Thursday, April 25, 2024

Back Back Back again

 Way back on April 1st, I made my way back to Wiley.  When I left Wiley College, now Wiley University, despite all of the good work I knew I had done, I felt a bit like a failure.  I had worked so hard and now I was so tired.  I think a part of me thought that a good leader wouldn't have been so exhausted that they left.  I know now that isn't true but that was how I felt.  I loved Wiley and loved the team I was working with but I was so tired.

On top of being tired, I think I was searching for confirmation that the library was still my place.  I had been doing so much administrative duties that despite being the Director of Library Services, I didn't get to library much.  Part of that was also a lack of actual skill on my part.  I am a great educator, researcher, and librarian but my technical skills were rusty and really needed to be honed.  In the world of library technology I was about 10 years behind and while I knew I could make it work and stay on at Wiley one of the things I learned at Wiley was a love for HBCUs.  So what is the connection?  Well, I kept seeing that HBCUs (but as it turns out most colleges period) suffer from people staying in place too long.  I am a good librarian, better now for having gone to Panola, but in order to provide the best library service, I needed to grow my skill set.  So I found a mentor who was willing to teach me the latest in library technologies in the back-of-house area (technical services).  While I'm sure he would have mentored me without me joining him at Panola, I knew I needed to be somewhere different to try and feel less tired so I left Marshall and headed down to Carthage.

I learned so much at Panola.  My boss was a good mentor.  His leadership style was also very different from my own so I could see a different type of leadership in action.  I was lucky that I had another good boss to work with and another boss that I hated to leave but leave I did and returned to Wiley.

Before I completely gloss over my time at Panola; I really did learn a lot not only about being a librarian but about me as a person and leader.  I learned I don't like having time to myself.  I really like having a project to work on.  I learned I missed being a decision-maker at the big table.  I started my yoga teacher certification, which I had been wanting to do for years.  I learned that I wanted to be back in administration.  I learned that I want to be excellent and that for me being okay was not enough to keep me motivated.

So I'm back at Wiley.  While I think some would look at my time at Panola as a step backward, going from director to just librarian, I know they are wrong.  In order for an arrow to launch; it has to be pulled backward.  Right now, in my career, I have been launched forward.  I'm working hard. I feel behind.  I love it.