Who ARE You (choosing to be)?

by Sheryl L. Christensen, Head Editor, INALJ California

Who ARE You (choosing to be)?

Sheryl_ChristensenMany of you have probably seen this TedTalk by Shawn Achor.

In this video, he very entertainingly tells stories and offers information about how our happiness and positive, self-affirming outlook oftentimes precedes or even brings about what we distinguish as success.  A lot of us tend to believe that in achieving certain goals we will trigger in ourselves a permanent state of contentment. In fact, living a life that supports our drive, passion, and energy and taking up a venture with a positive and affirming ‘internal outlook’ already in place is what may be at the heart of our enthusiastic pursuit of that dream and also what may be generating the best social ecosystem for its ultimate realization.

How does this idea about the pronounced significance of outlook tie in to the job search?

It is something that, to me, comes back to that infamous question that is asked at so many job interviews: “Tell us a little bit about yourself.”  Whether we realize it or not, we are always in the process of becoming ourselves.  We are continually making choices.  Should we read a certain book, take a certain class, eat a certain food?  We also make what seem like unconscious choices: for example, becoming irritated in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Our choices, action-based and thought-based, lead to outcomes that propel us in a direction – and we become a selected and directed version of ourselves.  It is never too early to make a decision to go in the direction that we would choose if we felt we had the power to do so: the direction that supports our ideal ecosystem and our happiness.

Although I can almost guarantee you that the answer to the famous interview question contains a version that identifies those qualities to a prospective employer that paint a picture of the skills and abilities you bring to the table, I also believe that reinforcing our identities with conscious action as well as attention to the types of thoughts we allow ourselves to habitually think will absolutely help us to answer with more confidence and enthusiasm.  We will know who we are; we will be able to describe our path (our resume — and our future resume) in an exciting way to someone who has never met us.  Our positivity, confidence, and passion will brighten the discourse — and this in itself could lead to some interesting opportunities.

As I finish writing my first blog post today, I am in a reflective mood.  It is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day that celebrates a man who holds deep significance to me and to so many others.  If you haven’t yet had the chance, I strongly recommend reading what this great man wrote.  He makes so much sense and is, as so many have already said, deeply inspiring.

We all have dreams; additionally, we all have choices to make.  Who and what will we allow to influence our personal, social, and professional ecosystems?  Will we allow our happiness to be moments only, fleeting and then distantly remembered among the dull, rough routine of our days?  Or will we nurture it to become a constant inside of us, cyclically feeding on and supporting our loves and passions?  Every moment, every experience is very much our creation.  And those moments lead us.


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


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