by Cynthia Berglez, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Legal Division
From California’s earliest days of physical and economic upheaval, we Californians have tended to be a little more comfortable with change than citizens of less volatile states. And there is no word that better describes the world today than change.
When I began thinking about this post the economy seemed to be improving, but today the Dow is down again, and who knows what it will be when this is published. How can we be ready for the next curve? Look forward, far forward, where the path is clearer. The terrain seems flatter when seen from a distance. See where you’d like to be in ten years, then pull back to where you are now and plan for it.
Business schools used to teach business planning for 5, 10 or 15 years. But for the past 10 years or so, organizations have been saying, “we can’t plan, it’s hard enough to just hang on for the ride.” Maybe they have forgotten the value of planning. A good plan will help a business change with the times, and it will work just as well for an individual, even a librarian. If you plan what you can but don’t carve it in stone, you can be ready for change. But try to keep that distant focus.
Why make a plan?
- It forces you to take a hard look at your current skills. This is good news. You can always add new skills, which helps your brain to stay active too.
- A plan will show you how much money and time you will need to get where you want to go.
- A plan gives focus and direction, relieving stress, streamlining your actions and eliminating distractions.
- Planning compels you to do your homework on market forces and the business environment. This will keep your skills current, and make you aware of changes as soon as possible.
Now, take the first step. You’re a librarian, which means that while you might not know everything, you know how to find it. Find a plan to take you into the next 10 years. There are loads of business and marketing plans on the Internet. We have relevant books in the libraries to which we belong. I just now looked for business plans and our friend Google said “about 88,500,000 results.” I’m sure there must be one you can use.
Think of your career as a business–YOUR business. Network and build your professional support group, among and beyond your librarian colleagues, and develop best practices for your future. I know you’re busy; you have important things to do. Who is going to invest in your career? You are!
Debaise, Colleen. “Why you need a business plan,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 28, 2009. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125391138155241963.html
Wikipedia “Business Plan” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plan
Cynthia received her MSLIS fairly recently from San Jose State University, after spending the previous 12 years using her MBA in International Transportation. She was looking for something more stable. Flexibility and marketing her skills is something that she has learned by necessity. She enjoys helping others to find a comfortable path in the changing world. She is currently the President of the San Francisco Bay Region Chapter of SLA, and the West Coast Research Librarian for the law firm Ropes & Gray.