Magazine article American Libraries

Working Knowledge: What Are You Waiting For?

Magazine article American Libraries

Working Knowledge: What Are You Waiting For?

Article excerpt

Is this you? You used to love presenting storytime, or perhaps bibliographic instruction, but you no longer carry out the duty because of a change in circumstance or leadership. But now that time has passed, your library once again needs someone to perform this task. You:

a) wait for your boss to ask if you will do it--after all, if he wants you to, he will ask;

b) approach your manager and offer to do it, because you have the skill and the desire. Which action is the one you would be most likely to take?

A few columns ago, we explored "making the ask" as it related to salaries (AL, Sept., p. 75). As you surely have surmised, the asking refers to more than just money. Managers and coworkers are not mind readers, and what seems obvious to you is not necessarily obvious to them. Make your intentions clear.

I once was very interested in outreach. I began adding outreach activities to my regular duties, and suggested ways to expand these undertakings into a position. Eventually my employer created such a role. I was working very hard to prove I could do the job, but someone else actually applied for and got it! I was hurt and surprised, and spoke to my supervisor. She said she had wondered why I had never asked for the job, in spite of all my efforts to help create the position and demonstrate my ability to fill the role. I was stunned, but I really learned my lesson.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Do you operate as though an all-seeing, all-knowing, and benevolent manager is wise enough to know what is best for the organization and all its employees? I have not yet found such a person, even among those with the very best intentions.

As in the film The Poseidon Adventure, two philosophies are in play: Use the tools at hand to do your best to save yourself, or wait patiently for a rescue. Each can have its place in our lives. The workplace, however, is comprised of human beings who have not yet perfected the art of telepathy. …

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