A place to start

Finding my way back to the world after hiding is a process. And it’s ugly at times.
I’m learning my limits all over again, some changed, some new, and (re)discovering what is healthy and unhealthy for me mentally and/or physically. I’m learning what triggers an anxiety or panic attack, versus what just gives me a headache. I’m also re-learning what I really truly enjoy/love/look forward to doing and what makes me [want to] run away screaming.
A few things I’ve figured out:
1. The current high tree pollen counts? OMGWTFBBQ is this hell?! I’ve never had severe seasonal allergies. When the pollen count gets high, I, like everyone, notice it, but not to any extreme. It’s usually more of an annoyance. Not so this year. My sinuses are making me miserable and I’m stashing tissues in every pocket. How do you people live with this? Asthma’s bad enough; I really hope these allergies are temporary and never clog my sinuses again.
2. I still love metadata, cataloging, and librarianship. I had a nice long debate with a friend over the weekend that cemented for me that I am passionate about my career. I think I needed that confirmation. No, I know I needed that confirmation. The underlying interest is still there, and I don’t have to wonder if being a librarian is something I want or something I just did. I do want it. It is a good fit for me as a career focus.
Now I just have to figure out what kind of direction I want my job/career to go, or the answer “where do you see yourself in x number of years” standard interview question. There are a lot of things I mistook for truths about building my career: you must move into management to climb the ladder; you should do x or y to be successful; to do “q” you must do “l, m, n” first; to be taken seriously you must publish; you have to be involved in specific organizations a, b, and/or c; etc. etc.
I need to forget about all of those “truths” as I move forward. Forcing a direction rather than letting things grow organically is not healthy for me. No matter how much I try, I, the square peg, will never fit in the octagonal hole. I may partially fit, it may even look like I fit, but there will be gaps around the edges. I’ve been trying to make myself fit, because it was expected of me or it was what I “should” do. I was trying to meet everyone’s expectations, stated, implied, or assumed, not just in my personal life, but in my work life as well.
I know. I know. I’m just figuring this out in my early 40s. But in my defense, this is the first time I’ve ever actually stopped and really *looked* at my life since I was trying to pick a college my senior year of high school. I’ve continuously put one foot in front of the other, moving in whatever direction I either faced or was pushed. I majored in Spanish language and literature in college. Why? Because I had to pick something by a deadline and I was told it was best option based on the classes I had taken. Not necessarily my main interest, but the best option when I had to declare something. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Spanish language and literature (Jorge Luis Borges is quite possibly my favorite author ever), but as a hobby. I had planned to minor in Spanish because I enjoyed it, not because I wanted to use it as a foundation for a career. If I had really stopped to think about it, I probably would have ended up in sociology, psychology, or something similar, with a side of history. The parts I liked best of my studies were the intersection of literature and culture, how culture and history was portrayed, cultural development, how people learn, organization of knowledge and culture(s), and anything about development of culture and identity.
I’m not looking for a do-over, I’m looking to understand and to figure out what really draws me. I loved college, but you could not pay me to do it again. Ever.
But I do love being a librarian. Specifically a metadata librarian. How to mesh the practical with the theoretical in terms of making things findable fascinates me to no end. How people look for things, and follow the trail down the rabbit hole of information. Organization, subject analysis, indexing, optimizing data, the “guts” (scripts, programs, etc.) behind the user interface, metadata management, how to make things fit together, all of that. I love it. The hour long conversation I referenced earlier with my colleague was all about how to define a “work” and what that really meant in terms of application in the practical world of data, both in the wide wild world of the web as well as a local database.
I’m a metadata geek.
That’s a good a place as any to start.

About slmcdanold

I’m learning to laugh at myself on a daily basis. I’m a librarian (cataloger) and I love it. My job involves all things metadata related in any and all formats. I have been known to cause a ruckus when necessary (aka troublesome cataloger) and make no apologies for it. I have a passion for continuing education and teaching. I’m a newbie coder (still learning). I like to cook. I’m a fan of rugby (go Australian Wallabies!) and ice hockey (go Detroit Red Wings!). I’m car-free and bike/walk a lot. I’m learning to love running one stride at a time. I own (and love) a very mouthy cat with a punk attitude and a slightly neurotic rescue mutt.
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