Work and play


Just when I was feeling frustrated by the fact that I’m in a team with only two people (me being one of the two) and having no one else to talk to at work, I began meeting someone who works in a different area, who gave me something to engage in whilst being able to meet other people from work.

I’m a cyclist, which means that I get see certain people regularly when I get into work – which is mostly in the changing rooms. One of these individuals was weirdly enough part of a work climbing group. I say ‘weirdly’, because climbing was one of the sports I have wanted to try out, for a long time. I had done a climbing session when I was younger and I had been scared sh*tless. But for some reason over the years, I had begun to think of it as something I could try doing properly. So it was really random when she had asked if I had wanted to go, but it was a a definite yes, on my part.


So after months of frustration, I found an activity that I could do and it was with my work colleagues. I no longer felt like a weird loner who didn’t know anyone. Sadly, they work on a completely different floor, so it’s not like I can just go and have a chat with them at work whenever I want. But the fact that I have a presence at work, that I am engaging with my work colleagues, makes me feel like I am beginning to belong. 

I have to say that, I was surprised that I went. I’m the type that is incredibly shy and stumbles over my words and is incredibly awkward with people I don’t know. But these last few months have taught me that I like people. I like having different people to talk to and do things with . Also, my interests have increased, which means that it’s nice to have people in my life that share those interests. So, I wasn’t going to let my awkward self sabotage what could be a great experience.


Library portal

As my role is primarily built on dealing with requests, I have found myself wondering what else I can do when there are severe quiet periods. 

One thing I decided to do was design a libray portal. I decided that for the moment it would be best to design something that my colleague and I could use to gain easy access to a variety of different sites. A lot of the reources we used are contained within different spreadsheets and any sites that we come across that seem like they would be useful in the future, have no place to go.

A library portal would not only allow us to collect all the resources onto one platform, but they would also allow us to gain easy access to these websites, remotely. In addition, by categorising the resources and adding descriptions and tags, such as type of information supplied and topics covered, we can access the resources we need quickly.


Another reason why I decided to design a library portal was because when we had built it and we had organised it in a way that was easy to use, we could then allow others within the organisation to gain access. This means that they would also have access to knowledge of where to find certain information and also the kinds of resources we use. Furthermore, we could start creating pages dedicated to particular divisions of the company so that we can give them quick access to the resources they may need and also keep them updated on any new developments within their field. It could also be a great place for them to add information that they think would be relevant to their colleagues.

However, within an organisation like mine, I do wonder how relevant and useful it would be. Is it something I just want to do, or could it potentially be something that could benefit everyone? But I think that if I don’t try, I will never know. If I think this is worth building than I have to be prepared to do the work and the convincing.


Adapting To A New Work Environment

Before my current role, I had never really been part of a big company. So I had never worked among so many people I actually wasn’t working with. I was used to working in an environment where I knew who everyone was and communicating with people was easy.

Being the shy person that I am, I was struggling to adapt. And for weeks, I was stressing myself out and beating myself up about my personality, missed opportunities, my likes and dislikes and the way I even look.

I kept going back and forth about what I could do to build relationships with my colleagues and then giving up and blaming it on my weird personality. I spoke with friends, I looked online, but found that if I wasn’t willing to take the leap, not much would happen. I had to accept the situation or actually do something about it.

Making the decision to do something is easy, but actually doing it is hard. Also, continuing to do something, without anything massively changing, was a huge knock-back and made me feel like it wasn’t worth it.

However, time is something that seems to make everything better. And after going through a month of fighting with myself, a moment finally came where I just couldn’t be bothered to be worried it about it anymore. And so I thought I should write this post as a reminder that I stressed myself out for a whole month and nothing changed when I did nothing.

If I want to change the current situation, I should make the effort. If I want to stay curled up in my bubble, then I shouldn’t worry about it. I have to make the choice and I have to stick with it.




It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I have posted anything and it’s because there is so much going on that it’s been hard to really sit down and think about what to write. So I thought I’d just get everything out that I’ve been doing over the last couple of months, in this blog post.

Firstly, I’ve learnt so much about what it means to do efficient searches. Whilst I have been using specific databases to find relevant information, I have also had to utilise google’s global reach to find information. However, with google I have greatly taken advantage of the advanced settings. 

For example, I limit my search results to a particular date period and to a particular format (mostly PDF). I also take advantage of Boolean logic to make sure I receive results that contain the required search terms. 

In terms of the databases I use, I have to make sure I know what database to use for the information I’m looking for. With the number of databases I have access to, it can be tricky remembering what each of them do, especially the ones I don’t use often. I guess, over time that will change as I get used to the variety of requests that I get and the type of information I need to source. But, having been here for just over 2 months, my knowledge and my understanding of how my role and actions can contribute to my team and to the business, is steadily growing. 

Another key area I need to work on, is my knowledge of the different areas of the business. Things that are helping are, meeting people from different departments, going to presentations that have been put on by different teams and taking note of the kinds of enquiries people have made. 

Also, going to training sessions really help. For example, those run by the companies of the different databases can really help in terms of understanding more about the terms that are frequently used and understood by those within my industry and the kinds of things they are looking for. This is especially the case when others ask questions. I get to know what aspects are important to them when they are looking for information. 
In addition, going to training sessions that talk you through the industry itself would help, as I would further understand the mindset of individuals within this industry. 

My team has also been preparing for work experience and grad students. We are also working on enhancing our online presence and creating reports that dictate departmental information. This amounts to consolidating information so that we can create something that we can pass on to others in a concise and informative way. For me, this also means using my knowledge of the service and the data we have gathered so far, as well as making additions and improvements.

So, these past couple of months have been quite busy and it has been hard to pinpoint what I want to write about. But I’m definitely on a journey and I would still like to share it (hopefully someone out there might be interested).

Getting to know the business

Going into any new job can be difficult, as getting used to the work and the people can take time and patience. However, when you’re completely new to the sector, things can be much harder.

Currently my role requires me to understand a whole new language; a language I had purposely stayed clear of but found myself interested in as I began my career. Which means that on top of understanding what my job role is, I have to understand the industry, the acronyms and what the different departments within the industry do.

What has made this easier is the initiative that my team are carrying out in order to make our presence known within the company. We have decided to update and develop our online presence by providing useful links and information on our online page. To do this we’re going out and meeting people from different departments to find out what they do and advertising our services in the process. In this way, not only do I get to know about the different aspects of the business, but I am able to promote what we do and thus make more people aware of who we are so that they can use us in the future. 

In addition, we can provide ongoing help by finding out what people are interested in. For example, if there is a particular subject that they’re interested in, we can keep a eye out for anything we see in the news or randomly come across. This makes the job more exciting and can help to build a good relationship with people within the business.


What is the cost of using technology

(Image taken from

As always when I visit my friend’s university (which has actually only been twice) I became part of an interesting discussion where we discussed a real world issue. In this case it was technology and particularly the use of WhatsApp and social media.

When I use WhatsApp I understand that my data isn’t really private even though I assume I’m probably an anonymous entity. However the questions that had been put forward really made me think of the use of just a mess engine service in a different way. 

These were: 

  1. What are the environmental and economical implications of using WhatsApp?
  2. What does WhatsApp actually look like and where is it?
  3. Are we being controlled by the speed in which technology is progressing?
  4. For people who don’t have smartphones, are they being left out of the loop and should they be forced to go along with the flow?
  5. Are people addicted to using technology because it satisfies one of our basic needs, which is connecting with people?
  6. Will we all become robots as technology gets smarter and continues to tailor our news feeds and search results?
  7. What are the implications of using technology for those who are using smartphones and tablets from a very young age?
  8. Are we within a transition period where we are trying to figure out how our human selves can deal with new emerging technologies and will our our fears be for nought as the rapid pace in which technology is progressing forces us to give up trying to keep up?

These were only a few questions that came out of the discussion and they are very thought provoking as they are very BIG questions. Big questions that can’t be answered simply as they involve an array of complex networks that feed into who we are as humans and how we evolve in changing times. This includes are relationships with our family, friends and work colleagues etc., how we as individuals perceive and interact with the world and what we want to get out of life (in terms of accomplishments, money etc.).

For someone who loves technology and what it can do and has done for people around the world, I don’t want to believe that technology is ultimately bad and will completely change who we are as people. I believe that there is a place for everything in this world and it is hardly ever about choosing one thing over another. However it is important that we broach these questions and discuss the different possibilities.

Finding the best place for you

When I first started applying for jobs when I had completed my undergrad, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and was thus applying for anything that sounded ok. And so, when applying, it was just about getting the interview and trying my best to sound right for the job so that they would like me.

But as I have found the career I want to pursue, I started putting more thought into where I was applying to, who I would be working with and particularly, the role I would be taking on and what it would entail.

There are many jobs that have the same job title, but the roles themselves can have slight differences. This will be because of the size of the team and the kind of organisation it is (e.g. a university, law firm or business), which thus changes what tasks and duties you’d have.

I’ve had 4 different library assistant roles in 4 different places and each one has been different. In one, I solely dealt with enquiries and in another I just shelved. In one I dealt with enquiries on different floors but the range was quite broad (from finding a book to helping format documents). In the last, I dealt with enquiries so broad, some really had nothing to do with what normal libraries deal with. However, in only one of these was I allowed to be truly creative in developing ideas and resources for library users.

Having been in these positions, I realised how much I value certain things in a role. I love variety, I love dealing with quirky people and I love small teams. Also, my ideal job would allow me to be creative in developing ideas and allow me to have a say in any changes or developments that would be happening in the service.

My lastest role has proved to me that I can no longer be just a library assistant because I have so much to give. There’s so many things I want to do and so many many things I want to try. Within a library assistant role, there is no room for me to thrive and showcase my abilities.

That is why after looking at the job description and deciding ‘ok, this looks interesting’ and applying,  the interview is very important.

Interviews are a great and interesting way for you as an individual to get to know the organisation and for the interviewer to get to know you. The real you. You don’t want to be faking it from the get go, because if you get the job and you’re someone different, I’m sure you will encounter a lot of difficulties in the future that could definitely have been avoided. 

The interviewer(s) can give away so much about the role and the organisation if you’re really interested in paying attention. I found this out recently, which made me realise how much I was actually interested in the role and the people who I would be helping. 

Thus, the interview itself wasn’t boring and I found myself taking a way a lot more than I thought I would. In addition, I thought that even if I didn’t get that job, there was so much I learned from the engagement I had with the people of that organisation that I could take away with me. 

The best advice I ever received about attending interviews was don’t spend an excessive amount of time researching the company/organisation because the interviewer won’t be quizzing you on every aspect of the organisation. But do some research on yourself – who you are, what you can bring to the organisation and what you want to gain out of being there. In this way, you can find the perfect role and place for you specifically. Somewhere where you can really enjoy your work and the people you work with. Better now when you’re young but also so important when you’re not so young.