by Sarah Glassmeyer, Kentucky Chapter, Academic & Legal Divisions
Summertime is approaching which means many of us are daydreaming about summer vacation locales. After a Northwest Indiana winter, I’m craving somewhere warm. Sunny. Not snow covered. Maybe I could go to the ocean? Yes, sitting on a beach with an adult beverage (preferably served in a hollowed out piece of fruit) sounds like just the thing I need.
I have a confession, though: I’m terrified of going into the ocean. Like many people in my generation, I saw the movie “Jaws” at an impressionable age and ever since I have been convinced that going into the ocean would equal, if not certain death, then at least the loss of a limb or two. So I stick to dry land. Maybe I’ll wade in a little, but no deeper than “still visible feet” depth.
Funny thing about the movie “Jaws”…everyone talks about how scary the shark was, but if you re-watch it, I bet you’ll be surprised to see how little the shark is actually in the movie. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t fully appear until the 81 minute mark (in a 124 minute movie.) Part of this was due to budgetary constraints on the production, but part of this was for classic Hitchcockian movie suspense reasons.
Alfred Hitchcock knew that the unknown was far more disturbing and scary than the known. He explained it like this (paraphrasing): Four men are sitting at a table playing poker. Unbeknownst to the audience, a bomb is placed under a table and it explodes. That is surprise. In another scenario, the audience sees that the bomb is under the table but it does not explode. They don’t know when and if it ever will – and most of the time it doesn’t. That is suspense. Surprise is over in fifteen seconds. Suspense can torture an audience for hours and, as the case with me and the ocean, radically alter one’s worldview.
So what does this have to do with information professionals?
How much do you change your life because you’re afraid of what might happen? Maybe you don’t speak up in a meeting and share your great idea because you’re not sure if it’s stupid or not. Or maybe you don’t want to change a procedure in your library because you’re worried that patrons will be upset. Or maybe you don’t apply for a new job or run for an organizational office or otherwise try something new and different because..something might go wrong. Who knows what it might be but it’s something!
I think to be future ready we need to stop worrying about the “what ifs” and “somethings.” We all have our bombs under the table. Stop waiting and worrying about when or if they’re ever going to go off. You may be missing out on something great – personally, professionally or organizationally – because of it.
Sarah Glassmeyer is the Faculty Services and Outreach Librarian and an Assistant Professor of Law at Valparaiso University School of Law. She blogs about the intersection of libraries, law and technology at http://sarahglassmeyer.com.