When I started this blog, two months after beginning my first professional role, I called it “Rachel’s Big Adventure” because that was what my professional life felt like; the start of my journey into the career that I had been working towards for a couple of years, actually getting into the position that I had been looking forward to for so long, embarking on a massive learning curve and everything that came with it. It’s two years later now and actually, I don’t think it’s ever stopped feeling like a journey or an adventure of sorts; what with new challenges, responsibilities and opportunities at work almost constantly, organising, attending and speaking at events and conferences, meeting lots of lovely LIS people, achieving Chartership, and my fixed-term role being extended and then made permanent.
I’ve had a brilliant couple of years; developing and learning all the time, gaining new skills, knowledge and lots of confidence, and enjoying it along the way, and now I feel that the time has come to move on to my next Big Adventure. At the end of March I will be leaving my current role and moving on to the University of Bedfordshire, to become their Academic Liaison Librarian for Sport and Exercise Science. I am really excited; it seems like a fantastic place to work and I can’t wait to get stuck in. The role is going to be a real step up for me so I suspect it will mean another steep learning curve, but I feel like I’m ready to take on more responsibility and to develop myself further in an academic liaison role.
I will be sad to leave my current role. It has been just a brilliant opportunity to get lots of experience in different aspects of academic librarianship, and I have learnt and developed so much that I can’t even put it down into words. I feel immensely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and I know I have been incredibly lucky to have had this job as my first professional role. Then of course there are all the wonderful colleagues I have had at UWE, both in my team at St Matthias and at the other campuses. They have been so supportive and welcoming throughout, and many of them have become friends. I will really miss my close-knit team, and I will miss the other lovely friends I have made in Bristol and the South West too, both librarian-y folk, and a few non-librarians too! I arrived in Bristol knowing absolutely no-one, and in the two and a bit years since, I have built up a life for myself here, which will be very sad to leave I think.
Now this post is straying into dangerously sentimental territory (!), so I shall end it here by looking again towards the future. I can’t wait to get to Bedfordshire and get started on my new role, and all of the challenges and opportunities that will come with it. I fully intend to continue blogging, so (if you want to!) I’m sure you will be hearing all about what I’m getting up to there. There’s another aspect to my moving on too; in my new role, I don’t feel that I will be a “new professional” any more, even though it’s been less than five years (the generally presumed marker of being “new”) since I started my MA or first role. This prospect used to make me a bit sad, as so much of my professional identity so far has involved my being “new”, but now I feel ready to move on from my “newness” and to embrace whatever it is that comes next; I’m not sure that I could describe myself as “established”, but there must be something in the middle (perhaps this is something for another blogpost!)!
I have a really good feeling about the future and feel like I’ve definitely made the right decision. Now for the less fun part; house-hunting and packing…