Back in the Saddle (kinda)

18 Aug

Like lots of libraries – and many other kinds of businesses and work – my library closed to the students, faculty, staff, and public back in the cold days of March. We worked remotely beginning March 16 and stayed that way all the way up to … August 3. Just shy of 5 months. Even living through it, it seems surreal. Our doors reopened with limited hours, a skeleton crew, and a whole lot of new rules (we wait to see how well people will comply) to hopefully keep us safe and free from exchanging the COVID virus that’s ravaged our societies.

I got through the months at home by doing a lot of streaks – songs, doodles, walks, the NYTimes crossword puzzle. I kept busy with things for work, but honestly struggled with the routine of working remotely. I’m not really made for it. I like the connection aspects of my job. I like coming into work. I like separating work from home. That whole work-life balance idea? It’s hard enough to balance it in our usual, virtually-connected world. Add remote working to it and … MALARKEY!

I have a lot of thoughts about these things – a lot of concerns for the future of work, i.e. how it will happen and some of the new norms we’ll accept, thanks to COVID. But that’s for another post. I also have several posts gestating about some of the really terrific professional development opportunities I’ve taken advantage of over the past months, including the vConference of the Medical Library Association and FORCE 11’s Scholarly Communications Institute (FSCI). I look forward to sharing them here, too (sketchnotes included).

For now, I’m just a couple hours away from a mini-staycation, getting ready to monitor the LibChat service at the end of the day, and taking advantage of a quiet office space. I’m enjoying doing exercises in my new copy of “Observe, Collect, Draw!” by Georgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, based on their wonderful book, “Dear Data” that came out a few years back. I loved their book and wondered how to ever come up with my own style for doing what they did. Fortunately, this visual journal is filled with exercises to help me do just that. I plan to have it accompany me on part of my staycation, for sure.

2 Responses to “Back in the Saddle (kinda)”

  1. Kellee Selden August 19, 2020 at 4:15 pm #

    Are we humans that stuck in our ways that we can’t adjust to a temporary work around? I am saddened to read that so many librarians, and others, don’t like WFH. I find that working and being at home is very productive and beneficial. When I am at work I get interrupted many times a day by people passing my office who just stop in to say hi. (Note: one of my offices is at the end of a hallway in a busy hospital, now on the way to the Mom and Baby portion of the floor) While it is very nice to have co-workers stop by I never realized how much time it eats up in my day.
    Since I have been at home, I have been able to accomplish so much more without interruptions and I can focus for long periods on detailed projects.
    Plus, I am not losing out on social and professional interaction. I have several online meetings daily. Those were occurring pre-COVID so it doesn’t matter if I am sitting in an office, in my home or on the moon! I talk to everyone just like before and still accomplish lots of projects.

    While I don’t love WFH because of COVID, I am enjoying the time with family and friends, loving the ability to sleep in and make a long commute to work, seeing the neighbors with their new pets, enjoying my garden and finding life is better in a different way.

    • salgore August 19, 2020 at 6:09 pm #

      Hi Kellee. Thanks for reading and the comments. I think you may be giving me a little bit too much credit as one representing all humans and/or all librarians. I can guarantee you that I’m in the minority in regards to my feelings of WFH. As I mentioned in the post, only a very few of us have returned to work. Most of my colleagues prefer staying off campus. It has much more to do with my personality – just who I am – than our profession.

      Also, just a little reminder that not everyone has family around. This can be a pretty lonely and isolating time for some. It really doesn’t need to be a judgement on anyone that we do well or don’t do well working remotely. There are as many variables as their are individuals doing this.

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