Finding the Bathroom at 40

I’m about four and a half months into my new position, with a new organization, in a new city. It seems like a good time for some outward reflection. I started my first week nervous, excited, and open to new ideas. As it had been more than ten years since working for a new employer and many more since living in a new city, I told myself at least once an hour that every trainer/leader needs to experience this feeling more frequently. Granted we’ve all experienced what it is like to be new, but for some trainers/leaders it is so infrequent that that I think we forget what it is like to be overwhelmed on so many different levels. I spent years on the team for new employee orientation at my last job, yet I think that many times we forgot how overwhelming it is to be new. There is so much we take for granted after years or even months in an organization. Think about Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs. What do your employees need above all else before they can learn your mission statement and your policy on social networking? I’ll tell you what they want to know. The same thing our patrons want to know. Where’s the bathroom??!??

My office has not only a security code to get in to the office from the hallway, but there is a code, a different code, to get into the bathroom. Here I am trying to remember new passwords to a million new accounts, how to get to and from work, the names and faces of 60 different people, and for the first two weeks I struggled to remember this code to the bathroom. I remember thinking that if I can’t remember the code how will I ever remember everything else! But like all new employees, the day soon came when I not only remembered the secret code but had to teach someone else the code.

My first week at work consisted of learning the ins, outs, and behind the scenes of each of our products as well as learning the tools for supporting our products. The first month was about building relationships with my new coworkers–going through the group development process of forming, storming, norming. It’s fascinating to go through group development and recognize different phases of the process. It’s also comforting during the stressful storming parts to remind everyone that “this too shall pass.” Most of my time has been spent being a sponge and absorbing as much as possible while also trying to create and maintain relationships and define my role within the organization. I’ve worked on some exciting projects that I’ll write about soon.

My days at work were a piece of cake compared to the rest of my life for the first two months. Accepting a new job with only a few weeks notice, meant that I’d be living apart from my family during the week. Fridays and Mondays meant two and a half hour commutes between cities and the rest of the week meant nights alone or with my temporary roommate (my sister in law).

A few weeks into my job I turned 40! Turning 40 is kind of like high school prom or graduation. You have these big expectations but really it is just another day. I was so homesick on my birthday. But the ladies I work with took me out to lunch at an amazing restaurant and we had a fantastic celebration. My birthday cake looked like a flower with tiny candles that opened up to a gigantic sparkler. I feared the table would catch on fire. It was definitely a birthday to remember.

40th Birthday! Yep we almost set the table on fire!

Life went on like this for two months, and just as I settled into this new routine it was time to move. The week before my family moved, I received a phone call at work that a very close family member had died unexpectedly. In the middle of preparing to move, I dropped everything to go be with my family in Florida. Needless to say the past few months have been overwhelming and exhilarating all at the same time. I’m very thankful to my Facebook and Twitter friends who cheered me on providing both encouragement and comfort.

It feels good to be challenged in new and different ways. My family is settled. The kids are out of school. My husband is enjoying being a stay at home dad. If I’ve learned anything this year it’s that we are resilient. Just when you think things are tough enough, life throws another curve ball or punch to the stomach. It’s hard. It hurts. But we recover, learn, and are stronger for what we have gone through, and above all I know the secret code to get into the bathroom!

I’m Joining the Team at NoveList

If you’ve been following my blog you might have noticed subtle changes to the site over the past few weeks. The logo for Lori Reed Learning Solutions has been replaced with a different header. Posts have become a bit more personal in nature. When I transitioned to full-time consulting last summer, I anticipated remaining self-employed for life (or at least a few years). I enjoyed working with a variety of libraries and library cooperatives. I loved teaching classes and receiving feedback from participants about how much they learned. I also enjoyed being home with my kids after school and having more flexibility with my schedule. So it’s bittersweet to announce that I taught my final workshop as an independent consultant today for LibraryLinkNJ.

Next week I begin a new position at NoveList® as the Customer Relationship Coordinator. The opportunity to work with the fabulous team there was too good to pass up and I’m looking forward to working with many different libraries in this capacity. As happy as I was to begin consulting full-time, I’m even more excited about working with the talented, creative group at NoveList®.

If you have a training need, please contact me and I will be happy to connect you with another consultant who is a good match for your needs. I am available for a limited amount of speaking engagements and look forward to presenting a full day preconference on training skills for non-trainers in May at the Maryland Library Association Conference and a keynote about coping with change as well as a breakout session about working with multiple generations in October at the UW-Madison SLIS-Continuing Education Service Conference for Circulation Managers and Staff.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the following people who were instrumental in my success as a consultant by serving as mentors, advisers, and trusted colleagues: Pat Wagner, Paul Signorelli, Nicole Engard, Andrew Sanderbeck, Polly-Alida Farrington, Chad Mairn, Dick Handshaw, and Guy Wallace.

Thank you also to everyone else who has followed me online through Twitter and Facebook and offered support and encouragement this past year.

So what happens to my blog? This site has transitioned since 2005 from one of the original 23 Things participant blogs, to Library Trainer, to my own domain name. Writing is a great way for me to reflect and share things I’ve learned. I searched for the right name for months and finally out of frustration made a joke on Facebook that I should just call this “A Work in Progress.” Ironically since my passions are personal and professional development, the name stuck. I plan to write about a variety of topics that relate to libraries as well as other organizations but mostly information that is relevant to you on a personal level. I envision this site as becoming the Oprah of library blogs. 🙂 Much of what I share will be practical advice or information mixed in with personal stories. Look for upcoming posts about dealing with information overload as well as what it is like to work as a consultant. If there are topics you are interested in, please contact me. I look forward to sharing this new journey with you.

Feel free to also connect with me on:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lorireed

Facebook: http://facebook.com/lorireed

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/loribreed

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/russandlori

 

Happy Holidays

A thought for you this holiday season…

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
~Helen Keller

Wishing you all the best!

Library Trainer is Moving to LoriReed.com

For the past two years I’ve been blogging at LibraryTrainer.com. The name fit when I started the site. It’s catchy, short, easy to remember, but in the back of my mind I’ve always been aware that I do a lot more than “just training.”

Over the past year I’ve transitioned from thinking and working about “training” to focusing more on the end result–performance and answering the question of how do we improve the services and the quality of service we provide to our customers. Sometimes training is the answer but more often it’s not. Training is only a small part of a solution in performance consulting.

I’ve also recently become the managing editor of ALA Learning, the official blog of the Learning Round Table of the American Library Association. When Peter Bromberg first asked me to take over the helm, I wondered how I would keep up with contributing to two training blogs. But I’ve found that being a part of a group blog, especially this group, is very rewarding. Seriously how can one go wrong when working with this crew? The quality and depth of content is far more than any one person could provide without making it a full time job.

So with ALA Learning under way and with performance consulting in mind, I’ve decided to take a leap of faith and move my content to LoriReed.com where I will continue to write about topics relevant to libraries about training but with a much broader focus. I’m also planning to write more about a topic very close to my heart–work/life balance and the trials and tribulations of being a working mom with a successful career. Don’t worry, I’m not about to become a mommy blogger! No tales of dirty diapers or moonsand to give you nightmares. I’m planning to focus more on the answer to the question that I get asked more than any other–how do you do it all?

There is a rumor that you can’t have it all. I disagree! You can have it all but you have to be very focused on what is you want and why. You also have to accept the fact that sometimes you can’t have it all at once. Life really is a marathon and not a sprint. I remind myself of that every day.

I hope you will follow me over to LoriReed.com. This is a great week for the transition since it is also Round 4 of the Library Day in the Life project created by Bobbi Newman. Therefore I take back the promise of no moonsand stories. You might see a few of those this week. 🙂

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Thanks to everyone who has followed Library Trainer for the past two years. It’s having readers like you, who provide comments and interaction from the faceblogotwittofriendfeedosphere, that make blogging a fun and satisfying endeavor.

Happy Belated New Year and Holidays

January 9th and I have yet to send out holiday cards and letters and we are just now taking down the tree that is decorated only from about halfway up (life with a toddler). I had pneumonia over Christmas, then my 2-year-old daughter had it. On top of that I am writing a book with my friend and colleague Paul Signorelli and have been a busy bee over at ALALearning.org. I redesigned the site last month. Be sure to check it out! We have a great team of bloggers with all the content you could ever want related to training, learning, and staff development.

Stay tuned for details about the future of LibraryTrainer.com. I have exciting news to share soon!

I’ll be at ALA Midwinter next week at all of the LearnRT events and meetings. If you see me please stop me and say hello. Regardless of whether you are a member or not attend the Learning Town Hall Meet and Greet on Friday, January 15 from 3:30-5:00 at the INTER-Rose Kennedy II.

Safe travels and may 2010 bring the best for you!

Kids with Santa 2009