This semester I’m gearing up to conduct some usability testing with students on the newest iteration of our library’s website. I have my scenarios, tasks, and questions developed and after speaking with our library director and my colleagues, I’m eager to get started. Although I’ve done other kinds of web-related evaluation in the past, this is the first time I’ve ever led a real usability study. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time.
This website redesign project has sort of taken on a life of its own. I rolled out the first version of the new site in August and have been frantically trying to keep up with all of the necessary tweaks and changes to it. I realized today, after going over the usability game plan, that I never really stopped to appreciate that I’d put out a new website. Rather than give myself a moment to feel proud of completing a major first stage in what will always be an ongoing project, I kept my head down and continued itemizing all of the work yet-to-be-done on the site. All I could focus on were things left unfinished, design elements I wanted to change, coding that needed to be cleaned up, and other aspects of the website with which I was unhappy.
Now, as I’m getting ready to find out what changes continue to need to be made to our library’s website, I regret not giving myself a chance to celebrate my accomplishment. I suspect that this kind of oversight is a function of my personality (self-critical, controlling, high expectations, your classic “Type A”) but I also wonder if librarians and academics in general also suffer from this general tendency to avoid expressing pride in their work or calling attention to major accomplishments. No one wants to be a braggart, but there is something to be said for being kind to yourself, and that includes taking time to share and celebrate a major accomplishment.
There was a piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Advice Section this fall about the doom and gloom that seems to pervade academic life. While reading it, all I could do was draw parallels to librarianship. I’ve written before about my frustration with the horsemen of the library apocalypse, and although I’m not generally a glass-half-full kind of girl, I do think that in general librarians are not very effective at celebrating all the things we do right. If we stopped to compare the amount of time we spend lamenting a class that bombed or the amount of work we have yet to accomplish to the moments that we spend celebrating an amazing instruction session, or a published article, or the completion of a major project, we would find our pie chart looking like a big ol’ slice of negative.
I have to actively work against letting my accomplishments fall by the wayside, but there are a few things that help me do this. I started a “Folder of Awesome” on my laptop which helps me gather material for my tenure file, but also gives me an opportunity to feel good about things that I’ve done. I also love to read and contribute to the Finish it Friday thread on the ALA Think Tank Facebook Group. The whole group is a collection of mind-blowing librarian amazitude, and taking a minute to post something you’ve accomplished is a fantastic feeling. I also write this blog, which gives me a chance to reflect on things I’ve done rather than just continue to react and slog through each day. I’m not always successful, but I am making an honest effort to celebrate the work I do.
How do you make time to celebrate work-related accomplishments?