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Archive for July 15th, 2008

I have a friend who’s going through some tough family stuff right now. I wish that there was something I could say to help or something I could do to make things better. Because she’s been there for me many times when I’ve needed it. For now, I’m just offering support and listening.

I also continued in my growing process today by asking for some help and not getting stressed out. I’ve got a few things that have to be taken care of by the end of the week, partly because of vacation and partly just because that’s how it is. So, I asked for a day off the desk to concentrate on what I need to do. Turns out I’ve gained a bit of time tomorrow since a meeting was canceled, so with that and a mostly free Thursday (except for a department meeting in the morning) to work on some things. That way Friday will be all about finishing touches.

I’ve honestly not been knitting much this week yet. I started another bathmat (that will actually be a bathmat this time around.)

And now for a couple of pictures. The first is the baking I did a couple of weekends ago. The rolls were a bit odd tasting. I think I need some new flour. Actually I know I do because the chocolate cashew bars had the same odd flavor. They also didn’t hold together as well as I could have like so I think they needed to be in the oven a bit longer.

The second picture shows my new hair. The cut is pretty similar to what I’ve been doing for the past few months, although this time I had a stylist who actually did it really well. (Too bad she’s moving to St. Louis. It was her last day.) But I went crazy and bought one of those fun highlighting kits, so my hair now has purplish/red tips. I don’t care that I’m 36, I wanted to try something different. Excuse the fact that I’m generally not photogenic.

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Nothing fancy today because Tuesdays in the summer look a lot like Mondays. Still working on weeding, gift books, working the reference desk, etc. No meetings today. Like I said, the usual grind…that’s not really a grind because I like my job and the work that I get to do.

I sat down last night and read The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Not a particularly inspiring title, but it was really insightful and interesting. The basic idea is that there are three things that managers can do to make people happy with their work. First, help employees find ways to measure what they do. This is really a simple concept and doesn’t involve big lofty goals. For example, for a reference librarian, it could be something as simple as counting the number of questions that we are able to answer correctly in a day. The second concept is helping employees realize why they are relevant in the workplace. Every person makes a difference to someone somehow. And it’s important for employees to know who and how. Managers can help them see this. Easy, right? The third concept is making sure employees don’t feel anonymous. It means that managers need to get to know their employees as more than just the people who do the work around the place.

I’m not a manager right now, but there were still some really good principles that I can apply to how I approach my job. I do try to find out things about the people I work most closely with. Not because I’m nosy, but because I do want people to feel that they are important.

As to measurable stuff, my to-do list is good for that. It gives me satisfaction when I’ve made it through most of the things in a day. No big lofty goals on it, just stuff that I want to make sure I work on each day. Actually that’s why I like using Remember the Milk. There are projects that I’m working on that I set up to recur daily, a few times a week, once a week…whatever I need. But maybe I’ll start keeping track of other things, like how many smiles I can coax out of people when I’m working the desk.

The relevance thing is a bit harder to do on your own because it really requires some support and feedback from other people. I’m not the type who goes digging for compliments, but if I’m not getting feedback, these days I’ll ask for it. I know that what I do is helpful to other people, patrons and co-workers both, but I do check in occasionally to make sure that I’m on the right track. And I try to make sure that I let other people know how they are relevant to me.

There are times in the past year when I’ve really wanted to give-up. I’m glad that I didn’t cut and run because I’ve learned a lot and have come out stronger. I’m invested in making things better and working through the tough stuff. I realized this last night when I picked up the book, one of many I’ve read recently about management, employees, leadership, and other things that will help improve my workplace. Somewhere I turned a corner. It feels good.

A final thought for today relates to customer service. When I got my usual Monday coffee at the shop that’s most convenient on my commute, I saw a sign announcing that they would be going out of business yesterday. Although I was disappointed because this is truly the only drive through place on the way, I wasn’t all that surprised. See, I don’t think they ever really understood some of the principles of good customer service. (I will say that there were some other things working against them as well in terms of development in the area not happening on schedule.) The woman that always seemed to be there when I drove up on Mondays had a personality as flat and bland as a pancake. She never smiled and made you feel like she was doing you a favor to serve you. Yeah. One of the main reasons I like going to Starbuck’s here in LittleUtown (beside the convenience of the drive-up window) is the fact that baristas are always smiling, chatty, and pleasant. I know they aren’t just waiting around for me to drive by and get an over-priced cup of coffee, but they certainly make me feel that way. My point is that attitude can really make a huge difference in how successful a business (or a library) is. Guess I’ll have to start making my own coffee on Monday mornings.


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July 2008
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Upcoming

Mar. 10 - Photography Class

Mar. 11 - Quad Cities SnB

Mar. 12 - Lincoln Reenactor performance at BHE

Mar. 13 - Annual budget due

Mar. 14 - SnB trip to Galena

Mar. 16-21 - Spring Break

Mar. 16-18 - On the Front Lines library conference in Springfield

Mar. 19-22 - In Kansas

Mar. 23 - Orientation in Quad Cities

Mar. 24 - Photography Class

Mar. 26 - Spring Break for Academic Librarians workshop in Peoria

Mar. 27 - Supervisor Development in Quad Cities

Apr. 2 - Using Social Technologies in Library Instruction workshop

Apr. 6 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 6 - My birthday

Apr. 7 - Photography Class

Apr. 9-12 - In Kansas

Apr. 10 - College Closed

Apr. 12 - Easter

Apr. 13-19 - National Library Week

Apr. 13 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 14 - Photography Class

Apr. 16 - Evening Instruction Session

Apr. 17 - Information Literacy Summit

Apr. 18 - A Day of Books and Quilts at Toulon Public Library

Apr. 20 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 21 - Photography Class

Apr. 22 - Renegade Reference meeting in Bloomington

Apr. 23 - Illinois Library Day

Apr. 24 - Quarterly Supervisors Meeting

Apr. 27 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 28 - Photography Class

Apr. 29 - Supervisor Training in Quad Cities

May 5 - Photography Class

May 12 - National Library Legislative Day

May 25 - Memorial Day - College Closed

June 4 - RSA Users' Group meeting in Peoria

June 6 - SIL's birthday June 6 - Brother and SIL Anniversary

June 8 - Nancy Pearl at Bradley University

June 13 - WWKIP train trip to St. Louis

July 3 - Holiday - College Closed

July 4 - Independence Day

July 10 - Mom's Birthday

July 10-15 - ALA Annual Conference in Chicago

July 17-19 - Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, IL

July 31 - 10th Anniversary

Sept. 7 - Labor Day, College closed

Oct. 6-9 - Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Peoria

Nov. 23 - Brother's birthday

Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving Day, College closed

Nov. 27 - College Closed

Dec. 7 - MIL's birthday

Dec. 18 - DH's birthday

Dec. 25 - Christmas Day

Dec. 26 - Dad's birthday

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