“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”
- Oscar Wilde (An Ideal Husband)
|Isabel Bloom figures & friends|
(photo by Denise Anton Wright)
The best work-related advice that I ever received came from Dr. Charles Bunge, one of my professors at UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies back in the early 1980s. He advised all of his students that the library world was a very small place and to never "burn our bridges."
At the time I don't think I fully realized what great advice this was. But I put it to good use a few years later. The not-for-profit book jobber where I'd been working as a staff librarian experienced financial reversals and my position was slated to be eliminated. I was given 30 days notice and was expected to write my copy for our spring catalog before I left. It was not a good time for me to be without a job. We had purchased our first house (a fixer-upper) the previous year, my husband had recently left a very stressful full-time teaching gig at a women's prison, and Christmas was coming. Let's face it, I was having a serious "little match girl" moment.
Hurting from the shabby way that I felt I was being treated, I fantasized about leaving my job in a "blaze of glory" - quitting on the spot and telling them what they could do with their catalog. However, the gentle advice of Dr. Bunge drifted back to me. I took the high road, finished out the year, and did a great job on my catalog copy.
Everything worked out for the best. Through connections I'd made by being active in our state library organization, I learned of a temporary position at an academic library and wound up working there for over six years. That position - in turn - led to my next job at a regional library system where - among other things - I had the responsibility of working with that same not-for-profit book jobber in providing continuing education. Had I burned my bridges, it all would have been incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.
What's the best work-related advice that you've ever received? I'm going to post this question on our "Library Administration" Google+ community and see what we can all learn from each other.
Written by Denise Anton Wright, Public Library Development