New job is not so new anymore: through the looking glass

the looking glass pool by Sw Swann CC BY-NC 2.0

the looking glass pool by Sw Swann CC BY-NC 2.0

I had the beginnings of this post in draft, in preparation for a day sometime during #blogJune when I would be struggling to write. However, serendipitously (or perhaps not, but I could not go past the opportunity to use this word in a blog post) I got confirmation of my appointment at MPOW today, after my initial 6 month probation period was signed off. It seemed like a sign that I needed to get this out today – to kickstart my June writing sprint.

I feel settled in this not-so-new-anymore environment. The different context and culture has been challenging at times but relatively easy to manage and certainly my new colleagues have been welcoming, helpful and understanding of my ‘new girl status.  The commute is 60 minutes driving each way – clocking up just under 1,000 km a week. Not awful, but not fabulous either. The biggest challenge for me of the past 6 months has been grappling with the difference between supervisor and manager. I’ve come out of a very hands on team leader role into a situation where I’m no longer managing the people doing the work – I’m now managing the people managing the people doing the work. Or something. That’s the part that feels very ‘looking glass’ – some days I’m not sure where my job begins and ends in relation to both my direct reports and my own manager. However, it’s something I’m working with both my direct reports and my manager to define and shape and at the end of 6 months it feels like we’re getting somewhere.

At a leadership level at MPOW, we’ve been looking at the library work of the future, shaping a culture to support that work and future proofing (as much as possible) ourselves against the as-yet-unknown demands of a changing-almost-daily higher education sector here in Australia. I’ve had some interesting, engaging and at times robust discussions about this stuff with colleagues.It’s a new relationship, where we are still getting to know one another and eager to learn more. We’ve been challenged to do some research, synthesis, writing and presentation of our findings and I’ve really enjoyed it.

I’m looking forward to unpacking a bit more of that discussion here on the blog during June.


7 thoughts on “New job is not so new anymore: through the looking glass

  1. Pingback: Reflection: A Year in review – Clare McKenzie | International Librarians Network

  2. Pingback: Once more with feeling! | marvelling

  3. Perhaps I should have read Peta’s comment first, before delving into my thoughts. I’m in a similar position to Peta and can relate to her experience. 🙂

  4. Thanks for your thoughts on this, Clare. I’d be interested to know a little more about this perspective, as I have been co-ordinating project work with a team of people over the last five months or so. I’m not their supervisor, so separating the work from the people in terms of managing output has proven tricky at first.

  5. My interesting management experience was managing projects coordinating work done by many people who not only didn’t report to me, but reported to a whole bunch of other managers! Required lots of goodwill building so that those managers were fully on board with the project. Sometimes they weren’t and it was tres difficile.

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