I read a librarian’s blog post this morning that posed an interesting dilemma. In essence, the author felt there are not enough networking events for non-drinkers at library conferences. While I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that point, my first response, and my instinct, was “OK, I get what you’re saying (though I think this is a problem in probably every profession), so now do something about it.” Make a Facebook group, create a Twitter, reach out to others who probably also feel this is an awkward problem in our profession and want to find ways to work around it.
This got me into several Monday morning librarian conversations in the back-channel, as Mondays sometimes do. (Ok, that is likely to happen almost every day.) Social media, blogs, and the Internet seem to become havens for people to just bitch and complain. Rinse. Repeat. I feel like that is especially true in my profession, but maybe that’s just because I’m exposed to a larger number of librarians in social media. I get that. I’ve been there. Then, a friend asked me if being the oversharer on the Internet makes someone a bad job candidate in my eyes, and I thought about it.
Here’s my thoughts:
I wouldn’t necessarily think someone who overshares (and even whines) a lot about their job/profession is not a good worker, person, or librarian, in general. But, I would be concerned if it was a constant pattern. For example, if you’ve whined about your horrible working conditions at Library A and then you make a change and get a new job (yay, change!) and then you’re back whining about Library B? Maybe the problem is you. Maybe.
What do you do about the issues you raise? Do you get the librarians of the Internet foaming at the mouth and incite some real change? Do you just put your say out there and then drop it and move on? Are you a solutions person or just a constant bitcher?
Also, we all need to vent and share our thoughts. It’s not healthy to keep it all in. And I totally get that social media is the easy way to do that now. We find our like people, they get us, we bitch together. But here’s my dilemma and maybe I need to think about this more and write again sometime. Oversharing on the Internet is not as much a problem to me as my perception of a growing sense of entitlement in the library profession. Am I the only one seeing this and feeling it?
I’ve never been one to think that I can just drop a thought out there and that the universe will make it so because it’s my right for it to exist that way. If I did, I’d be demanding out loud that all meetings everywhere have a wine bar available. (I kid. )
Maybe we need is a Librarian’s Bill of Rights. What *are* we professionally entitled to across the board? And then, what are the things that would make us more productive, better colleagues, and responsive to our profession in a positive, healthy way? We could make those the agenda items that we want to work on the institute change. (I’m kidding. That sounds dreadfully awful. Maybe we just need to be adults.)
So, in a nutshell, whining and oversharing do not make you a bad anything, but it could paint a picture of you as the Whiny Negative Naysayer of LibraryLand and nobody wants that person around. What you do with your frustrations and the results you can produce or ideas you bring to the table are the things you should be oversharing.
This may all be my own ramblings and not make sense whatsoever. But, whatever, it’s Monday and it’s *my* blog. I can overshare my thoughts if I want to.
The blog post that sparked my thinking today can be found here: http://satifice.com/2014/03/10/been-thinking-about-network-and-a-culture-of-drinking/ (Again, I don’t disagree with this issue at all. I’d love to hear solutions and ways to work towards making more alternative events available if this is really an issue librarians want to be passionate about.)