Sunday, January 1, 2012

Would you look at that? It's a new year already.

The original title for this post was going to be, "The system worked." Then I was going to go with, "I'm still not sure what hit me." Suffice to say: December was one wild and crazy ride. I am not complaining about where it left me when I got off, though. Everything that happened made sense and was handled quickly, competently and compassionately. Some people who will remain nameless have officially impressed me. (I would say, "You know who you are," but the likelihood that any of them are reading this post? Small.)

Some other people impressed me too, and I get to name them, because I will be working with them! Starting this week, I will be joining Free Geek as their Human Resources Administrator. I will be a member of the management collective. I have mixed feelings about leaving libraries, at least for the time being, but not about my new position. The HR aspects of being a library administrator were among my favorites--and, heck, for the first seven and a half years of my career, I functioned as the HR department for my library. Systems and forms and documentation and wrasslin' with external bureaucratic forces that mere mortals should never have disturbed? OMG So. Very. Sweet. And Free Geek's mission is right up my alley.

My family had some concern about the, shall we say, poor image of HR folks in our society. I completely understand. Livelihood, health, dignity, long-term security--is there anything HR can't threaten for an organization's employees? I tried to explain that HR work appeals to me for precisely that reason. Wherever there is a function that can provoke hostility and anxiety, I want to be there to mitigate them at the least and to help re-engineer things to eliminate them at best. (At the top of my library wish list during this past job search? Circulation and scholarly communication.) If "thankless" is an adjective commonly used to describe a particular job, chances are I'd jump at the opportunity to do it.

I will probably still write about library stuff here on this blog. In some ways, it will be easier now that I'm not responsible for any actual libraries. I don't have as much of a personal stake in how my comments are perceived by other librarians. Which feels kind of freeing, and also kind of daunting: appropriate feelings for the start of a new year, it seems to me.

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