by Jennifer Stevenson, Assistant, INALJ Illinois
The Top 4 Ways to deal with new administration
I have been a librarian for ten and a half years, during this time I have worked in both public and school library settings. I have devoted a decent amount of time tomy chosen field. During my career, I have encountered many things: from moving the children’s room collection, to a new building, performing a number of inventories (under less than favorable circumstances) and event planning for various literacy events.
I have been working in the school library field for about 7 years. This is my second year in a high school library setting. The first year was something sent from the gods. I thought,“I have finally found my niche, this is a place where I am supported, people value my expertise and there is room for growth!” Fast forward to this year, and enter our new administration…I found myself asking what I had done to anger the gods. Why was I the target? Was I really as good as I thought I was?
There are four things that are getting me through this transition:
1. Know that everything that you did previously is subject to change. The new administrator/manager (admin) will want to make drastic changes. The changes may be for the best but there is a chance that many won’t be. However, if you want to continue to keep your job, you have to just to your best. Important side note: none of these changes are personal. So even though it may feel personal, know that this is all about the bottom line.
2. Know when to keep quiet. I have been guilty of being too honest, being too forthcoming with deadlines and handing reality to those who supervise me. My new admin doesn’t like this style. She would prefer to hear yes, even if it is impossible. I have learned to pick and choose my battles.
3. Get to know your new admin’s managerial style. I have found out that my new admin is a micromanager. She wants access to library software, records, schedules etc. even though she isn’t sure what she is doing with this data or even how to access it. She checks in frequently, asks for daily updates and doesn’t like to deal with challenges. If everything is running smoothly, you will get a response, but if it isn’t you get greeted with silence. Again, do not take this personally. This is all about the bottom line.
4. Learn what the bigger picture is. When you do this you will be able to anticipate what may be asked for before your admin asks for it. This makes you proactive. It also shows that you have leadership skills and are being a cooperative member of the team. This has also helped me not take things personally. The bottom line may be that you have to show why you need a bigger book or periodical budget or you have to increase collaboration. These things don’t mean that you aren’t doing a wonderful job…it just means that you have a new administrator and he or she wants to put his or her stamp on the program.
Take heart and be flexible. I’m learning and affirming these lessons everyday.
Jennifer has been an assistant editor for INALJ since 2011. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in English with a concentration in Literature and Language Arts from Bowie State University (Bowie, MD) and an MLIS from Rutgers State University (New Brunswick, NJ). She has worked as a librarian for ten and a half years (with seven years experience in school libraries!). Jennifer ENJOYS being a librarian! Her versatile degree has allowed her to work and volunteer in many different settings including the Somerset County Court House, Rutgers School of Labor Relations Archives, the Plainsboro Public Library and New Brunswick Public Library. She has been active in NJLA, and NJASL and currently works in a high school media center. In addition to her high school experience, she’s had the opportunity to work in a pre-K-8 and a K-4 environment. She loves interacting with students from all over and in all walks of life. She credits her students with being an inspiration for her many works. Jennifer is working on publishing her book of poetry and blogs at Jennifer S Stevenson’s Random Thoughts.