by Neil Infield, Europe Chapter, Business & Finance Division
I recently gave a talk to a room full of new information professionals on the topic of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
I had been asked to fill in at the last minute, so didn’t have time to prepare. As anyone will appreciate, who shares my phobia of public speaking, this was actually a good thing.
However, what really surprised me, once I stood up and started speaking, was how passionate I became about the importance of CPD. And this wasn’t from some theoretical perspective about how we must continue to be aware of changes in our work environment and be on top of them. It was how my CPD activities resulted in bagging a great new job within six weeks of being made redundant from one I been in for sixteen years.
I was certain that no one would want to employ a librarian who had been stuck in the same job and become institutionalised. However, what I discovered was, the ability to deliver solutions and solve problems for my potential employers, gave me leverage in the job market.
These enhanced competencies came from a mixture of professional reading, signing up for workshops, regular networking with colleagues, and attending SLA events, particularly the SLA annual conference.
My favourite example, which led directly to a promotion at work, was discovering the concept of an intranet at one of my very first SLA conferences. I rushed home, and within six months had developed a rudimentary intranet for my company. And even though I was unable to explain to my boss why this would be beneficial for the organisation, six months later it became obvious to everyone how useful it was. And six months later, I was praised by our Chief Executive for introducing this wonderful innovation, swiftly followed by a promotion.
So, if you want to ensure you bag that next job, get a promotion, or just get to keep your existing one, CPD is not an optional activity, it is an essential one.
If you haven’t already had a go, I suggest an easy starting point is SLA’s 23 Things programme.
Since January 2006 I have worked at the British Library, where I am Manager of the Business & IP Centre. However, the postings here are my own and don’t necessarily represent the British Library’s position, strategy or opinions.
Until 2005 I was manager of Business Information Services (BIS) at Hermes Pensions Management in the City of London. During my time at Hermes I developed the BIS far beyond its traditional library service origins, creating their website, intranet and staff newsletter.
In the few hours of spare time that my commuting and two children allow I enjoy the odd game of tennis, a bit of gardening and skiing when there is snow in the Alps. I recently succumbed to a late mid-life crisis and bought a KR1-S motorbike after a 12 year gap away from motorbikes.
I have been active in SLA Europe for nearly 20 years including President in 2004, and in 2006 I was made a fellow of SLA.
neil dot infield at bl.uk