Reflective Log: Monday 10th December 2012

Another week, another Monday. I think that the last month and a half of change and work has finally caught up with me, as I am feeling exhausted – I could barely string a sentence together by the end of Friday, and was hoping the weekend would revive me but it doesn’t appear to have done so. This could make life… interesting.

So what do I have to fill you in on? Last week was chocker – I literally only had an hour of untimetabled space, so I didn’t get any background tasks done last week other than catching up on e-mails (this coming week is pretty empty though timetable-wise, so we’ll see how productive I manage to be!).

Last Monday I had my one-month appraisal. I was slightly scared of going to this, as taking criticism to heart is probably one of my weaknesses, but all went well. Sarah told me that feedback from other staff members has been very positive, and that I’ve been cheerful, willing to learn and not afraid to ask for help. This was reassuring. I think the best thing to come out of the meeting was the packet of dark chocolate gingers that I was fed – excellent way to start the week, and I definitely will not be pressuring Sarah for more of the same. *cough*

On Tuesday I attended another staff development workshop, this time on stress and resilience and run by the occupational health team. The workshop was quite interesting – we looked at the cognitive, behavioural, physical and emotional signs of stress and ways we can deal with this. I remember the workshop started by the lady telling us that the idea of giving 110% or even 100% is not feasible or healthy, and we can and should only ever do our best. We also looked at how to use a ‘thought record,’ which is a CBT method of helping us not to catastrophise situations. Here was our example:

Situation Mood & Level Automatic Thoughts Evidence supporting ‘hot thought’ Evidence that does not support ‘hot thought’ Alternative Thoughts Change in Mood
Five minutes before end of day, line manager calls you to her office in an urgent tone, without giving a reason Very strong PANIC “Oh no, what have I done wrong???”

“I’m going to lose my job!!!”

“OMG”

Tone of voice

Nothing else

You’ve done a good job lately.

You know you haven’t made any massive mistakes.

It would be exceedingly unlikely for anyone to be fired on the spot.

Your manager’s been very busy lately, which is likely to explain the tone of voice.

It could be praise.

You could be being given some more work to do.

If you’ve made a mistake it would be good for you to talk about it.

You needed to speak to your line manager anyway.

Jittery rather than panicky, moderate rather than extreme.

The other particularly interesting thing about this workshop was the pre-session task we’d been given, which was to complete an online survey which than created our own i-resilience report – a report which analyses your personality and gives you suggestions on how your own strengths and weaknesses may help or hinder you in work. I found it interesting that I scored almost 100% for positive social support (degree of personal warmth, level of trust, level of straightforwardness, degree of consideration for others) and rock bottom on confidence (level of worry, dealing with distress, level of social anxiety, degree of modesty, and a few others). This wasn’t particularly surprising to me, but it was slightly disconcerting seeing it down on paper. We were then given some tips and a relaxation CD from the counselling service, and that was that.

Wednesday was my third ASG meeting (ASG, by the way, stands for Academic Support Group (I think (look at all these brackets))). I’m gradually understanding more of the conversations that happen in this meeting, which is good, but I still haven’t contributed to discussion, which is bad. The big boss came to this meeting to gather feedback from the group on how to proceed with the way in which the library is run in terms of customer service/academic support – at the moment the CS staff and the subject librarians are very separated, and there is a strong sense from everyone involved that there is a gap between the two that needs to be bridged. The head of CS is leaving at the end of the month, so it is trying to be established how the library should use this opportunity to move on. Other discussions in the meeting included the noise on floor 1 again, and I was pleased to see that more people are starting to agree that the floor is getting out of hand, and CS are going to try and come up with a way to handle it more effectively (although, personally, I’m not holding out much hope for a marked improvement without the bringing in of a team of people to control the noise, like we had at Warwick – having just one person patrol every once in a while is never going to work, no matter how many times we discuss it. Just saying.) The last thing I have to say about ASG meetings is that I find them pretty inaccessible to follow because of the lack of structure in some of the discussions. I appreciate that subject librarians get very heated about some of the things that are touched upon, but there’s no system in place in these meetings to ensure order, and everyone ends up talking at the same time, and over each other, and across each other. As someone who does struggle with anxiety on a daily basis, I find these situations really hard to deal with even as an observer, and it’s not nice to be feeling panicky and frustrated when it could be really easily avoided. It’d be nice if there was a hand-raising system in which the order was taken so that everybody gets a chance to have their say without being interrupted or talked over or not heard at all.

Thursday. I spent the morning helping with the Commonweal collection, which is a public collection of books and pamphlets held in the library all about social change and justice and peace and war and equal rights of women and black people and gays and animal rights and non-violent direct action and lots of other really awesome things that I think are really awesome. We spent a couple of hours sorting through some boxes of books that had come over from a local peace café-type place, which included some of our books and a mix of others, some of which will be joining the collection and others will be going in a Commonweal booksale next month. We also talked a lot about the appearance and direction of the collection physically, now that it has moved from a separate place on campus to a corner of the library – questions like how can we keep it looking separate from the main library materials, what colour scheme should there be, what kind of seating would be appropriate. It was very interesting, and I look forward to doing more work with the collection.

On Friday I was given permission to attend an external event about challenging the thinking that leads to disability hate-crime. There was a video, a panel discussion and keynote speaker Richard Reiser, but I’m not going to clog up my reflective log with this and shall make a post about this event later in the week.

That pretty much sums up the last week I think (I know I still haven’t talked properly about the process of moving all of the journals back into the building which I’ve helped with, which involved a really big spreadsheet and merging different collections from different locations in OVER FIVE THOUSAND BOXES. Yep, you read that correctly). I’ve spent more time in customer services, as usual. Am slightly more competent at answering the phone now, and only let it ring 2 times before I pick it up instead of 3 or 4. I guess that’s good!

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