10 November 2009

Recognizing Recognition

So, I am ACRL Member of the Week.

There. I said it.

Being recognized has been a strange thing for me. I am not a shy person. And I am comfortable talking about what I do, why I do it, and what I enjoy or dislike about it. But I am not the kind of person that feels comfortable sharing my successes. Or highlighting my acheivements. I'm not sure I really knew that about myself until this Member of the Week thing. I mean, I share exciting things with my family. But even with my friends....I hesitated. Is it obnoxious to put this on my Facebook page? Is it inappropriate to tweet yourself?

Andy convinced me I was being ridiculous about not putting something like this on my Facebook. Wouldn't I want to know if one of my friends was highlighted by their national organization? OF COURSE! So, I posted it. And let me just say....I have amazing friends. The support and love overwhelmed me. And made me grateful for the connections I am able to maintain via social networks. But still....those are my friends. As I said in the email to my parents, brother, husband, and non-facebook friends, "If not you, who?"

I couldn't bring myself to Tweet it. I couldn't bring myself to sing out into the Twittersphere about my self. I struggle with that when I post to the blog. But why? Where is this discomfort? I don't feel embarrassed or uncomfortable highlighting workshops I am giving. I have no problem saying that I am speaking at ACRL or LILAC or VT NEA. I am fine sharing articles being accepted. But recognition is different, for some reason. Perhaps it's the part of me that is afraid of being tagged as a fraud. Perhaps it's the part of me that thinks that while I do good work, it's not more worthy of recognition than so many other librarians. Perhaps it's the part of me that blushes. But frankly, I would rather congratulate someone else than myself.

Where does self promotion and self congratulation swap seats? And at what point does it get to be too much?

I feel like this is one of those things that we each have to figure out as we go. They certainly don't tell you in library school how to manage success. Or recognition. And I am trying to figure it out. I don't really have an answer here. It's just something I've been thinking a ton about in the last two days. And I wonder how other people handle it? How do you share your successes? How do you push your achievements out there for people to see? Do you do it at all? Are there some things you do and some things you don't? Is there a "best practices" I am not aware of? I am sure I am not the first person to feel a bit ill at ease in moments like this. Who's got a trick up their sleeve for this one?


Von Burkhardt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Burkhardt said...

I get where you're coming from here. Sometimes there is a fine line between sharing a success or something you're excited about and bragging. I also think you are doing it exactly right. I think to be able to share something, especially a success it is necessary to share it like you would with a friend. You're not bragging when you want someone else to share in your excitement.

Sharing is something that we love to do as humans. We're always passing links back and forth on Twitter. We want to show funny videos we've seen. It's only natural you want to share something you're excited about. I think if you do it in a spirit of sharing and not dwelling on it or saying "look at me", it's okay.

Phineas Gage said...

The bottom line, Sheck.

You are a rock star.

Humble, yes.

But a rock star.

And it is OK to use your blog to remind us of this fact from time to time.

Von B is right, as always - it is about sharing the excitement.

Never easier than in the Age of Convergence.

Susan said...

I've been told by some people who are recognized regularly in the profession that sometimes you just have to get your name out there- especially when you are starting out in your career and hope to advance. In other words, do you want to have a 9-5 job or a career?

Personally, I love to hear about people's successes as long as that's not all that they tweet or blog about. It gives me ideas for how I might get involved or provides examples of interest projects that others are trying and that have met success. I want to know what people are pursuing outside of their official job description.

The Sheck said...

Thanks Andy. As usual, your comments keep me in perspective.

Rob, it takes a rock star to know one.

Susan, I love the point about a job vs. a career. And using recognition to share ideas and opportunities. Such a good point and something I practice, just hadn't thought about in that way. Thanks!