About a year ago I was walking into Main Library after doing some Vocera training at one of our branches when I ran into one of our managers. We chatted for a moment and she said something like "You're a very good trainer." I said, "Thanks I really love doing this stuff." She was shocked. "Really?!" she said. "I had no idea." I didn't think much about it at the time, except that I thought it was odd that after all my years with the library somebody could not know that about me. I love to train. I love to teach. I love to coach.
As the year progressed and I encountered a number of similar incidents it became clear to me that there were a lot of library employees, my co-workers who didn't know "the real me." In retrospect, it really wasn't their fault.
Outside of work I have always been Jimmer, Jimbro, Jimmy, Coach B. - a fun guy, a talker, an occasional jokester - maybe not the life of the party but definitely a good friend.
At work well - Sitting back in my little corner of the world called the Media Center I had become somewhat of a codger - set in my ways, determined to make it all work my way, portraying an arrogance that said; "This is who I am. Deal with it."
Then in 2004 the Media Center was no more and my job changed significantly. Though I accepted the change and went along, I don't think it was any secret that I wasn't very happy about it.
I drew into myself more and more, focusing on the things I did have control over; primarily my family and my coaching. I didn't completely shut myself off from work. I do have some pride. Still I made it known that I was looking elsewhere. While I got along with my co-workers, I didn't really know them, and they didn't really know me. I had turned off the library and I was under the impression that the library had turned me off as well.
Now for those of you who are saying "Jimmer what are you doing? Library folk are reading this. You're committing career suicide. Etc... and so on," I want you to pay very close attention to the next sentence.
I was wrong.
Unequivocally, undeniably, no boutadoubtit, on all counts - 100% wrong.
And I lost myself in the process. To find myself. To let people know who I really am I was going to need some help. After all, how do you undo what had essentially taken 10 years to create.
So I'm trying to let people get to know a whole lot more about me than some might ordinarily be comfortable with. I'm hoping to take advantage of what Michael Stephens termed The Unintended Consequences of Social Software (or Putting Yourself Out There), and make those things work for me. I have a chance to let people get to know me through my online presence. I need to be transparent. I need to go outside my comfort zone. While not so much needing to reinvent myself, I am working to repair my image, all the while promising myself that I will never, ever let myself get stuck again. I will be adaptable, willing to change, willing to learn, willing to step outside of the box. I will in essence be Jimmer in Perpetual Beta, (*note I "borrowed" this term from Michael Stephens as well.)
As it happens this has all occurred during the year that I will be turning 40. As I am terming this my year of inventory anyway - I feel very fortunate to have this particular opportunity to make a transition to the next stage of my life.
A wise person said to me once: "You know Jim, you only get to do this once." Now, I'm trying to do it right.
Next up - Jimmer what does this have to do with the library?