Monday 10 September 2012

How I learned to stop worrying and love CPD

This week it's a catch up week and we've invited Librarians with lives blogger, Jo Wood, to write a guest blog post about fitting professional development in and making the most of the time you have. Over to Jo...

Juggling priorities to fit things in?
Pedro Moura Pinheiro on Flickr
I used to be really intimidated by the Librariati* and their terrifying ways. Two years ago I set up a blog to try and deal with my feelings of inadequacy and have learned a thing or two about fitting CPD into a busy life along the way. Here are my five tip tips:

  1. Find some aspects of CPD that you really, really enjoy and focus on them. For me, it’s blog writing, mentoring Chartership candidates and very occasionally contributing case studies to books. I know I’m really bad at – or simply not interested in *cough* activism *cough* – other aspects of CPD so I leave them to everyone else. 
  2. Every so often, do one thing that really scares you. The comfort zone is all well and good 95% of the time, but occasionally it’s good to really put yourself ‘out there’. Earlier this year I wrote a blog post that I really liked. Just after I published it I spotted a ‘call for speakers’ e-mail. Normally I file these in the ‘I really ought to do something like that’ pile and promptly forget about it. This time I turned the blog post into a speaker proposal. I decided not to pin any hopes on it and decided to treat the experience as a ‘sighter’ for other opportunities down the line. I had written the whole enterprise off and was amazed when I received an e-mail inviting me to speak. I’m used to public speaking, but speaking to my peers is going to be something else. 
  3. Accept your time constraints and learn to say no. Don’t be guilt tripped into something that you really, really don’t want to do. You’ll resent the person that got you into the mess in the first place and every moment you spend doing the thing will make you grind your teeth in frustration. The key is to be polite and slightly vague: ‘Thank you for thinking of me but I have a lot on at the moment’ works pretty well as a get-out phrase. 
  4. It’s better to go to one really good conference than ten average seminars. I don’t get to do much (or, in fact, any) CPD in work time. It’s pretty hard to convince my line manager that an afternoon out of the office attending a seminar on something really librarian-y is worth it. However, a day or two at a proper professional conference – although it generally costs far more – is more likely to impress. I try to attend one major conference a year and get it written into my appraisal targets so that my employer has to fund it! 
  5. Don’t compare yourself to the gods and goddesses of CPD. It’s a waste of time and you’ll never manage to a. Join them without sacrificing something else in your life e.g. watching the Great British Bake-Off or b. Stop being jealous of them. I now regard the hardcore Librariati with great affection, in the same way that you would regard the family dog. I want to pat them on the head indulgently and feed them biscuits. My view on them is: they do it so the rest of us don’t have to. 

The final thing is not to let CPD , or feelings of inadequacy about not doing enough CPD, take over your life. After all, there is more to life than professional development: cake, museums, cross-stitch, cricket, stalking divers, family, friends, enemies, pets, reading books for pleasure, music and board games to name but a few. Keep things in perspective and you’ll get the CPD balance just right.

*not a real word, but it's mine and I like it.

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with your blogpost, it is hard to get the right balance between CPD and none, and how much time and energy you devote to it


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