Date & Time: Thursday, October 1, 2019 | 1PM - 2PM EST
Duration: 45-60 minutes
Price: FREE for Members | $19.00 for Non-Members
Themes: Information Management
Credits: 1 LGARA Certificate Credit (NAGARA)
(NOTE: ICRM no longer provides pre-approval for events less than one hour in length; however, you may still petition ICRM to receive credit for attending this webinar, which is usually approved in most instances)
LGARA Core Competency Areas: Pending
Abstract/Overview: Even miners (to use this year’s theme; historical and/or organizational miners, in our case) need to rest and have a full life. This session will provide examples (good and bad) and strategies, particular in archival/records management work within government agencies. It will offer an appeal to ditch the illusion that we can maintain a regular daily balance—and tips for engineering the balance that will last for all our days.
Session content areas:
- How does this topic specifically impact information professionals and our types of work?
- The human element of our work and government organizations
- People gravitate to one of these three types of jobs: working with people, working with ideas, and working with things. Our types of work tend to have us transitioning freely amidst those three. Our work has seasons when it settles quite strongly on one or the other (in the work of most of us, that would be working with things: physical and/or electronic documents, HVAC systems, computer equipment, storage systems, etc.) but even in those times we must keep in mind the other two–the people we work with and serve, and the ideas that govern how we should do our work optimally.
- This hasn’t (always/ever) been a success story.
- This presenter’s brief description of how work took over
- Specific nodules in the RM/Archives workplace where our potential stressors lurk:
+ Open records requests
+ The inherent ephemera fragility, fluidity and “baffleability” of electronic records
+ The lack of popular, general support or recognition for our work
- Life has its seasons. Balance is impossible on a daily basis, but is totally achievable over time.
- Goals are important. Having exciting (or at least interesting) projects to tackle is what gets us out of bed in the morning. Having realistic expectations helps, too, as does hewing to your priorities.
- We’re not alone. Edison, Einstein, and countless others didn’t have balanced lives. Tying the topic specifically to RM/Archive work, we all can picture examples of persons who have been exemplars of balance in our professional world. Models for me over the years have included Frank Burke of NARA and of the University of Maryland History and Library Science masters program of the late 1980s, and Jeff Kintop of the Utah State Archives.
- There’s a geographic parallel. Living in Colorado, between the Rocky Mountains and the plains [drawing on our 2020 conference theme and its setting], we understand that there are times for exhaustion and exhilaration on high, and times for dogged quiet detail work on the level. One without the other would not be nearly as satisfying or as productive.
- Some aspects of work and life intersect (and rightly so). These include eating and drinking smartly while we’re in work mode; moving about often and incorporating exercise and rest into our work day (including such details as resting the eyes—the 20/20/20 rule); and identifying and eliminating false guilt and harmful expectations.
- Tips on how to actually achieve balance (not, “Well, shucks, I love my job so it’s not really work so I put in 80 hours for minimal monetary gain.”) Practical strategies include: engaging the right brain while doing left brain work; tracking actual hours worked; scheduling the balance; not trying to make our work relationships our family; introducing variety into the patterns of the work day and the work week; pros and cons of working from home; knowing when to quit (for the day, or for good) and move on; the gravestone epitaph/obituary test; etc.
- Decide ahead of time your personal non-negotiables and get supervisorial approval of them. These could include days and times you will never be available to work (such as certain religious holidays, for example, the Sabbath) and areas of work your personal values would prohibit you from doing (for example, something that your moral code holds as improper, harmful, or wrongful). When appealing to your supervisor for these agreements, do it as early as you can (preferably, before you accept the position), and be as flexible as you can to work in other areas and at other times that other persons may not want to or may not themselves be able to.
- We’ll do a self-evaluation exercise. This will reveal personal tendencies that can affect your work/life balance. Identifying our innate personal wiring will alert to the ways in which the wheels of our life are apt to get “out of true.”
- Making the change is easy to start. It’s relatively easy to begin systematically incorporating lifetime health habits/practices into your work day. These include such basic things as hydration and avoiding debilitating “food”—and much more that we will mention as the hour allows.
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City of Durango, Colorado