A few weeks ago I came to the realization that I was not actively learning anything new. I’ve been at my job for almost twenty months. The first twelve months were mostly spent cleaning up data and procedures left in disarray by my retiring predecessor. The six months that followed were spent training my colleague and supervisee, a librarian hired to her first professional position. Learning to train and learning through training were very rewarding experiences, but after six months my colleague knew many of the ropes and didn’t require as much active instruction.
At the end of my first eighteen months, I had a “what now” series of moments. I felt I had taken on all of the projects I could reasonably complete on my own without involving a cadre of other stakeholders, as well as a few projects that needed many “okays” to progress further. I am employed at a non-profit where everyone works very hard and is stretched very thin. Collaboration is supported, but projects understandably have the tendency to move at a glacier pace when many people are involved. At a certain point, moving at breakneck speed through a series of projects just isn’t feasible. Attempting to force change and movement works in some cases but ultimately leads to frustration and lays some pretty great groundwork on the road to burnout.
So, what’s next?
It is time to for me to become excited about learning something new. In my previous position, the technical aspects of my job were far and away my favorites. I obsessed over learning the digital asset management system I used, gleefully figuring out how to take full advantage of the parameters of the software to accomplish the most amount of work in a semi-automated fashion. Unfortunately, my current position doesn’t have any dedicated systems or development time.
I’ve decided to make time.
After polling and interviewing a variety of friends and acquaintances in the tech industry and related fields, I’m striking out to increase my knowledge of technology and computer languages. I have a few projects in mind as I move forward, and a tentative roadmap to follow. (Projects post to come…)
One of my friends suggested to me that I start keeping a blog right away to track my progress. In a way, that felt a little silly. Does anyone want to hear about how I have to unlearn everything I’ve taught myself about simple coding over the past fifteen or so years? Shouldn’t I wait to talk about this until I am building grand websites, enviable apps, or managing robust data sets?
Even with that fear hunched at the back of my mind, I think he’s right. Perhaps I shouldn’t think of this as a tech blog, but as a journal.
With much trepidation and even more excitement, I’m ready to start.