Sunday, September 21, 2014

Better to Burn Out than to Fade Away

Extra-professional obligations of mine:

  • I edit a column for the RUSQ journal, "Accidental Technologist". I'm proud of the columns I've published, but I've only written a couple. I identify topics, authors, read drafts, & provide feedback 4 times a year.
  • I write (quasi-)monthly blog posts for ACRL Tech Connect. Again, I'm proud of my posts. I also provide feedback for my excellent co-authors who mostly tolerate my nagging.
  • I'm on the LITA Forum Coordinating Committee. It's in Albuquerque this year & it's going to be great! Seriously. I'm excited about the keynotes & Forum has proven to be a great event to meet like-minded library technology folks.
  • I'm on the Code4Lib 2015 Keynotes Committee. We're still accepting nominations for keynote speakers!
  • I want to organize more Code4Lib NorCal meetups, which is the most neglected item on this list. If you're a C4L NorCal person, I promise you'll be seeing messages from me soon.
  • I'm juggling dozens of open source projects on GitHub, most of which suffer from benign neglect & could use some code & love. I just cannot help myself from jumping into new projects even when I clearly cannot commit enough. WikipeDPLA is my focal point at the moment but I've created about a half-dozen repos since publishing that & maybe I should just do one project at once.
To reiterate: these are all outside of my librarian position & while I do spend the occasional hour or two on them at work, for the most part I complete tasks outside of my 9-to-5. I'm can't get tenure, I just can't say "no". & I'm undoubtedly privileged; these are extra-professional commitments that aid my status in the profession, whereas others have extra-professional commitments oriented elsewhere. They can't put them in tenure dossiers, as unfair as that is.

But how? How can I continue? I find value in all of these bullet points, so how do I decide to say "no" to any of them? I know others are faced with similar struggles & I'm asking for advice. How do you do it all? There are so many people in libraryland who seem in a similar situation, I could name names but I'd leave someone out. I don't know how they do it, so much in such finite time periods.

Let's all take a breather. No one work for the next week. Let us catch up instead.