Nodding and smiling

At the risk of sounding like I may have been employed under false pretences I have to say that when my current manager was interviewing me for my position and kept mentioning the term ‘bibliometrics’ I did a lot of nodding and smiling and quite frankly, pretending I knew what she was talking about.

Sometimes I feel like my whole professional life consists of nodding and smiling and pretending I’m following the conversation. I’m pretty good at absorbing information by an almost osmosis-like process – working on the theory that if I listen long enough, then go away and do some background reading everything will eventually make sense. Most importantly, I don’t commit myself to an opinion one way or another too early (I hate to appear ill-informed or under-prepared, even when I am).

On the whole this works. In a large academic library with 160+ staff one has to do something about the information overload and I have found that getting up to speed has come much faster by adopting a ‘nod and smile’ approach and not worrying too much about the details in the first instance. I find that absorbing the culture and the big picture of a new environment (whether it’s a new job, or a new soccer club the kids are involved with) is the quickest way through the confusion of those first few weeks and months.

I digress, as this was originally going to be about bibliometrics! However, I have probably reached the limit of your patience dear reader, I know you’ve got dozens of other blogs to pop off and read as part of your commitment to #blogjune so in my now familiar style, I’ll leave the specifics until another time.

7 responses

  1. Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave… can be a useful tactic at times. Mind you, I’m not afraid now to say that I don’t know what people are talking about.

    1. Lol! I have to say I’m not afraid of admitting I don’t know what’s going on (except at interview, that’s not a good look!), its more that sometimes asking interrupts the flow when smiling & waving gets you there eventually anyway.

  2. I adopt that approach at the big city branch, while i am there, then I rush away and learn. 😀

  3. lol so true! there is far to much information out there. i definitely suffer from information overload. i nod and smile lots!

  4. […] to round it all off, New Grad Librarian says that: In a large academic library with 160+ staff one has to do something about the […]

  5. Ashley England | Reply

    lol! I shall try your much more sophisticated ‘nod and smile’ approach in future. I’m known in my department for loudly saying things like “What’s an OPAC?”. I was into my second year of working as a Librarian. My Supervisor kindly explained what it was, and that there was a time when catalogues weren’t open for public access.

    She has also had to explain to me what a print index was and I believe an LMS.

  6. Nodding and smiling is good 🙂
    So is breathing.
    Gets me through lots.

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