by Fallon Zschiegner-Bleich, Head Editor, INALJ Arkansas
Go Ahead, Be a Little Bossy
If you had told me a year ago that I would not only be doing metadata in my non-library job but that I would WANT to do metadata…well, I would have laughed in your face. Yet, in the three months since I’ve started the job, I’ve already done a lot of work in bridging user experience with the IT experience and I’ve done a lot of work in revamping the metadata that we use (which started out as zero metadata when we should have been using metadata). When I started though, I was nervous about a lot of things. Having come from a few bad experiences of not being able to voice my opinion, being treated like I wasn’t intelligent and was just a worker robot, and that my place was to be quiet because I was not a man and I was young and therefore anything I said was irrelevant, I have had confidence problems to say the least. While it is not strictly a female problem or a youth problem, being labeled as a “know-it-all” or as a “bitch” is something that comes up a lot for young women in the workplace. However, after years of job searching and being in crappy jobs, I’m here to tell you that it is ok to be a little bossy. We need to have confidence in ourselves for so many reasons, but most of all, because as librarians, we typically have to fight for what we need, whether it be money or more people or materials. So, here are my rules for being bossy:
Assess the situation. Is this a place where being bossy is going to get you a good outcome? Never be afraid to voice your opinion about something, but also make sure that your opinion is necessary or even wanted in that situation. If you are in a bad work environment, then you’re never going to have a place where being bossy is going to work out for you. Don’t bottle it down either though, if something is just not working then speak up or get out. If you have to, find another job and move on.
Know your facts. If you have something to say, be prepared to back it up. When you speak up, sometimes you’re going against a crowd and they will question your opinion. Be prepared for that. If you have an opinion as to why your office should be rearranged, site why (it would be more efficient, cost effective, etc). If you’re asking for money for your library, the council/foundation you’re in front of is going to want to know why! Basically, just always be ready to state your case.
Don’t be bossy just to be bossy. Nobody likes a person who takes charge but has no business doing so, due to not having a clue or just not being an effective leader. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to let others voice their opinions. Everyone has something to offer, even if you may not agree with them. Part of being a great coworker and boss, if you become one, is being able to listen as well as you speak. Communication makes the workplace so much better for everyone!