Thinking about my career path had me reflecting on some of those people who have helped me on my way.
The first person would have to be my mum- she was a firm believer that education would take you anywhere and you should always strive for the top. And if you want to read between the lines, she nagged incessantly as well :). She was right most of the time, but I will continue to wear black whatever she says.
Wayne was one of my managers at Myer when I was at uni. He was a great guy who had fantastic people skills, despite the fact he was quite shy. I learned a lot from him in how to deal with difficult people and especially how to listen to people’s concerns and complaints. As a manager, he was also quite supportive of his staff in general and my uni studies in particular. He would stick up for his staff (ie me) in the face of criticism from other managers, rather than side with them, which I really respected.
SG, my first boss in libraries. She offered me a 12-month position at the public library I first worked in as a maternity-leave replacement. SG was empathetic with her staff, you always knew where you stood with her, and she gave me the chance to work with experienced librarians and library officers who taught me a lot about librarianship and collections. She also had a great sense of humour. Lastly, she employed Mr BG as a casual, and that was how we met (cue the awww!).
D was a librarian at the same public library. She was a graduate librarian who started about three years after me, and was very bubbly and energetic. As she had graduated three years after I did, she had additional skills in web design and searching. I felt quite dull in comparison to her and very much in a comfortable career rut. She made me realise the importance of continual professional development, and to keep on learning new things and new skills. I did a short course of web design at a local TAFE, built a website for Mr BG’s record label and ended up doing a secondment at the State Library as a result.
JR, who was my next library manager. She championed my secondment to go to the State Library, which had to be approved right up to the CEO of the council.Even though I worked for her for only a couple of months, I really admired her diligence and her willingness to support someone she barely knew.
These people provided me with self-belief, opportunities and chances to prove myself. From them I also learned
- Never sell yourself short
- Never stop learning
- Management is about developing a supportive relationship with your staff so they can develop
- It helps if you have a manager for whom you have respect
- Nice girls do finish first 🙂