29 June, 2009

A follow up

Time to follow up on this post.
Yes the move went well, the new books fitted and I proved (yet again) that despite the ADHD I am a kick arse project manager. Especially if you want a project done with limited resources, no budget and no time in which to do it.

Why do people love meetings?

I am not a fan of the meeting, even less of the unnecessary meeting and as such, finding myself managing a library in which I am the only full time employee and one of only 4 permanent employees. Well, I figured we wouldn't be needing a lot of meetings, after all, we will see each other often, we will know what everyone else does...

I mean, I was ready for senior faculty meetings. Without those how would I know what is going on in each of the different schools and I need to know that so I can ensure my planning creates a library which matches the needs of the different lecturers and their students. Plus it does my ego good to know I am considered Senior Faculty and what is good for my ego is good for everyone.

But in the library I would rather do things over a coffee and a gossip. Which in a library this size I feel should work better than a meeting does, after all I am the only person who is in every day. And I (should) talk to everyone when they are in, plus my door is not only always open but my office is in fact the corridor between the staff workroom and the library. Unfortunately a couple of my staff don't feel that they can work that way, so after much uming and flapping around I decided that it was worth instigating a monthly meeting in order to keep people happy. So far I don't feel that any of these meetings have achieved anything of significance, but then that could be because the library manager is a reluctant participant in these meetings?

Well, at present we are overdue a meeting (I was away when we should have had the last one) and the next one will coincide with my other two librarians being on leave (holidays for one, conference for the other). Still, no excuses this is the new improved ADHD librarian, I shall have a meeting and I shall achieve something in in (any suggestions what I should achieve?)

Damned Tracking Software

Either everyone stopped visiting this blog the moment I started updating it again, or my edits have upset the tracking software which I use to watch you watching me.

Now I need to reinstall it and wait and see who is still out there waiting for my updates.

Actually, I know I am still getting the occasional visitor on the blog because Walt Crawford mentioned me as an anonymous blogger in his latest Cites and Incites which amuses me because I only removed my real name from the profile page very recently (it is back now, I hadn't intentionally cloaked).

My name is John Chisholm and I am a librarian.

26 June, 2009

Stupid New Lyrics

Seems everywhere I look people are mistaking the death of a fallen pop star for news. Seems that Michael Jackson was more powerful than Jesus because with his death all wars have stopped, apparently no one in Iran is protesting any more...

Stupid media newstainment rubbish,

Anyway, enough with the bitching and the moaning about things I can't change and onto the Elton John tribute to our beloved child molesting sorry, child like saviour. And as luck would have it I have the reworked Candle in the wind lyrics right here for you.

Remember where you saw this first (unless you find it unbelievably offensive in which case forget you heard it from me)

Goodbye Peter Pan
Though I never knew you at all
You had the balls to hold yourself
With a sparkly glove

Boys crawled over Neverland
And they drank your Jesus Juice
You say you didn't touch them
But you say you never changed your nose?

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like pervert with no guilt
Never knowing who truly loved you
Except for Ben

And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
So probably it is for the best
That I never did

Loneliness was tough
The toughest role you ever played
Daddy created a superstar
And pain was the price you paid

Even when you died
Oh the press still hounded you
All the papers had to say
Was that Michael was a paedophile

Goodbye King of Pop
From a young man who watched a Thriller Video
Who sees you as something less than normal
But more than the creepy son of Joe


I have just re-released a previously hidden post in which I was critical of a library manager. Rereading it gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own management ability.
The amusing thing is that on reflection I think I need to be more like that which I hated. Oh, I'm not saying I need to be a micromanager nor am I saying that I should be petty and vindictive or take things personally. No, what I am saying is that I need to remember that not all conflict is bad. I need to remember that as the manager I do have the ability (and the right) to say "No we don't do it that way any more"
I have the right to change procedures when I say they need changing, now sure I can ask for input and get the staff to agree, but I should still be willing to stand my ground and have a good old fashioned stouch if that is what is required.

Lets see if I can take that on board over the next few weeks.

Get a real job

I am not about to turn this blog into a job agency, but though I would point out that Alice Springs Town Council is looking for a new Children's Librarian.

Living and working in Alice was one of the highlights of my life and if circumstances were different I would be giving up this management gig and happily settling back as a Children's Librarian.
Now, Alice isn't for everyone but I loved the place and fully expect to live there again at some stage. But I have written about going bush to improve your career before, so I won't repeat myself.

24 June, 2009

Productivity and a little help?

So, am I suddenly super productive and astounding all around me? Umm, I don't think so. But that's OK because I always get plenty done and all I want is the occasional sharper edge to my ability.

But, I am hoping to get a lot done over the next little while and to that end I am putting out a few questions to my librarian readers...

I am hoping to convince IT to do a big upgrade on our student computers,
so given a computer room with a dozen fairly basic PC and no supervision by staff. How would you set them up?
I'm thinking of asking for Deep Freeze (or something similar), I want to be able to logon to them remotely, I want them to turn themselves on at the start of the day and off at the end of the day and I want them to have firefox (it is embarrassing that I reccomend firefox to all our students, but our own machines don't have it) but what add ons and scrips should I be running on these machines?

Also on the computing front, can anyone recommend a good open source portal system to give our students individual logons and access from home to our databases?

Well, no time for blogging, there's work to be done (thanks Ritalin).

22 June, 2009

Whatever Comes Next Part 1

Part one of whatever comes next is about the drugs. I think the prologue did a decent job of trying to define why I decided to jump back on the pharmaceutical bandwagon. But why specifically Ritalin?
Well, I have detailed on this blog my trials of Dexamphetamines. In some ways I loved them but despite the benefits I eventually grew to dislike the side effects too much. I lost my appetite (and 10km - which wasn't such a bad thing), I also found it affected my sleep more than I liked and when I didn't take my doses (because if I didn't need to be on it for a day or a week, I didn't want to still be dropping the tabs) I found myself slightly depressed.
Strattera also mucked up my sleep patterns and that was enough for me to scrap it, because the benefits were quite mild.
Fish oil (which I took for a while, but didn't mention on the blog) certainly helped my joint pain (damn these rugby injuries) but had no noticeable affect on my ADHDness. Although my psychiatrist had high hopes for it (and after looking at some studies so did I).

So, Ritalin is the obvious next choice for me to trial. And so far so good. I am on day 5 of a very low dose and I seem to be noticing some positive results. Nothing major yet (I'm writing in my blog again - but that could just as easily be because I have defined a topic worth writing about). However I do seem to be more alert and so far it has not had any negative affect on my sleep. I feel a little jumpy this morning and I'll have to keep an eye on that but that could also be because it is cold, I have a cold and I have had a rushed morning. So I am not too worried yet.

But I guess that if Ritalin isn't the one for me the only choice left is cocaine? Although I hear it is hard to get a prescription for that.

Prologue to Whatever Comes Next

This post may well be a long one because:

1. I am trialling Ritalin for the first time.

2. I am nearing the end of my time in my current position, so I can probably write more about my current job without risking unemployment.

(so, lets go).

At the end of the year my family and I will be uprooting ourselves and moving to Darwin for a couple of years (or perhaps longer). Unfortunately I will leave a lot of things unfinished at my current workplace and a lot more things unstarted. It is partially to rectify that situation that I have decided to try drugs once again. However, before I start labelling myself an unproductive member of society let me make a few excuses.

My current employer is in the not for profit educational sector. As such there is not a lot of money laying around for a librarian to trial new and exciting ways of doing things. But I knew that before I took the role and it didn't faze me at the time.
However, since I took the role there has been a reduction in IT support to the library (and quite a drastic one at that). Which unfortunately means that my plans to be fantastic with open source software have fallen in a heap. There is no way that I (or my staff) could manage to drive much in the way of technological change without significant support from IT. In my case, it is because as manager I have too many other duties which would prevent me from spending the long hours required to set new systems up and in the case of my staff it is because the simply do not have the IT skills needed.

My second excuse would be my 2IC, now this is a difficult problem to describe but in simplistic terms; my 2IC is an old-school librarian with very fixed ideas on how things should be done. And she was formerly the manager of the library here and has been with the organisation almost since it began 30 years ago. As such, although she stepped down from management some years ago, she still has a substantial investment in the organisation. Plus, she is a very dominant personality.
While I will admit that I am also a dominant personality, I also tend towards a certain avoidance of conflict (not always, but I like a peaceful life). I have therefore sometimes tended towards maintaining the status quo rather than pushing hard for change simply because it is too difficult to get 'buy in' from this staff member. Unfortunately, this staff member has taken my dislike of conflict and used it to her advantage from time to time. So if I am not at work for a day, I may come back to work and find a policy I have been looking at has been changed slightly or a direction I have given to a staff member has been countermanded. Now, these have not been major changes (probably because I have demonstrated that I am more than capable of being firm when I choose) but rather they have been just enough to annoy me without being anything that would seem significant to anyone outside this library.

So, why does this equal Ritalin?
Well, I want to make sure that I have explored every option and I have perhaps just under six months left here in which to make as many improvements as I can.
I also want to make sure that I haven't just been making excuses for some of these things not happening. If they haven't happened because of my ADHD then I want to know it but I am quietly confident that my ADHD has in fact contributed positively to my time here because (as I have demonstrated in every job I have had) I have a fantastic knack of thinking things that no one else has thunk or thunking things in ways no one else could.

this is my new topic for blogging,
my last six months as manager of this library and my final fling at weeding out the things that prevent the library here from doing all it could do for our students and introducing new and exciting ways of working which will (I hope) make life much much easier for whoever comes here after me.