Friday, March 28, 2008

Hike up your boobs career advice

The Brazen Careerist does it again: suggesting that we take career lessons from Eliot Spitzer's call girl, Ashely Dupre. I have a love/hate relationship with the Brazen Careerist: some of her advice is just plain common sense and some of her wise pearls are barely fit for swine. Usually, this is when she veers into life coaching, as opposed to career coaching, and suggests that we get a bra with better support instead of a strong support network.

Yes, this young boobalicious girl made lots of money--possibly lying about her family life, sleeping with men and posting some songs on her MySpace page, like an American Idol wannabee--but should we take career lessons from a naive young person who appears to have "pillowy" as her only career skill? (If she did a version of If I only had a brain, I swear I would download it). And we are supposed to take a page from the book of someone who her mother described in the NYT as: "...a very bright girl who can handle someone like the governor...But she also is a 22-year-old, not a 32-year-old or a 42-year-old, and she obviously got involved in something much larger than her.” I admire the very bright part, but not the swept away, chewed up and spit out part.

Since Ms Dupre is probably the only one who will come out, money-wise, better than she was when she started, perhaps we could take advice from her. That is, if our lives were all about money.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who's Your City?

Relocation may be one of your work search options, but where should you live? Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class, has just written a new book, Who's Your City?. According to reviews (because my own copy is still in the mail) certain cities facilitate certain lifestyles and careers. On his website for the book, there is a cool little tool called Place Finder that you can use to find out if you should stay where you are or move to the new city (or four) that you can play with on the scale and answer different questions about. Obviously, if you have lived in a certain city you can make better guesses about the cultural life or your ability to "be yourself" and natural beauty may mean nothing to you since library stacks are the only fauna librarians need.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Row together

Have you ever been a member of a team that failed to complete a project or finish the task? Could you describe why the team failed to meet its goals and what you would do differently in the future?

Yes, you can use a classroom experience for this question but do you really want to confess that you failed cataloging in the middle of your interview for a metadata librarian position?

Begin by explaining a bit about what the project was and the goals for the project. Who was the audience? Was there a deadline? Did you have a budget? The criteria for the project will help you explain the failure: what broke down?

Projects usually fail for either time or money reasons, and with both, a larger failure. Once you have explained the project and decided why it failed, explain the situation but it should sound as though lightning struck, or take responsibility for a minor complication. People blow this question by:
  • Suggesting that co-worker incompetence led to the failure. You don't look like a team player, nor do you look smart enough to tell people to stop rowing on the same side at the same time.
  • You were WAY, WAY over-budget. Math much? Sometimes, costs are really outside of our control, but managers have to trim the fat on items. Why did your project need two demonstration laptops instead of one, especially if only one presenter traveled?
  • Your project is still not finished and it's REALLY late. A project is not a failure until it is done and you can measure the results. There are few projects that are never-ending (How to Deal with Resource Challenges in a Library), or cyclical (How to Use RefWorks) or finite (Instructions on How to Use the Catalog). What type of project are you describing and is it really done?
  • No one used it. Some projects fail because they aren't used (you thought it was a great idea, but...) and you can't find this out without promotion or evaluation. Failures in promotion are good examples about what you learned about increasing your user base, a concern at every type of library or for every type of librarian.
Remember those rules above and explain how the problem--just one is fine, don't sound like the sky fell--was resolved, or explain, hypothetically, how this experience changed your ideas about project management.