I Want To Be A XXX Librarian, Part IV

Dear Internet,

My writing about the job finding process, the frustrations, and how to plan when you don’t get a job is not a new thing. I touched about it in library school:

I wrote extensively about the process when I graduated from library school and applied for 110 jobs before receiving an offer:

With a follow up in 2012 when a friend pointed me to a forum question on a knitting social media site (Ravelry) whether or not someone should go to library:

Over the years these posts are the top most read in regards to my professional writing. The job tracker [.xls] (2010) I created as a complementary tool has been downloaded over 100 times and it’s been reported back to me how useful the spreadsheet is.

(I use a similar version of the spreadsheet except by creating tables in Evernote to track the job application process. Eff Microsoft.)

Now that I’m back in the saddle in the job market again, I figured it was appropriate to write about the process of what’s going on six years later. But please be assured the above posts are still fairly relevant today as when I first wrote them.

(Note: The following posts are designed with the thought you know how to put together your resume/CV,  references, and writing letters of interest. If not, may the gods have mercy on your soul (and this is not the place where I’ll be teaching those skills. Go forth and google!))

The name of the new series is I Want To Be a XXX Librarian and shares the same tag as the previous SYWtbaL posts so everything is one neat place. (Lucky you!)

Here is what has happened in the series so far:

(I purposely held out on posting anything on this topic for the last few weeks because I wanted to make sure the updated #teamharpy post was seen by millions. But thanks to widgets, I have a link in the upper right hand corner of this page as a constant reminder of the status of the case. Yay technology!)

Caught up? Good.

(Before I begin, there are going to be hiring managers who are going to disagree the hell out of my suggestions. But here is a wonderful thing to remember: no one hiring manager agrees with another. I’ve polled, with similar questions to each, those who do hiring at a variety of institutions and there was never the same answer. The below is what works for me and I tend to have a higher than average interview rate, so YMMV.)

Today we’re going to discuss the hows, whats, and whens for applying for jobs.

What should be ready before you start applying for positions

  • You resume/CV and references in doc and PDF formats. Why? Some institutions will only take one format over the other.
  • Your reference document should have three professional references and three personal references along with their job titles, where they work, business email and phone numbers, and how they are relate to you (e.g. colleague, employer, etc). Why? Some jobs will ask you to include the document with your applications, others will require you to input the information into their software. Some will require to have three professional references where as others will want a mixture of both. Obviously make sure all of your references are aware you are applying for positions.
  • Have a document with the name of the places you’ve worked, their address, and their phone number (typically the number to HR). Make sure to go back at least 7 – 10 years. Why? Many (okay most) institutions who use HR software will request this information when you put in your employment history so they can confirm you worked there. I use HR’s phone number because I know of some supervisors who have over stepped the bounds of what they can and cannot say and you also need to account turnover in your previous department.
    • This document is for you reference only and is not going to be given out publicly so you can format it however you want.
  • Your transcripts in PDF format from every institution you graduated from. e.g. Have a bachelor’s and two master’s? You’ll need three transcripts. You can request these, sometimes for a fee, directly from the college. To verify its authenticity, the document should be directly from your college and PDF format. Why? Because HR is too lazy to fact check this themselves? I’m sure it is to prove the credentials you claim to have is true. Now here is a twist in the process: Some institutions will state they want “official transcripts not given to the student” and then provide digital only applications. Now AFAIK, those type of transcripts, digitally, can be hard to obtain, so whatever the college sends on to me is the one provide to the hiring institutions.
  • Have multiple versions of your resumeWhy? Because you may be applying for more than just librarian positions and you’ll want to highlight different skills for those type of jobs. Obviously do not have multiple resumes for every job, rather if you’re applying for UX positions, have a UX centered resume.
  • Have a digital portfolio. Why? I cannot stress this enough. In 2014, I wrote about the art of keeping a digital portfolio, why it was important along with examples – that’s how passionate I am about this topic. (If you throw up your resume in pdf format (obviously), don’t forget to redact your contact information). Also keep in mind: Employers are going to be googling you thus by having a professional web presence will greatly enhance your awesomeness and higher up the rankings rather than just the tumblr you created for your favorite TV show.
  • Use URL shorteners to specific sections of your digital portfolio to illustrate examples of your work. Why? Because, more often than not, you’re going to need to illustrate your work via the HR software OR in your letter of interest OR in interviews. e.g. I use http://bit.ly/lrpresentations to go directly to my presentations page, http://bit.ly/graphicdemia points to my graphic novel project.  Be smart how you use these and don’t forget to keep a list of the ones you’ve created!

Search for jobs once a week and where to search for them Applying for jobs is a full time gig in and of itself. The other day I applied for four positions over six hours with only bathroom breaks. Calculate about 1-2 hours per submission and that time adds up quickly.

Looking for jobs is also a full time process. I have nine websites and four RSS feeds that push me jobs. By waiting once a week, I can spend a day going through all of the sites and compiling a list of positions (with their URL obviously) on what to apply for in the following days. Also keep in mind that many positions have an open call period of at least a month, so if you hit the sites once a week, you’ll still be able to catch the previous weeks postings.

Right now I’m only looking for straight library jobs that deal with digital / web / systems / online in the title. Once I gain more skills in other fields, I’ll be expanding my search.

(Also note I’m looking specifically for academic positions, though a few public positions and corporations have popped up in my search and I’ve applied to those as well.)

Addendum: Know where you want to live and what amenities you want as you search. I’m free as a bird so right now I’m looking at positions with the following criteria:

  • Within an hour of a MINI dealership. If you didn’t know, I drive a MINI Cooper, which is now produced by BMW. The twist here is BMW dealers will not fix MINIs. I could find a speciality shop that will fix Jeeves but I have a sweet deal with my warranty so I’d rather not.
  • Trader Joe’s / Whole Foods nearby. I’m not joking. Finding Lisa-approved food (I’m allergic to dairy) is difficult if there is not one of the above available OR at there needs to be least a good hippie store will do in a pinch.
  • Preferably on the East Coast. To be closer to Europe. Again, I’m not joking.
  • Locations as follows in no particular order: East of the Mississippi, Chicago, no farther south than Nashville and/or the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic up through New England. I would consider New Orleans for the right job. (Not Ohio, Illinois except for Chicago, Michigan, Indiana, western Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia, any part of Kentucky other than Louisville or Lexington, west and northwest of the following: New York, Vermont, or Maine. I’m sure I’m missing a few others. Yes, I’ve found quite a few jobs (20 so far) that meet my criteria.)

Keep track of where and how you’re applying for these jobs This is where using something like the job tracker [.xls] comes in handy. You do NOT have to use a standalone spreadsheet anymore as Google Drive keeps it in the cloud for you. I use Evernote (also a cloud software) and created a table with the following columns: Position title, location, URL of the job add, end date, date sent the app, how sent (login and passwords for HR websites), and notes. In notes I comment if I was rejected, interview dates (and rejections), and anything else I need to know about that job. You can set this up any way you like but just make sure you do one to keep track of your applications.

When putting together your letter of interest, copy the job description / qualifications into a separate document to check against. This is something I just started doing recently. I cut and paste the job description and requirements onto a blank doc page. I give it half a screen of real estate with the other half the letter of interest to the institution I am applying for. As I hit the point of addressing the description/requirements in my letter, I strikeout the item in the other document.

Addendum: When writing your letter of interest, make sure to use keywords or phrases they have used in their descriptions/requirements. Sometimes the letters go through a screen process that just picks up on those keywords. Plus it shows you have a strong sense of attention to detail.

Have multiple templates of letters of interest. This is where I’m going to get a lot of grief. You’ll here over and over and over again that each letter needs to be structured to address the requirements of the job you’re applying for. This I do not disagree with. However, you’ll be applying for so many similar jobs, there is only a few ways you can say, “In this regard I was fundamental in XXX.” So here’s what I do:

  • Find a letter of interest I have already written.
  • Click save-as and rename it for the new position I am applying for. (My example is lastnamefirstname_nameofinstitution_titleofjob.doc)
  • Update the to field, the subject line of the position I am applying for, and the date.
  • Update the greeting.
  • I have a standard intro paragraph that is the same for every letter, “I am writing with great interest for the position of XXX as advertised on the XXX.” and I update it with the new information.
  • Then I start rewording, adding paragraphs from other letters of interest and it becomes a matter of strengthening, clean up, and tweaking for the next position. Even starting with a pre-written paragraph / phrase, I am still spending upwards of two hours per letter of interest.

So that’s pretty much it. Other then one day I don’t look for positions, I knock out one to two applications a day. When I’ve made a dent into the list, I start the search all over again.

Have any more tips or tricks? Add them to the comments!

your yearly update on teamharpy

Dear Internet,
I haven’t written much about #teamharpy, if anything really, since the case was dismissed back in March 2015 here or over on my profesh site. I’ve barely spoken about it publicly. There was/is nothing really left to say other than the case was dismissed. That is that. But there are no gag orders in the dismissal to prevent nina and I talking about it anytime or place we wanted to. Additionally there was no time frame when we had to keep the apologies and retractions up.
Yet nina and I felt safer not discussing because, hahahaha, who knows what will happen!
So we didn’t.
Majority of you know I’ve been applying for positions all over the midwest to east coast within the last year, 18 months if you include the few positions I applied for at the end of 2014. Today I wrote over at lisa.rabey.net,

I’ve had two offers rescinded and I’ve been the top two in several final positions with hints I would be extended the position and ultimately rejected. How do I know the case is affecting my employability? After the first or second interviews, the institution google searches me (I now know they have seen the pages related to #teamharpy), goes to my site(s), and spends hours combing them. One institution had seven different people combing my profesh site. How do I know this? By my web logs. I see who (by ip / domain name) has searched for me, how they found my site, and what they are reading on my site. Some continue to read this site long after the interview has been over.

What I forgot to mention is that at least three institutions there was at least one person at each who printed out reams of my blog pieces and became mildly obsessed with me. No, not scary at all.
Over at twitter I wrote,

But I’m getting ahead of myself. You can read the breakdown of the #teamharpy case at https://lisa.rabey.net/2016/01/we-need-to-talk-about-teamharpy/. Below is the commentary I gave on Twitter after the piece posted. 

 
As always, if you have questions, you can find me on twitter or contact me through this site.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in the Lisa-Universe: 20152011

we need to talk about #teamharpy

*nina has written their thoughts on the nearing year anniversary since the dismissal of the case.

Dear Internet,

March 25th is the one year anniversary of #teamharpy case being dismissed, by the plaintiff’s lawyers’ request no less, from court.

There are several reasons why I’m writing this.

First, to set the record straight, to tell in chronological order what happened and how it ended. If you search for me on any search engine, due to the popularity of the plaintiff’s website and other (large) websites that wrote about the case, there is nothing in the first pages of results discussing the dismissal or discussing the dismissal with accurate facts. My own websites barely stay on the first page.

Second, my professional reputation has been damaged. Not irrevocably, but fairly damaged. See reason above on search results. I’ve had two offers rescinded and I’ve been the top two in several final positions with hints I would be extended the position and ultimately rejected. How do I know the case is affecting my employability? After the first or second interviews, the institution google searches me (I now know they have seen the pages related to #teamharpy), goes to my site(s), and spends hours combing them. One institution had seven different people combing my profesh site. How do I know this? By my web logs. I see who (by ip / domain name) has searched for me, how they found my site, and what they are reading on my site. Some continue to read this site long after the interview has been over.

(What I initially forgot to mention is that at least three institutions there was at least one person at each who printed out reams of my blog pieces and became mildly obsessed with me. No, not scary at all.)

This is why I have the blurb box in the upper right corner stating the case has been dismissed and the #teamharpy link points to this page.

Now that’s out of the way, Let me catch you up what’s been going on:

  • August 2008 – October 2013 I receive first and second-hand accounts of the plaintiff’s alleged unwanted, mainly sexually harassing, behaviour, which allegedly was happening mainly at conferences.
  • October 2013 While I am at a conference, two separate individuals relate how each of them, at separate times, were allegedly harassed by the plaintiff. One reported when she rebuffed the plaintiff’s advances, the plaintiff allegedly responded, “Your husband doesn’t need to know.”
  • May 2014 Fed up with discussions of alleged numerous persons using conferences as their ground for alleged harassing behaviour, I go on a rant on Twitter about the lack of community accountability and name the plaintiff as one of the assumed and known persons perpetuating this alleged behaviour
    • I did not use the word “alleged” in my tweet, which could have changed everything.
  • May 2014 nina writes a blog post, “Time to Talk About Community Accountability.” While she names the plaintiff once (possibly twice), the piece is more about why professional communities (any community, not just library profession) seemingly refuse to police their own. She uses my tweet as the jumping point.
  • June 2014 nina and I receive cease and desist papers from the plaintiff’s Canadian lawyer. We are asked to remove the tweet / blog post and apologize.
    • After much discussion between the two of us, we decide to stand firm on our words and refuse to remove the tweet and blog post. I mean, who sues over a single tweet and a blog post written by two persons who do not have influence?

Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

  • July 2014 nina and I are served papers, again from plaintiff’s Canadian lawyer, with the plaintiff suing us for, collectively, $1.25M. This is not a typo.

I live in the US, nina lives in Canada. Why the Canadian lawyer and why sue us in Canada?

Here is the simplified answer: In the US, if someone defames another, it is up to the defamee to prove what the defamer said was/is not true. The burden of proof lies on the defamee.

In Canada, the opposite is true. It is up to the defamers (nina and me) to prove what we say is true.

Hence the Canadian courts getting involved.

You may be asking yourself, “You live in the US. Can they sue you in Canada?” The answer, simplified, is yes. But, I can decide not to accept the summons and they are up shit’s creek without a paddle — to some degree. In my understanding, once they sue me in Canada, they cannot sue me in the US. US / Canada have ties in various legal things that prevent the same case being tried in both countries – ever. So yes, I could have gotten myself out of the case with a technicality, while nina could not.

So why did I not use the technicality? I was the one who started this mess, I needed to stand my ground, and I needed to support nina. I am the one who sleeps with me at night and I could not morally leave anyone to hang for something I was party to .

So I stayed.

I will and would stand by my responsibilities all over again. No questions asked.

How did the hashtag #teamharpy come about? nina coined the term in relation to how women who whistle blow are treated. I picked it up and it blew up. (Apparently it’s now being used by a muay thai group. Did they NOT do their research on the name?) Both sides of case use(d) the tag in Twitter to relate news and case movements. The Canadian lawyer’s last tweet in relation to the case was in November 2015, eight months after the case had been dismissed.

  • August 2014 – February 2015 Lawyers for both sides go back and forth. Plaintiff’s American and Canadian lawyers allege the plaintiff is being shunned from their various professions (library conference keynoter and futurist to name a few) and is allegedly losing money by the truckload.
    • We (nina, myself, our lawyers) continue to find (and archive) evidence on various, public, social media sites depicting the plaintiff is still preforming their professional responsibilities, including keynoting and working around the world. During the cross-examination, when presented with that evidence, plaintiff allegedly demurs on their activity.
    • When we did the call for witnesses, 22 women came forward. Of the 22, two agreed to do a deposition, and one ended up being our witness.
      • The general consensus between nina and myself is the position of these women could be damaging to their mental and emotional health, as well as open up a whole can of worms that could prove traumatic for them. We did not want or put anyone in that position. We understand why the other 21 refrained from going forward.
    • A neutral person put together a change.org petition requesting the plaintiff cancel the lawsuit since it went against everything that librarians/library science stood for. Over 1000 people signed the petition in agreement. As the case heated up, I requested the petition to be removed as to not antagonize plaintiff and their lawyers. It was removed.
  • February 2015 The process of the cross-examination had come to fruition. Myself, the single witness, and nina convene in Toronto. We are there two days.
  • February 2015 The plaintiff’s lawyers offer up a dismissal (case is dropped; we do not get sued) if we follow X things. nina and I discuss it and decide to accept the offer.
    • Why? Canadian legal system does not work like the American legal system. First, Canadians are not litigation happy. Second, when it comes types of cases that go before the courts, family court is almost always first up on the docket. If we were lucky, our case would go to court in about two years. Yes, two years. It was agreed to take the dismissal for two reasons: First, our mental health. The last year had taken a huge toil on both of us and seeing it to the bitter end (which we had both hoped to do) wasn’t looking so good anymore. Second, money. We raised $15K which completely went to pay our legal expenses. The remainder of the legal bill was paid by myself and nina.
  • March 2015 Actions for the dismissal, and with an agreement on both sides, the case is dismissed. The agreement is nina and I post retractions and apologies on our individual websites and on the #teamharpy website. We also have to tweet we’re apologizing with links to the apologies.

If we thought our own personal harassment up until that time was awful, it became nuclear after those tweets. I remember after tweeting the requested info, I shut the lid on my laptop, and didn’t look at the internet for a few days. When I came back, my mentions were a list of insults, sexual harassment, death threats, and other fun things from colleagues in the profession, gamer gate, people not even associated with anything in the profession/case, and random trolls. I reported and blocked hundreds of twitter, facebook, and fake email accounts and I had to scrub off all contact information from my websites (and anywhere on the internet) so I would not get doxxed.

During the case, and even significantly after, there were articles, opinions, acts of defaming our names and images, including:

  • People not involved / associated with either myself, nina, the profession, or the case writing / commenting as if they had first hand knowledge (no one knew who the hell these people were)
  • Nearly none of them were Canadian lawyers, did not understand Canadian law, or even understand American law but proffered up opinions on such matters
  • Articles were written on several websites such one that rhymes with box and another that rhymes with fifart that completely and utterly had the information (what nina and I did for a living, the details of the case, everything) so skewed, it was laughable. We didn’t care if they disagreed, we did take umbrage at the poor reporting of even simple facts.
  • We were called “grifters” by several well known sites such as the one that rhymes with nopefat. A “grifter” is a con-artist, mainly out to get money. Somehow the fact (yes fact) the plaintiff sued us for $1.25M, and we did not counter sue even for damages, was not lost on me.
  • The plaintiff, after the case was dismissed, appeared to have forgiven us, accepted our apologies, and allegedly “moved on and find peace,” etc but I found full copies of the apology and retractions, tied with my image and / or nina’s image as the preface on the platintiff’s public social media accounts on sites such as Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and SlideShare. I sent in DMCA takedowns to every site I could find and most of images / content were removed from most of those sites.
  • The plaintiff  was using covers of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in social media, tagging the tweets / other social media with the #teamharpy tag, and pointing out we were allegedly witch hunting the plaintiff across the internet, just like in the witching hunters in the play.

Additional information:

  • There is no gag order in the dismissal, which means we can openly discuss the case.
  • There is/was no time limit to when the apologies/retractions needed to be up on our websites. I took  mine down about a month later and TheExHusband set up blocking so anyone trying to get the archive, direct links, or any other access will be denied
  • All tweets in relation to the case, even the deleted ones, were captured and made available by a third party. If you scroll all the way to the bottom (the beginning) of that link and move up, you’ll see the timeline of the harassment everyone in the case went through from trolls, gamer gate supporters, and more mixed in with the positive support

There you have it

This information is true and chronologically correct to the best of my knowledge. I am speaking from my perspective only.

Edited
1/29/2016 11:59EST to clean up incorrect legalese.
1/29/2016 17:15EST to clean up some grammar mistakes and add a clarification.
1/31/2016 14:28EST to add nina’s piece

How To: Do something (anything) to enhance your skill set

Dear Internet,

In the last six months of job hunting, I’ve begun paying closer attention to the fluidity of the requirements of positions. While my background is  pretty diverse, I wanted to start thinking more of becoming a specialist in a few areas rather than just being an overall jill of all trades.

(Yes, yes, I know I ranted about unicorn / blended / full stack librarians and how it is bunk (still is bunk) but girl needs to pay her bills and the profession doesn’t move that fast.)

Part of the problem in having a huge variety of interests is they’re closely related fields so there is a lot of crossover but this is slowly not becoming a problem as I start breaking out the pieces I was most interested in and fitting them into a puzzle I can better understood.

After going over my interests, it became pretty clear what I wanted to do, as much as I loathe to say these two words, is to become a full stack developer. I want to know the back end of the server but I also wanted to learn how to develop and optimize the front end too. I’ll be writing more about how I’m doing on these things the upcoming weeks as I continue to sort and shuffle to make it work for me.

(And how you can do most of this training for free.)

For today though I want to to give you an idea how to get started if all or some of things interest that interest me and might interest you. Fill out the comment box below if you have more suggestions.

Back End
I’ve done some back end server stuff a million and a half years ago but that stuff is getting beyond rust. I keep it on my resume as most places want to know you can understand and move along the command line, write a few scripts, typically things many of us can do in our sleep. I wanted to reboot my back end education and this is how I’m starting:

  • Step one: Buy a book on linux. Yes, yes, I know there are a trillion and a half websites that will teach you a-z of linux, but I am a tactile as well as a visual learner. I need a book next to me when I’m working so I can take notes and what not. If websites work for you, awesome. I will probably use them for troubleshooting and quick reference.
    • I recommend The Linux Command Line for a couple of reasons, even if you’re familiar with using the command line already. This is a thorough walkthrough from setting your terminal shell to writing scripts. Caveat: Do not buy a flavor specific book (Redhat, Ubuntu, etc). While 95% of the commends work on all flavors, that 5% will get you if you buy a Ubuntu book and you’re working on Redhat.
  • Step two: Download VirtualBox, a virtual machine software. Some like VMWare or, if you’re on a Mac, Parallels but I found both to be clumsy and / or resource intensive. Things may have changed in the last few years since I looked at them, but they left such a terrible scar on my soul I refuse to use them.
  • Step three: Download your flavor of linux. You’ll need to download the ISO separately from VirtualBox but you’ll install your flavor within VirtualBox. To clarify: VirtualBox doesn’t come with any OSes and you’ll need to get them separately. Which I suppose I could have just said outright.
    • Choices are: Ubuntu, CentOS, RedHat and a metric ton more. You’ll want to make sure you’re downloading the desktop version for your experimentation. Now that you have a virtual machine, you can download variety of flavors to see which one works for you.
    • What’s the difference between the flavors: Think of cars. Every car on the planet has similar set up: four wheels, an engine, doors, steering wheel. What makes them different is design, size, and features. That’s exactly the same thing for the differing flavors of linux.
  • Step Four (optional): If you need something beyond books or websites, look for online classes. Udemy has classes fairly cheap but I found their classes to be hit or miss. Linux.com has suggestions. If your library has a subscription, Lynda.com also has pretty intensive courses.

Front End
I use “front end” to refer to not only the coding but also the organization of information, how it works, and its accessibility. These are a lot of different whole positions in themselves but I’m curious as hell about all of them. There is a lot going on here but just so we’re clear most librarian positions do not expect you to have expert knowledge (they may say so but really, what they ask for and what they want are two different things) in any or all of these things. Most will refer to front end as strictly web development / coding. If you decide to work outside of library land, YMMV.

  • SEO Search Engine Optimization is easy to learn but with libraries difficult to implement. The basic idea behind SEO is to better improve your site’s rankings in search engines so you can be found, but with libraries it becomes moot as most people use “name of city library” in their search bar and the first hit is usually that city’s library website. What SEO can do for libraries is optimize their sites for accessibility, which is important. It’s also a good skill to have if you’re looking to consult or move out of library land. Some things to know:
    • There is currently no industry standard certification on SEO. If you find websites that claim to get you industry certified, it’s bullshit.
    • Be weary of sites that want you to download software, even free, as most of them are ad ridden, unneeded, and only for Windows. A lot of the tools, if not all of the tools, you’ll need are already available online.
    • SEO Beginners has a good list of sites to read if you’re interested in keeping up with the hows and why of how search engines work, the research, the techs, and new techniques. (Google’s algorithm changes enough that what works for SEO in one version won’t necessarily work in the current version.) I read moz.com and searchengineland.com on the regular to keep abreast of changes and news.
    • Books are hit or miss. Mainly miss and mostly bunk. As of July 2015, a lot of SEO books just cull information from the internet, slap it together as an eBook, and call it a day. Don’t be fooled by most of the books that have high rankings — you’ll notice a lot of them are not verified purchases (which if your book is only available on Amazon and in eBook form — how in the hell are these people giving A++ stars?). I do recommend Adam Clarke’s SEO 2016 eBook. While I originally gave it three stars, his amiable response and updates were significant enough to move that up to a 4.
    • You can take classes at Udemy and there are a ton of free ones. The ones by moz.com are going to be legit since they are the SEO experts but look for highly rated popular ones to step your toes in.
  • Social Media This is more of my expert area as I’ve been writing, using, and lecturing on social media for years. What I’m more interested in is not what is popular and what the youths use in so much as what social is (ir)relevant to libraries, how to manage and produce content, and getting started. My stance has been, and will be, not all social media is for all libraries. I’ve fallen off the wagon for this but bookmark the above page if you want to get updates on the regular, which I promise to do.
  • User Experience / User Interface / Information Architecture These are fields I’m really interested in and the ones I really need more instruction on. I have given introductory talks on very, incredibly, simple introductions to UX, but a lot of what I’ve gleaned over the years has been listening / learning from experts. Smashing is a very good resource. Listen to the LibUX podcast which is run by twitter friends Michael/Amanda for talks, resources, and more. The holy grails on UX/UI are The Design of Everyday Things and Don’t Make Me Think. Amazon has a wide variety of books on UX, UI, and IA. I have the first edition of Information Architecture (looks like I’ll have to update), which is also a holy grail. IA is typically tied in with UX/UI in a variety of fashions (mainly usability).
  • Coding I will freely admit I am eating crow on this topic. I postulated for years not every librarian needs to learn how to code to work in tech (and why I get my knickers in a knot when a lot of the librarian tech stuff is mostly coding), and while I still maintain this to be mostly true, I’ve conceded I need to learn how to code. Something. Right now I’m mainly interested in HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Ruby on Rails.
    • First, I’m going to sing the praises of teamtreehouse.com. My local library has a subscription to the service (and they also have a subscription to Lynda.com), so for me it’s free. Their classes are fantastic, well organized, in-depth, and some places (Like CodeLouisville) consider them to be a standard for learning. Plus the instructors are professionals in their field, not some Tom, Dick, and Harry who can put up a class on Udemy. Treehouse also has a large variety of coding  tracks (WordPress development, Ruby on Rails, etc) that are comprised of variety of classes within those tracks. Plan on spending between 25-40 hours per track. Don’t be an idiot like me and do 40 hours over 3.5 days for reasons. They are going to include tracks on soft end development like SEO and currently have a track on starting your own consulting firm and digital literacies. And if my library dumps Treehouse, I am going to cough up the $25/mo to get their service as I love them that much.
    • Second, in addition to Treehouse there services like Udemy, UdacityLynda.com, and others have loads of free (and cheap) classes to take on a particular language. Lots of languages (I’d hazard most if not all) have classes/tutorials set up already on their or related sites.
    • Third, if you’re going to code, hie thee over to cloud9, a cloud based development workspace. You get one work area for free in which you can run one whatever at a time. e.g. If you install and muck about WordPress, you won’t be able to install the environment for Python. You’ll have to scrap your WordPress workspace to do Python, but hey!, it’s free. (They also have paid tiers which allow you to upgrade to more workspaces and so on.)

Additional jazz

If you’re going to program/web dev/whatever, you’re going to want to find a local geek/nerd/hacker space. L-ville has CodeLouisville (where I’m going to be taking in-person classes on front end web dev starting in the spring) and as well as a few other hacker spaces. Almost every city I’ve been to has some kind of *space where you can muck about, learn new things, and find your peoples. If you search MeetUp, you should find specific groups, e.g. Louisville Linux, where you can meet people, learn something, participate events, and so on. Last but not least, find mailing lists of what you’re interested in to keep you fresh on what’s happening in that thing. Alternately, you can get updates from their websites via RSS or mailing lists as well.

tl;dr

I’ve covered a lot of ground today but this should give you a good idea of where to pick up training, information, and etc if you’re interested in any of my topics or you can use these techniques for your own interests.

As mentioned, I’ll be updating over the upcoming weeks on projects and things to keep me on track and so nosey people can follow along.

Au revoir!

The Great Job Hunt of 2016

Dear Internet,

During the great job hunt, a million and a half years ago or 2010, I started a post with,

In the list of ridiculous things that I consider to be dehumanizing, job hunting is one of them. And by ridiculous I mean that I, myself, find this process ridiculous because the level of bullshit and hoop jumping and dehumanizing because I’m beyond irritated that we, the applicants, get judged by missed punctuation and our activities online. But we, in turn, cannot judge our potential employers (well, at least publicly) for the exact same things for the fear of their potential wraith.

Six years on that has definitely not changed.

If you’ve been following this blog in the last week, I ranted on job titles, job descriptions and “other duties as assigned,” and the fallacy of unicorn / blended positions. You’ll see much of my rant mimics what I wrote all those years ago under the auspice category title, “So, You Want To Be A Librarian.”

Almost nothing has changed. Scouts honor.

In 2010, I ranted about the man keeping me down, unable to find a position after library school (114 applications!), and the ridiculousness of applying for these jobs (the awful HR software — holy cats!).

Then I got a job. That contract ended. I started writing a book, the book stalled, and well, here I am.

It’s 2016 and the job application process is almost eerily the same. I’ve applied for 120+ library positions, the HR software still remains cagey as hell, I have had scores of interviews but no job offers. I’ve dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s, I’ve done just about anything anyone has asked me to and yet…

Yet…

Nothing.

Those offering their (oft not asked for) opinion tout out the same reasoning why I’m not getting positions now as I was then such as: my language on social media, what I’m willing to discuss on social media / my blog, what I am / am not doing to make me more desirable. I don’t have enough experience/skills, I have too much experience/skills.

I believed enough in #teamharpy and I did not back down.

In 2010 I understood the high probability I was not getting positions, despite being the golden child of my graduating class, was likely a combination of everything and not just a single thing. Tie in coming out of a recession, the job requirements were in the process of shifting, and everything was possible. Nothing was improbable.

In 2016, much of this has has not changed. It seems to still be a sellers, not a buyers, market. I still have friends, as qualified as myself, who can’t find positions. Many have moved on to non-library positions in corporate or non-profit ventures.

The truths as I am being googled relentlessly and the case still figures prominently in the search results no matter how you spin it. As I wrote more eloquently the other day, “… prospective employees love the resume, letters of interest, my portfolio, and everything I stand for, but not me due to the case.

Is it the case that’s holding me back? I think so: I’ve had job offers rescinded more than once after the the school googled me and got the details. Do I think it’s also has to do with what I’ve been writing, tweeting, Facebooking, etc online? I genuinely have no idea but I’ll hazard some places might see that as a liability.

(One person told me these places have a “right” to google their possible future employees. Sure. Are they are also googling their current employees? Because I can tell you with certainty I have and not everyone is coming up roses.)

So where does that leave me? Applying for jobs, writing the rocking letters of interest, work on adding more skills to add to my growing cadre of existing skills.

I just won’t give up. I love what I do and that is something you can’t take away from me.

As that stands I have to work two times, no a million times, harder to prove my worth. Is this blackballing, because let’s be honest that is what it is, ever going to end? Yes. When? No idea.

But it will at some point.

It has to.

I Want To Be A XXX Librarian, Part III

Dear Internet,

Monday, I discussed the ridiculousness of job titles and their descriptions.
Tuesday, I provided empirical proof of what job descriptions really mean, including examples and suggestions to make changes in this system.

Today I’m going to talk about “unicorn” and “blended” positions and how they are stifling the profession, not enhancing it.

Now I acknowledge I’m going to get some flack for this post — mainly because people will be clutching their pearls re: economy, location, cost of living, position within the library, and more. I get it. I do. Those are all valid concerns and statements.

But in the end, the argument remains the same: We’re expecting too much out of people and pay them too little for their expertise, knowledge, and education.

(I have a post brewing on the ridiculousness on interviews. Oh yes, yes I do.)

Unicorn jobs
When yesterday’s post was circulating the interwebs, numerous people commented it was an apt description of what a unicorn job looks like. I’m not one to disagree when people are commenting on my cleverness, but there is more to just the description alone that makes these positions “unicorn.”

Using my previous job as the example, I will dissect the job to discern how many positions one person was/are to preform.

  • Traditional library services – reference, collection development, etc
  • System administrator – ILS, unix/linux, Windows, and other back end
  • Database administrators – maintain the library’s various databases, including intranet
  • Web developer (all flavors) – Scripting, programming languages, web design, graphic design, etc
  • Social media / outreach / content creator / community manager – Maintain online presence, work with web developer on content creation, maintain analytics, SEO, UX/UI, etc
  • Accessibility manager –  Maintain accessibility standards not only in the physical space but also online space. They would work with the web developer and social media manager on content, library database accessibility standards, etc
  • Copyright manager – Work with staff (library / college) on all duties in accordance with copyright(ed) materials
  • Open source guru – Work with numerous previously related managers / professionals on curating, suggesting, maintaining open source software for the needs of the library
  • Project manager – Creates, maintains, and works with various aforementioned on coordinating workflows for projects

Nine separate jobs. NINE. All rolled up into a single position.

Yes. One position.

Not only am I to know how to manage library’s databases and backend servers I need to have an in-depth knowledge of UX/UI, copyright, accessibility, project management, and so on.

And you want to pay me HOW MUCH for that privilege?

Now another set of pearl clutching: “We cannot afford to hire more than X people.” “We don’t need a whole host of services such as mentioned, just a tiny bit.” And my favorite,

It’s always been this way.”

We used to use ice blocks for our fridges and sent conversations using telegraphs. No, it doesn’t have to be, “always been this way.”

You’re not a forward thinking library, you’re cheap, you’re expecting miracles to happen in too short amount of time span, and the big one: you’re devaluing your employees..

Basically you’re cheap. And not forward thinking.

There. I said it.

“Forward thinking” is one of the hot questions prospective employees ask you — what do you think is “forward thinking” for libraries? And the answer they want to hear is, “3D printers,” “makerspaces,” and “geospatial technology.” Because, you know, everyone does that.

I want to marry James McAvoy but there’s a snowball chance in hell that’ll happen.

(Hume was on point when he posited just because X happened over and over again, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get the same result with X in the future. Inductive reasoning. In Lisa parlance: Just because I haven’t been able to marry James McAvoy in the past, doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future though experience tells me it will.)

Blended positions
Blended positions are the new hotness in library land and are incredibly similar to unicorns. In my understanding, a blended position is where not only you have your job but you’ll have basic knowledge/experience/etc for someone else’s job thus if said someone else calls out sick, and they were the cataloger, you could pick up their slack.

You know, while still doing your job.

Now I’ve heard this described as more as “helping” people, because everyone has a little bit of knowledge of the other, but the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became it’s another shot at keeping the budget in line.

Library administrators want people to have specialized skills while also being generalists.

Huh?

That is what it boils down to. They want someone who has a second master’s in X while having their MLIS, while also having specialized skills in another field, keeping up with all of that while adding new skills to their  resume.

Are you tired yet? I am. I can barely keep up with my areas of interest let alone pick up yet more interests.

Can you?

Again, I get it. Not everyone is an ivy league or a wealthy community who can command separate people for each of the above listed positions. That’s not unreasonable. But many of those positions don’t require MLIS degrees and nor should you require the candidates to have them. You’re watering down the profession requiring everyone to be everything.

And you know the hilarious bit?

Many of my friends, who have MLIS’ and were doing any one of the above, ended up moving out of library land and into a position that specialized in one specific thing (server admin, database admin, etc). And you know what else?

They got paid a whole effing more than what they were commanding at their previous library.

Sometimes as much as 50% more.

So here is a library begging for everyone to be specialized and generalized, who pay squat, and seem perturbed when their unicorns / blended people scamper off to other positions.

To put it mildly: We’re effing ourselves over.

I’m typically considered to be a unicorn as I have a long history of working in tech, I have two masters’ degrees, I’m trained as an archivist, and my professional interests are in a whole ‘nother area. (You may not agree to this, but you know, your opinion and all that rot.) And I’ve mentioned before, prospective employees love the resume, letters of interest, my portfolio, and everything I stand for, but not me due to the case.

Always second runner up, I am.

I don’t mind being all of those things. Previous skills learned in previous jobs means I’m a lot more able, and flexible, to pick up new things. e.g. During my first foray into college, I worked at a meat packing plant stuffing sausages into the bottom of their plastic containers before they were vacuumed packed and shipped. You know what that job gave me? A very good eye for detail (every sausage had to be just so), flexibility in working different shifts (my hours varied), and standing on my feet for long periods of time.

Many job positions require those three things and hey! I learned them at a meat packing plant.

I will admit I kind of love being a unicorn, I get to learn new things and exalt my awesomeness all over the place. The downside, however, is I got burned out fairly quickly, I lost my steam, and started hating my job.

My suggestions are to not require MLIS’ for every goddamned position in your library; be flexible on those position requirements; actually pay for your employees professional development; stop demanding 1000% when you’re only paying 69%.

Stop watering down the profession. Stop demanding more bang for your buck. Stop asking for things that are not a benefit to your library.

Ditch the goddamned team building exercises, Myers-Brigg tests, or any other bullshit. Everyone hates doing them, they tend to lie to make themselves look better, and things never change.

If you want to really change, start utilizing your existing staff on their skills and abilities. Start paying your employees more. Start giving them an opportunity to grow without planning to chop them down later. (e.g. Assume they will get bored and leave once they obtain said skills.) And most of all? Listen to your employees. Listen to what their wants and needs are and parlay them into your mission plan, or whatever buzzword filled thing that describes your library.

Change the “always has been” to actually be “forward thinking.”

P.S. If you are in a unicorn or blended position, and love it, great. I’m glad someone is getting something out of it. And to clarify, I get some library’s need backups as they are short staff, just don’t expect them to know everything about that other person’s job.


Did I get Hume’s meaning wrong? Am I incorrect about what blended relationships mean? Am I missing something? Comments are open! (Just don’t be an ass and effing it up for the rest of the population.)

Tomorrow, I will finally talk about pay and benefits. Huzzah!

Mental Illness, Shame, and the Art of Asking – 2016 Edition

#LisMentalHealth week is an initiative started by my good friend Cecily Walker and Kelly McElroy. You can follow along on Twitter, add resources to the Google doc, or check out the Storify of Monday’s chat.
Dear Internet,
If you’ve been reading (or following me on social media), it’s no surprise I’m open about my mental health. I talk pretty extensively on being bipolar (especially since I’m bipolar one which means I creep towards mania than depression), mental health in general, borderline personality disorder, adhd, depression when I get it, anxiety, and about my drugs, shrink, and fuck, probably a lot more I’m forgetting.
While I try not let me be these diseases, so much of what they do is an integral part of my life, it’s very hard to talk about them in some sort of context, “I’m being cray today. Ugh!”
So here is a week where I can talk freely and abundantly about my brain with professionals in my chosen career only to find as I opened up this editor to write — I am stumped on what exactly to say.
Three years ago (!), spurned by a TED Talk by Amanda Fucking Palmer, I wrote this piece: “Mental Illness, Shame, and The Art of Asking.”
In case you missed it, here is Amanda’s talk:

What I said three years ago

Yesterday, I was part of a panel at MSU Comics Forum where we gave a presentation on Golden Age: Comics and Graphic Novel Resources in Libraries. Our schtick is to present on this topic at non-library conferences because we knew it was important for artists, writers, creators, educators, and comic book lovers to be aware of what/how libraries are doing with comics and graphic novels. Within the library world, it is a given. Outside the library world, not so much.
 
While prepping for my talk, I was debating on whether or not to mention I was bipolar and relate that to graphic novels available on the topic. If part of my argument is graphic novels should be in libraries is because they help broach difficult topics, is this not a difficult topic and ergo a perfect example? The other question that would be asked is what kind of obligation do I have in mentioning I am bipolar to anyone about anything? Why does the onus fall on me?
 
This debate went on in my head up until I took the podium.
 
When the slide came up I had earmarked to mention being bipolar, I found myself just saying it as naturally if you please:
 
“I’m bipolar. I’ve had several friends who’ve read Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me and say to me, ‘Okay. I understand what you’re going through. It was eye opening.’ And this is perfectly illustrates how graphic novels and comics can help broach difficult topics.”
 
Several heads in the audience nodded with agreement.
 
In the space of a few minutes, I had negotiated in my head the trust relationship between myself and the audience. I gave myself permission to be candid. The floor did not open up and swallow me nor did fire come reigning down the heavens.
 
While I was feeling manic up until that moment, and then the world shifted into focus. When my 15 minutes was done, I felt my body relax for the first time in weeks.
 
Before watching AFP’s talk last night, I had not realized the mental negotiations taking place in my head about having a mental illness were about exchanges in trust with whomever. Oh, not you Internet, but with those in contact of my daily life, who don’t follow me across the social sphere or read this blog. There is a price tag on honesty, and on revealing, one that was too high in the past to contemplate, and one that is constantly always under scrutinizing but is becoming easier to negotiate.
 
AFP rationalized it is not about taking a risk, rather it is trust. Shame comes in when those not part of the negotiation attempt to criticize it. I am currying trust with my readership by telling them about my crazy, but someone who doesn’t read my blog, or know me, starts to make judgements on the already established link between me and my readership, they are installing shame on the affair. Anything different is open to criticism and this needs to change.
 
My name is Lisa and I am bipolar.
It needs to be said, it has to be said, I will continue to say it.

That piece still sums up what I feel today, except when it’s not.
Bipolar can be controlled with drugs and therapy. I’ve been on the same cocktail for over a year now and 9 times out of 10, life is pretty even keel. Now Borderline Personality Disorder is taking center stage, rearing its ugly head and that has been running my life for the last year+.
BPD has ruined a lot of things with the most current such as TheBassist1 breaking up with me not because he didn’t love and want me, but because I was a flight risk2 and will always be a flight risk until I got my shit together.
BPD has ruined not only romantic relationships, but platonic relationships; it’s distorted my world view; it’s fucked a lot of things for me and sometimes I feel utterly and completely out of control. “I hate you, don’t leave me!” “Everyone hates me; I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread.” “I have made a mistake somewhere and now I will be shunned/fired/etc.”
Coupled with being bipolar, I’m often surprised I’ve made it past 40. Hell, past 30.
I talk a lot about the domino effect which has plagued me these last few years. But what I haven’t discussed is exactly how that affected me on a much more personal level:

  • The #teamharpy case has made me a leper in the library world
  • nina and I racked up $15K in legal fees
  • I ran myself into $40K credit card debt between September 2014 and June 2015
  • On paper I’ve been homeless, on and off, since October 2014
  • I’ve had several breakdowns, starting with a long period of mania that lasted for about six months, then a bout of depression, back to mania, which finally came to a head in October when TheBassist broke it off with me.
  • From October to mid-December I rarely left TheExHusband’s condo or got out of my jimjams or did any kind of self-care. I ugly cried nearly every day
  • I’ve rarely smoked more than a couple of cigarettes a month until this past summer where I’m coming up to half a pack a day
  • While not suicidal, I’ve been in crisis at least twice in the last year

I’m probably missing a few things but this is the laundry list of ills that have been the albatross in my life for the last 18 months. A lot of these are my own choices, “If only I had…”

  • …used the word ‘alleged’ in that fucking tweet
  • …stop spending money on useless shit since I don’t have a job
  • …stopped denying everything was great and I was sick
  • …listened to what my loved ones said instead of thinking I could go at this alone

There are a lot of “If onlys.” Aren’t there always?
Being mentally ill is a goddamned highway with lots of on and off ramps. You make decisions based on your illness, it backfires, and you lose something important. You make a decision based on your illness, it comes up smelling of roses. You just never know how the die is going to roll and we keep taking the chance that what we decided was right.
We’re gamblers, we are. We worry by not telling anyone, we’ll not be able to get help when we need it. We worry if we do tell someone, we’ll lose out on life/partners/jobs. We worry how drugs will affect us or if self-care will actually work. We worry about the stigma, the pain, the anguish, the shame. We make ourselves sicker because we cannot disclose our sickness without fear something terrible is going to happen.
And the most painful thing? No one trusts you. TheBassist doesn’t trust me. TheExHusband doesn’t trust me. I’ve lost a lot of friends who can no longer trust me. What comes out of my mouth today can and has been either half-way true or another variation tomorrow3. It’s hard to ask for help when no one trusts you, even if they love you.
A lot of hard questions are coming up in the #lismentalhealth chat. Questions I want to be the queen of all that is mentally ill and bestow my wisdom to everyone as I have all the answers (“I am the greatest thing since sliced bread.”). I’m afraid to post because I don’t want to be seen as a scene stealer (“Everyone hates me.”). I don’t want to seem “weak” (“I can control this thing no matter what you say”), whatever that means, and I don’t want people to take pity on me even though I crave their adoration (“Don’t leave me.”). I’m a raging, sarcastic asshole towards people (“I hate you.”)
Being mentally ill is goddamned exhausting. I think this is one thing we can all agree upon.
One of the questions that did come up I can, somewhat, safely answer is about disclosing your illness to current and future employers. Right now I’m of the mindset of “No.” In my last position, because I was hell bent on being open and honest, I told my immediate boss. Within a few months, they used my illnesses against me. See the revised job description they put up when they did a call after my contact was about to expire. Look particularly at 12. They also would use verbiage such as, “Go take more drugs,” and “have you seen your therapist lately” out of spite. (Yes, I did try to get them reprimanded for such impertinence but since no one heard them, I had no physical proof…you get the idea where this going, right?) Despite the disability act/equal opportunity form you can volunteer to answer when you apply for a job, I choose “no response” to the question or I don’t fill out the damned thing at all. I cannot take the chance if someone sees I’m bipolar they will automatically disqualify me from getting a job. While this is illegal, I’ll never know since I will just get your standard rejection.
I have nothing to say. I have everything to say. I have a zillion answers. I have no answers.
I wish I did.
xoxo,
Lisa

1. One day there will be a day when I don’t mention him in a piece but today is not that day.
2. I can’t blame him for this part of why our relationship failed this time around. When the love of you life is leaving you every couple of months and then calls you ugly crying, you’d probably cut ties off too. But that’s a post for another time.
3. Pinky swear, on my grandmother’s grave, everything I’ve written in here, my world, has been true. It may have been fucked up, crazy sounding, or depressing as fuck, but this is the only place I have always felt like my safe space and thus can be completely honest.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2011, 2011, 1997

An Errant Librarian

Dear Internet,

I know. It’s been forever. Let me catch you what’s been going on in roughly in the last 18 months.

  • Due to the new union contract, I decided to leave my last position when the existing contract ended and took a gap year to write a book July 2014
  • My yet unnamed book stalled November 2014
  • I’ve been steadily job hunting since February 2015
  • The #teamharpy case settled out of court March 2015
  • I’ve started selling a pieces to online magazines starting August 2015

Since April 2015, I’ve been applying for loads of jobs, getting a lot of interviews, which lead to getting two offers and having those two offers rescinded. The job hunt continues always.

I currently have one outstanding interview I’m waiting on a response (yay / nay). I also interviewed with another institution during that same time period and gave a presentation as part of the interview process.

That particular institution called me a month later to tell me they were pulling the job and absorbing the duties into the library department with the caveat if that had not happened, I would have landed the job. Honestly? I was relieved.

Yet, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

These two in-person institution interviews were second step in the job process. Both jobs have a lot going for them but I feel I belong more in the Connecticut position rather than in Kentucky. During the in-person interview, I feel like the Connecticut people are my people. The job is more enticing, with a lot more opportunities.

If I do not land the Connecticut gig, I, as always, have a back up plan a, b, c, d, and e.

  • Plan A: Continue to apply for librarian positions
  • Plan B: in addition to applying for librarian positions, search for other positions that match my skill set
  • Plan C: I am set to join a cohort in in May with Code Louisville, with the intent of segueing into a system administration or developer position
  • Plan D: Get a fourth masters or get a PhD.
  • Plan E: Continue to write doing all of this

And this is where this site comes into play.

The longer the hunt has lasted, the more this site has gotten stale. I definitely needed to refresh the site and provide current content.

I’ve been writing over on my personal blog about the current process of the job hunt and other librarian pursuits, which got me thinking i should not keep lisa.rabey.net as a static site but to make it current and dynamic. Tada!

First, I began with revamping the theme to look more contemporary. I also rearranged the main pages for display the top pages. The current theme is nearly perfect except for a few aesthetic details that need tweaking, other than that, I’m pretty pleased with it.

Second, I started jotting down blog ideas on librarianship, the job hunt, and projects I’m working on relating to all of this. I have OPINIONS about such matters.

Third, I migrated the content from my last position, and previous positions, into this site. I’m also in the process of moving librarian-esque content from my personal blog over here to consolidate the information in one location.

Fourth, I’ve scaled back personal social media links and references with the exception of Twitter. To that end, I removed all social media accounts and with Twitter, I rarely use the service these days and most of it is to retweet something or to comment on someone’s tweet.

That’s pretty much it. The current main content on the site, my resume and so forth, are still going to be prominent but I’ll be updating a lot more in the near future.

Here’s to 2016!

 

 

 

40 Days: My Yearly Twitter Sabbatical

Dear Internet,
It’s that time of year again, 40 days and 40 nights without Twitter. First started in 2009, I’ve gone back and forth over the last few years about keeping this up. But you know, in the end, I end up doing it because I have felt mentally so much better.
As most of you may have noticed, I’ve scaled back on my social media usage within the last few years. I’ve dumped my old Facebook account and started a new one with my new soon to be legal name which has significantly fewer FB BFFs and I’m quite happy about that.
I’m off of Google+ and have been for months. I’ve stopped using Foursquare and a few other social services within the last few years. I’m an on/off with Pinterest and Tumblr, and I selfishly hold on to LiveJournal like no one’s business though it’s more or less dead.
But Twitter is my crack and the conundrum is that it’s been really good for networking and PR related stuff for my various projects. So I waver how to handle this. In the end, I don’t have a problem with setting up tweets for networking/PR stuff, and content posted from EPbaB will continue to auto-post to Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Tumblr. Content, as always, is also available via RSS.
But everything else outside of that, such as sharing of links, diatribes, responses, and the like, will be on hold until after the 40 days are done. For 40 days, no reading of my timeline, checking for messages or mentions.
As I do every year, I’ve gone ahead and deleted the apps from my phone/tablet, and removed the apps from my laptop startup. And as always, if you need me, you can always contact me via this site.
xoxo,
Lisa
P.S. Yesterday’s entry was about putting my daily journals on pause, not the site.
P.P.S. It’s been pointed out I’m a week early as next week starts Lent and I’m okay with that.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2003, 2002, 2002

mechanical repetition of previously received ideas or images

I got tiara'd by Val.
I got tiara’d by Val.

 
Dear Internet,
It’s been, as the youths say, a hella of a week. I have found snatches of conversation happening and it’s interesting how people not in the mix are putting themselves in the mix. My co-conspirator in these matters and I agreed for the time being to not discuss things publicly until we have a final resolution. In short, unless you’ve heard from one of us direct on the matter, doubt the veracity of the comment.
What was kind of hilarious about this coming to light was when I found out, I was minutes away from entering a meeting with a lawyer about another, non-related, legal matter. And my period also started in FULL BLOODY REVENGE.
So yes, it really is all about my vagina. Pay heed to the Mother Earth Goddess for she will fuck shit up.
As I already mentioned earlier this week, my piece in American Libraries came out and I’ve received my first MRA fan mail, and then the usual unfollowing on Twitter by people who thought I was shaming the troll. So, yay for that! I also found out  my piece is on the agenda for discussion at the Feminist Task Force meeting happening at ALA in June, which is tres super cool.
The response I’ve been getting has been, other than the obvious trolls, really awesome. I’ve been retweeting all the kind words people have been throwing at me and while I can probably never say this enough: Thank you all for your support.
(As an aside, I found out today some kind anonymous benefactor suggested to my pal Val, who spearheads #ProjectTira, nina and I were deserving of our own tiaras for the good work we’ve been doing. Ironically, Val had just sent me my birthday tiara (see blog image) and now another one is in the works for me. But seriously, go read up on #ProjectTiara, recommend yourself or someone you feel is deserving, or even better, donate to the project! Val is closing in on having sent nearly 100 tiaras in the last few months as the response has been overwhelming. And seriously? I had no idea wearing a tiara could make you feel so powerful. I’m totally okay with using a tool for a clutch right now.)
With so much going on, what this week really showed me was my own strength. I was commenting to a friend at lunch a few days ago not a single person has asked if I knew this was the path that was going to happen, would I have done things differently. The answer immediately came to mind was obviously ” no.”
Said friend said the reason why people haven’t asked that question is because they know me well enough to know I wouldn’t have changed the route I headed on. And I will tell you that pleased me more than punch I could hold true to my faith in what I was doing was right and even with hindsight, I still would have made those same decisions.
This was an important self-confirmation of how I viewed myself internally and what I projected on to the world were both one and the same. Justice and righting the wrongs are becoming my passions and getting external acknowledgement made me secure in that faith what I was doing was right.
I also self-confirmed the value of loyalty within myself. I could have thrown a lot of people under the bus, I could have broken a lot of confidences to save my own ass, but I could not in good conscious do that to the people depending on me.
I remark this because in this past week, people have done this to me without even a blink in a eye.  There were many who publicly offered support, but when supported was requested,  had a list a mile long of why they couldn’t do it. Even better, people I expected support from didn’t so much as move a fucking inch in either mine or nina’s direction.
That was painful to experience. The whisper network who fueled the fire were the first to fade away. I believed, naively, those holding the match would also have a bucket of sand for the dousing. My own mistake, one I will not make again in the future.
I would have made a shitty lawyer and even a worse politician, but there are ways I’m finally learning how to work the system to get things equalized, even just a little.
I can’t be too entirely boastful. There have been times this week when I wanted to crawl away from everything and just forgot what was going on. I cursed my big mouth and my tenacity to keep asking hard questions expecting them to change the world. I felt myself dip low as mania broke before rising again, but I held on with what I could to make it through. That was hard. Really hard. I grab at anything in desperation to right myself and to push forward. Drawing from this weeks experiences, and my reactions, have made me really proud. I will be holding on to that feeling for as long as I can, for I know I will need to draw from it wholly to live.
xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1999