I feel a bit like I've gone back in time, even as I've sort of catapulted my career a bit. I'm in the midst of my second week as the Associate Head of Access & Delivery at NCSU, and already loving it. I started in Access back in 2004 at the University of Kentucky, and once I had my MLS I bounced to reference and instruction, the "fun" side of library work. Not, of course, that Access isn't fun. it's just a different *kind* of fun...sort of like rugby and baseball are both sports, they're just different. And in one, you're more likely to get heavily bruised. *grin*
Anyway, my initial reaction has been: YES! While I was in reference and instruction, I got to stretch my creative side, I loved teaching, I didn't have the headache of supervising folks, and other than refdesk time, I had nearly complete control over what projects I worked on and how I spent my days. I will say, that sort of thing is handy if you want to get research done, get published, pitch presentations, and motivate yourself to keep up with a kind of momentum for your career. It helped that the environment I was in was completely supportive - of my desire to teach, of my ideas, of my traveling for various conferences. While I like to think that I contributed to the good image of the library on campus with my work at UTC, I also simply had a ball. It was *fun*. And while occasionally I would stress out due to saying "yes" to too many things, my time in reference and instruction was largely composed of rainbows and unicorns, and the occasional cotton-candy cloud. Reference and instruction wasn't work to me - for the most part, it was play. Which of course means it was my dream job.
Which seemed entirely too easy, so I left.
Heh, well, that's not entirely true. A too-good opportunity came around and swept me up, and that's why I've landed back in Access. I almost forgot how much work there was to do, and how interesting supervising others can make life! And having never been quite this high up on the food chain before, I was unaware of the amount of time spent in meetings. I'm already shucking my buns to keep up, but I'm loving it - the frenetic pace, things that can be fixed, dealing with people and their unique needs and quirks. I feel like a part of a larger process-at-work, though much of that is getting re-accustomed to being at such a large library - UTC was small compared to both UK and NCSU. I'm excited about starting new projects, finishing old ones, and polishing our service even as we enter tough financial times, as most universities are.
And so here I am, in my dress shoes, on the floor and re-learning the Access Shuffle. Expect to hear more soon...