Sometimes major life changes can feel kind of like a bereavement, and it can take quite some time to get over these changes. Almost two years ago I left a job I loved. Change was in the air, and the organisation was heading in a direction that was not aligned to my own way of thinking. I had thought I could be in this or a similar role until I retired, but the choice to go was my own, and even in hindsight, it was the right choice.
I did grieve for this job though, and in so doing, it impacted on my passion to fully engage with my new role which wasn’t entirely fair to the new organisation or to me. I did try, and I am proud of what I achieved in 18 months there, which is a relatively short time. But my heart wasn’t really in it. Slowly but surely I started to lose the passion for what we as librarians do on a practical day to day level. It broke my heart, as I had spent 10 years of my life studying to achieve these goals, and a number more working my way up to a senior organisational role.
I still have Facebook feeds full of wonderful things that librarians all around the world are doing, and I enjoy keeping up to date with these innovations. I also like keeping up with the latest trends and literature in librarianship through the academic work I do, but do I long to still be an active part of it all? No, not for a minute. It’s taken me a while to realise this though, with lots of hand wringing and wistful glances to the past.
Leadership is something I am still passionate about though, and I read a lot about effective leadership in libraries. Funnily enough, over the years I have seen some appalling leaders in action in libraries, and if I had the energy and the drive, I would do some more work in this area to bring about change which is so desperately needed.
Earlier this week I went to see a former colleague who is also bailing out of libraries after more than 20 years, and sticking things out for two years longer than I did under the new regime. I have seen what these additional years have done to her confidence and to her ability to effectively undertake her role, and it breaks my heart. My advice to her was to not look back with anything other than fondness and to do better than me at letting go of the past. So now I need to take my own advice and move on.
Old friends have been a huge help in this area, and the musical community of which I am a part is like family. As a result, and as a part of my “moving on” strategy I am returning to some part time music teaching in 2019, and I approach this with a sense of renewed excitement and optimism that the bleak days are behind me, and the future is positive.
After two years I can honestly say I am finally moving on. I wish nothing but good things for my former library colleagues, many of whom are and will remain good friends, and may the great work continue, as I know it will. I’ll still be around lurking on the sidelines, continuing with my tertiary work, and keeping up to date with trends and innovations and the great things being done. But I will not be an active part of libraries in the future, and hand on heart I can say that this is ok. I am ok. I’m moving on.