Be The Change

What we need is toolkit for dealing with these roadblocks. Some ideas to get us safely started. I want to make change but am so overwhelmed by all that needs to be done in my system, I’ve no clue where or how to start. Maybe for your next post?
Thanks for helping keep me inspired and energized about my career!

Even though I’m thirty-two years old, I’m way behind in terms of emotional development. My childhood and young adulthood were beyond dysfunctional, putting me at a severe disadvantage when it comes to interpersonal relationships. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to feel that I’m somewhat equipped to handle the world in an emotionally appropriate way. This isn’t to say that I have all the answers, but I have learned many lessons, the most important being: you can’t control anyone but yourself. This is true for any relationship you’ll ever have, personal, professional, and everything in between.

So when it comes to putting together a toolkit for being awesome, that’s where you need to start–with yourself.

Take care of yourself.
Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, water, and things to eat that are whole and fresh. Get massages when and if you can afford them, or take a yoga class. If you work at a desk, get up every twenty or thirty minutes and walk around a bit.

Speak up for yourself
If someone’s making you feel uncomfortable, threatened, afraid, or just plain icky, speak out. Be polite, be courteous, but be firm. If you need something to accomplish your job–and make sure it is a genuine need, not just a want–ask for it. Any time you speak up, make sure it is from a place of calm. Don’t be afraid to be passionate, but you don’t want to come across as an emotionally unstable harpy, either. Make sure to document any problematic interactions you have. If things have to progress to official channels, you’re going to want things written down and dated.

Educate yourself
If there’s no professional development money, do the next best thing–converse on twitter, read blogs, or ask your boss if you can go visit other nearby libraries to network and gather ideas.

Make an example of yourself
Be awesome in public. Go above and beyond, even if your coworkers snipe at you and no one in administration seems to care. You’re going to know you’re doing a good job, and when it comes time to make a move somewhere better, you’ll be able to speak passionately and truthfully about how you’ve helped your patrons. If you have tons of ideas you’re unable to implement, blog about them–perhaps someone else will be able to make it happen. While that is really not as satisfying as doing it yourself, at least someone will benefit from your wonderful idea.

Easier said than done, sometimes, but these are some guidelines I try to follow in my own life. What about you? How do you handle soul-sucking workplaces, tiresome red tape, and general unawesomeness?

You must be the change you want to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi
Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 – 1948)
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4 thoughts on “Be The Change

  1. So been there at difficult places where people want to bring you down to their level of ineptitude/inertia. I agree with all your suggestions. I am so grateful for the communities of awesomeness out on the ‘net that sustained me. For me, I have tried to discover or do something new to benefit my patrons, my professional growth or my work in some way. It has saved my work sanity and helped me learn amazing things.

  2. I’m not quite sure how to respond well except that I relate to so many things you said here. And I’m going to agree with Marge, too — I am so grateful for the great network/support systems that the internet has helped connect me to both personally and professionally (often the same thing). I think it’s the “speaking up for yourself” maybe that is the biggest one for me, and like you, it is one of those more emotional lessons that’s HARDER to learn and understand and just…do.

    • Completely, without twitter, etc I’d have imploded several times over the past couple of years.

      It took me so long to be able to speak up for myself, but it’s so worth it. My former response was to stew, fester, and snipe, but letting things out is so much better for everyone. But yes, so difficult to actually do (and I still sometimes fail).

      • It IS worth it, but it’s so daunting. But once you do it, it’s a rush and empowering on an unbelievable level. I mean — I did it when I quit my job cold turkey. Because when I WAS standing up for myself, I still found myself stewing, festering, sniping, and it wasn’t healthy. And yeah, sometimes you fail but it makes you better at it.

        It feels all ~weird~ to think sometimes Twitter is what helps propel you to do the speaking/standing up for yourself, but it’s an incredible sounding board. Sometimes you wonder if it’s you or…it’s really NOT you.

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