On trying

with 5 comments

Up here in the North East, there’s a saying about trying – ‘shy bairns get nowt’. This is a philosophy that I very much subscribe to in life; if you don’t ask or put yourself forward for things, you won’t get all that far (I also extend this theory to the practice of buying scratchcards, somewhat less successfully). And I tend to think that if you knock on enough doors, then generally after a while one or two will open.

So it is with this in mind that I have been applying for opportunities recently. I’ve been trying my luck at a few different things, applying to speak at conferences, for secondment opportunities and for postgraduate courses. With varying degrees of success, it must be said. I have absolutely no experience of writing conference proposals, and perhaps unsurprisingly, my proposal wasn’t accepted. I’ve had an unconditional offer for a place on a postgraduate Masters in Librarianship course (I’m only taking a token module, however!), and I’m waiting to hear back from another university. I was excited to be shortlisted for the internal secondment, my first interview for a professional level post, but unfortunately I didn’t get the job. Although again, I wasn’t too disappointed, being the youngest candidate and the only candidate without postgraduate qualifications.

BUT: although I didn’t get to speak at the conference, the organisers provided me with some feedback. I put in an interesting proposal, apparently, but ‘a number of people put in similar papers, so you had a lot of competition’. Fair enough. They also provided comments on my proposal, so I could see the things the organisers liked about it and the areas which needed some more explanation. Hopefully when I next answer a call for papers, I can learn from the comments I was given and use this experience for the better.

AND: although I didn’t get the job, I was also offered feedback on my interview. I got some useful pointers on my presentation technique and interview answers (including ones I already sort of knew. I need to stop fiddling and talking with my hands…). And I got the chance to prepare and present a short teaching session on an academic database, which has been a great experience and has given me a taster of this sort of library role. As I said, I really appreciated just getting shortlisted, as that shows me I’m moving in the right direction. And maybe next time, I’ll get the job.

Shy bairns get nowt. I’m not a shy bairn – I do stick my head above the parapet, professionally speaking. And sometimes things work out, and sometimes I get knocked down, turned down, which the last couple of weeks and months have proved. And I’m learning that for the time being I just need to keep going, keep working hard, and keep trying. I’m not saying that I’ll try at librarianship forever, because I’m not an idiot, and I have a timescale in mind in terms of how long I’m willing to try. But I know that the act of trying for things, and even being rejected, has its own value.

You can always get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.


Written by missrachelsmith

June 6, 2011 at 17:24

Posted in Librarianship

Tagged with , ,

5 Responses

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  1. Nice blog post.

    Richard Hawkins

    June 7, 2011 at 09:49

  2. Well said Rachel! It can be hard to take rejection but the best approach is to learn from it and move on to the next opportunity. Good luck with your next paper!

    Katy Stoddard

    June 7, 2011 at 10:33

  3. That is the spirit: you will learn as you go along and will succeed! Good luck!


    June 7, 2011 at 10:52

  4. Interesting post. And totally agree that ‘shy bairns get nowt’ (that is definitely the best way of putting it!).


    June 7, 2011 at 11:40

  5. Thanks for all of your comments – I was feeling pretty positive about this before I published this post, and the positivity I’ve received back from everyone who’s commented here and on Twitter has been wonderful!


    June 9, 2011 at 11:59

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