I've never been one to specialize. I find that I am far too interested in far too many things for that.
I started working on the strategic planning for a revamp of my website and found that I could, at best, manage to clump my professional work into three major chunks: outreach and marketing, leadership and management, and information literacy and instruction. Within those categories are a ton of subtopics like customer service, productivity, and photography.
I don't know how to specialize my work... and I don't want to.
I find that all the aspects of what I do roll into one another. Knowing how to provide effective customer service increases my leadership skills which, in turn, leads me to be more productive, which allows me to focus on creating new things for our social media, which allows me to share what I've learned with others, which helps me improve my teaching skills, and on and on and on.
I see my work as one big mush of things and I love it all. I would be loathe to give any of it up.
It's the same with my personal interests. I jump from reading about calligraphy, to life management, to cooking, to parenting, to history, to minimalism. My reading list abounds what random titles that caught my eye in the moment.
I thrive on having a variety of interesting things to learn. It's one reason I write this. I can flit from one idea to another, never being bored of learning new things.
Are you a generalist or a specialist?
I didn't sleep last night. I think I finally nodded off around 4:30am. With a kiddo who wakes up (loudly) at 7am, I probably managed three interrupted hours of shut eye.
Friday is one of my work from home days. I was able to roll out of bed, shuffle bleary-eyed to the coffee pot, and not have to worry about getting ready for work and commuting. For that, I am grateful.
Here's what was good in my week.
The Husband is away on his first work trip since the pandemic started. He sent photos from his travels for me to share with the kiddo. It's really weird to see wingtip images again. I am looking forward to getting back as close to normal as we can, but they really need to come through with vaccine approval for the under 6 set. I am following that news very closely.
Here's what else has my attention:
Sometimes the best tips are the simplest.
One of my favorite shortcuts is Ctrl+F. This is the keyboard short cut for the Find command.
Simple hit the "Ctrl" key and "F" key at the same time to open up a small search box in your document, webpage, or whatever is on the screen. Then, you can put in the word you are looking for. You have to type in the exact thing you want (this won't autocorrect or understand what you want like Google).
This is really helpful when you need to search long pages of text to see if they have what you need. It's also great for when you just know something is in a document but can't remember where.
I use Ctrl+F a lot when I am working with students to show them how to quickly "read" an academic article to determine if it's a source that will work for them. I also like how, depending on the program you're in, Ctrl+F will also show you how many times your search appears in the page. That's a great way to know the density and importance of a topic in whatever you're looking at.
My interest in lettering, food, photography, and romance continues.
You can see my complete TBR list on Pinterest.
I have mixed feelings about the subscription business model that everything seems to be moving to these days. On the one hand, I like being able to actively choose the individual content I pay for. On the other hand, it gets expensive quickly.
For example, I pretty much replaced all my print magazine subscriptions with Substacks. I love being able to pay authors directly but this is getting so pricey that I've decided to limit myself to just 5 subscriptions at a time. I want full access to many more, but I can't justify the cost.
That makes me think that I would happily pay $200 a year directly to Substack itself to avoid all the paywalls on their website...
But then - oh, look - we've reinvented cable.
This is my problem. Bundling generally keeps prices down but it dilutes the payments to the original creators. Direct payments are more rewarding to the creators BUT they get too expensive to allow me to support everyone I want to support.
So, in the end, what really is better for everyone? The individual subscription model or the bundle model?
What's your opinion on subscriptions and paywalls?
I'm doing my first ever faculty-level research project and we're in the data coding phase for our transcripts. My brain is fried and I have too many codes but at least one of them is ASSTOP and I find that amusing.
Here's what else was good in my week:
With everything that is going on in world, it has been really hard to get work done the past few days. To quote a colleague, we've truly hit "whatevs" mode.
Here's what has captured my attention in the past week.
A Court of Silver Flames
Sarah J. Maas
I’ve decided that I need to clear some space on my bookcases. While the non-fiction shelf is the most crowded, I was not in the mood to dive into something intellectual.
I went on a Maas binge the year our kiddo was born. It was one of the things that got me through the first few sleepless months. It’s been nearly two and a half years since I read the last book in this series. While the writing is just as enjoyable as I remember, my memory of the characters is shot. Might need to dive into an online summary to reorient myself to everything.
I’m about 100 pages in and pivotal plot points are coming back to me in fits and spurts. I don’t know why, but I’m surprised that the author shifted to focus on two other characters. The choice makes sense, but it has me wondering where everything is headed. That said, Maas has never led me astray. I’ve enjoyed all her books.
A slew of new books must have come in to DCPL this week. The weekly Wowbrary newsletter was three times as long as normal. I added several good looking books to my TBR list.
You can see my complete TBR list on Pinterest.