AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / January/February 2017 / Volume 21, Number 3

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 | AALL SPECTRUM 17 rm that will leverage your institu- tional knowledge and skill sets. Following are some philosophies I have developed that are applicable to both the strategist and the opportunist: ¡ ¡ Be prepared to leave a job you love once you have achieved your goals. ¡ ¡ Never stay at a job if you will not be able to realize your goals from it or glean any other value. ¡ ¡ Cut losses early if it is clear that a new and shiny opportunity was not what you had hoped for. It is far better to explain that than explain to yourself and future employers that you stayed some- where and made yourself, and pos- sibly others, miserable because you had to "do your time." ¡ ¡ Do not accept a position if you have a negative intuitive vibe from it. Listen to your gut even above your head and heart. I did not do this twice in my career and it was a mistake. STRATEGIST STRATEGIST STRATEGIST OPPORTUNIST OPPORTUNIST Always be open to advice or feedback that you get from others; not only supervisors or those senior to you, but everyone. ¡ ¡ Failing still gives you experience; oen you learn the most from failure. ¡ ¡ Always be open to advice or feed- back that you get from others; not only supervisors or those senior to you, but everyone. ¡ ¡ Have several mentors throughout your career (and realize that you are never too high on the tree to have a mentor). Lessons to Live By Commit to lifelong learning and to acquiring a "big" skill every two years or so. is is easier to do now as tech- nology is always oering something new and more advanced to help you do your job more eciently. Learning to read and do legal research in another foreign language is another skill that could be useful to master. is would be key in the Law Library of Congress as many of the collections are not in English. Another skill that could be helpful to possess is the ability to perform environmental scanning and opportunity, it then became an attrac- tive option. I usually put time frames on most positions. ese time frames are based upon the knowledge or experience I hoped to gain. Some jobs, such as being dean of a library school, were cut short because of personal issues. Others, like working in a law rm, were elongated because the rm (Covington & Burling LLP) and its research requirements were so engag- ing and ever-expanding. Strategic Positioning ere is also a very good middle ground that many of our colleagues have pursued, and that is "strategic positioning." is is ideal for those who are really challenged by the vari- ety of choices our profession aords. You can be strategically positioned in a very small environment where you are required to do a great variety of tasks, but none with any real depth, or a very large environment where you are highly specialized, but can stay at one institution while leveraging your experience and connections in any number of directions. If you take this path, for example, you might start as a solo librarian in a small law rm and "taste" lots of dierent responsi- bilities. From there you might move to a mega-rm, where you specialize but can go into management or even another department or oce at the

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