hello reflective writing process!
Anyway that is where I am at. I will try and update at least once a week about what I am doing etc.