This week, Ulla de Stricker and Jill Hurst-Wahl have been kind enough to tell us the story of how they wrote their book, and to detail what’s inside the covers.
Picture two members of Special Libraries Association having a chat in a coffee shop during the annual SLA conference. The two colleagues go back a long way and enjoy meeting each other when professional events make it possible. This time, they get on the topic of how, throughout their careers, they have acted as mentors to colleagues at all stages of their careers and to students just starting out. As the conversation went on, they verbally compile a long list of the career challenges prompting those colleagues and students to seek advice … and jointly reached the conclusion “why don’t we just write it all down!”.
Thus, The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook: Define and Create Your Success was conceived. Here’s how we articulated its purpose:
Information Professionals and Knowledge Managers deal with significant career challenges for a number of reasons associated (for example) with common misperceptions of their expertise and roles. In environments where they must often justify their work and value over and over, those already in the profession and those just entering need to prepare for a reality that may differ from expectations. Based on the authors’ own extensive experience, the book is intended to give readers a set of tools and techniques with which to secure a strong career, build an effective brand, and succeed as professionals.
Here’s how we went about organizing the messages we wanted to share:
We discuss how the information profession involves an enduring need to others why it is worthwhile investing in its practitioners.
We outline the need to know one’s own “work personality” and show how insight into it could be crucial in helping to deal with the inevitable challenges in the workplace.
For those who may have had a previous career, we talk about how to translate earlier expertise into a new professional role.
We address head-on the need to develop a professional brand and to market oneself the way any product or service is promoted. In particular, we stress on the power of professional associations as career builders.
We get practical with a look at job hunting, the strategies for applying for jobs, handling the job interview, and succeeding in the critical first few weeks on a new job.
The notion that “career planning” may be a contradiction in terms is next: “Give chance a chance”.
We take a look at the reality of organizational life: Technical proficiency does not guarantee success! Political savvy is paramount for navigating organizational culture.
The essential skill of constructing compelling proposals and business cases is the focus of attention as we stress how advocacy and getting support for change and investment requires compelling arguments – regarding of the sector or industry.
Our readers do not have to make the mistakes we did! We share candidly the lessons from our own careers and show how important emotional resilience and strength are. Work occupies a huge role in our lives, and it would be unrealistic to expect a clinical, detached attitude toward it. We focus on strategies for coping … and on knowing when to quit.
Of course, money must be discussed. We look at salary and other aspects of compensation and suggest resources to prepare for negotiation.
Finally, we advocate for a life long mentoring orientation in encouraging our colleagues to take advantage of the wisdom of more experienced colleagues and pay it back.
We hope the book will be a constant companion for our colleagues. At different career stages, different chapters will be relevant. More than anything else, we hope our colleagues will join us in our never ending efforts to support our fellow professionals.
Availability and Reviews:
Publisher: Woodhead (Chandos) Publishing
To rent the book online at a much lower cost than the list price, go to http://bit.ly/Iv0Fkz; click on the PDF link below the image of the book. Under “Offerings”, click the desired “Add to Basket” option (72 hours or 14 days). Click “Purchase” and then at the Log In page, register under the Individual Registration option in order to complete the transaction.
And you can join the conversation, or get in touch, via Facebook
Jill Hurst-Wahl, MLS, is a digitization consultant and owner of Hurst Associates, Ltd. She also an Associate Professor of Practice in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and the director of the iSchool’s Library and Information Science Program. Jill’s interests include digitization, digital libraries, copyright, web 2.0 and social media.
Ulla de Stricker is a knowledge management consultant whose practice (www.destricker.com) focuses on addressing a wide range of challenges and opportunities in the area of information management including strategies for information support to knowledge workers. She has been an active contributor to the library profession and a mentor to colleagues since the late 1970s and is a familiar figure at information related conferences.