Sponsored by the Leadership and Management Section
Cosponsored by the Corporate Information Services Section and the New Members Special Interest Group
Tuesday, May 22.
The program featured two segments - Julie Cohen, a certified career coach, spoke about the job search process, followed by speed mentoring sessions, where participants spoke with senior library managers offering career development advice in 10-minute intervals.
Cohen provided tips typical of any job hunting guide, part strategy and part pep-talk – know yourself, know what you want, networking is important, don’t be discouraged. She compared career development to stages in a romantic relationship – look for the right job for you, know when to leave a job, seek contentment.
The truly valuable part of the program was the speed mentoring. Based on a suggestion from former MLA president, M.J. Tooey, who recognized that a need exists in spite of the mentoring programs MLA promotes, speed mentoring offered a quick, largely informal way to seek advice from experienced medical librarians. My roster of mentors happened to include Julie Cohen, whose expertise was much less generic and much more valuable on an individual basis, and two librarians whose understanding of the profession made for sound counseling.
One mentor genuinely wanted to know if I found the experience helpful and yes, I did. While each mentor had a different approach and I inevitably received some contradictory advice, certain suggestions were echoed throughout. It wasn’t that I got a lot of suggestions that hadn’t occurred to me, it was more the consensus of opinion and repetition of certain “must do’s” that resonated. How could I not benefit from this collective wisdom?
While I fully expected the mentors to be friendly and encouraging, it still struck me how generous people in our profession can be with their time and advice. I strongly suggest that speed mentoring becomes a regular part of the annual meeting.
Posted for Deborah Crooke