Wednesday, 3 August 2011

C'est la (ma) vie

Everyone has their unique story to tell. Mine is probably no more unique than those of others.
I started my professional life as a research and teaching assistant at Warsaw Agricultural University straight after finishing my MS in one of the departments there and continued in this career for the next 15 years. I hope I was liked and also respected by my students, I achieved some recognition (conferences, publications) and completed my PhD. Nothing to do with librarianship, not very much with libraries either, shame to admit it - places where I rather went to borrow than spend time studying.
Then I had a 10 year break in my professional life, unless being a housewife and mother can be considered as one of the steps in achieving a higher degree in life sciences.
After that, when the children were ready to let go of my skirt, I started thinking more of myself. The first step was to do some computer courses (done), then to find a job. I found one without much effort (those were the days!) however not in my previous subject but as an assistant in one of the Cambridge libraries. Being more precise - in seven of them at the same time (this is how many of the bigger and smaller libraries were then in the colleges within the Cambridge Theological Federation). I had become a library assistant working for just 12.5 hours a day, climbing up on the ladder on the route to librarianship slowly but steadily. During a little over 11 years of working in the same institution, the number of working hours grew to full time, I finished a 2 year course, completed with the certificate of the Level3 Progression Award in Library and Information Services. Then I became a senior library assistant, worked also part time in another library (in one of the University departments, not a theological one at all), participated in a number and variety of training courses, gained lots of new skills and experience under the very professional and friendly eye of my boss, grew to love cataloguing and really being very fond of everything I have been doing in this job.
A few years ago I had become an affiliated member of CILIP and started thinking about further progress. This thinking developed into contacting CILIP and being almost approved as a Chartership candidate. At that point all career progression stopped. My fault only.
Now that my full time post has been reduced I hope I will have more time for all sorts of activities and I really, really would like to do something more about it. Not long ago I participated in a couple of meetings organised by the Career Development Group of CILIP on career progression and building a portfolio. I think I know what to do now, the only hurdle is just to start. I hope that being a part of cpd23 is also a step in the right direction.

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