Thursday, 10 January 2008

New Year, New Beginnings

There's something about the beginning of a New Year that brings out the optimist in me. Although January itself as a month can be dreary weatherwise, and deflated after all the frantic fun of Christmas, it's still got the feeling of a fresh start about it. New Year's Eve gives us the chance to indulge in nostalgia for the year that has passed, and let it go. New Year's Day is a chance to prepare for the future, and to imagine things we'd like to achieve in professional and personal terms. On my coaching training, I was encouraged to articulate these, visualise success and measure progress. It takes some discipline, but certainly focusses attention on my ambitions. And it's more manageable than making formal resolutions which tend to be shortlived! Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, 11 November 2007


It's good to take time to remember. Sometimes conversations prompt a recollection of a situation or event that you hadn't thought about for a long time. Sometimes memories are happy and sometimes sad. Many of mine seem to relate to memories of people and what they did or said. At a recent meeting I met someone I hadn't seen since I was an undergraduate, and it was a huge pleasure to meet up and share even for a few moments the names of people we'd known in common at that time and remember the fun and affection of those days. In my career and personal life, I've met a number of fascinating people, and continue to do so. We remember things together, and we remember people, and make connections again. It's a special date for remembering today, and a good one to look back and see what I've learnt from family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances to make me who I am today.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Change Management

I remember appraising a member of staff years ago, when during conversation she said "Yes I know Gwenda - change is the norm". I think that information professionals are very used to variety in work, and thrive on it. They are also very good at coping with change, and it almost happens without them consciously identifying it as as major issue. People in teams who have been away for a short time on materinity or serious sickness leave often return to a changed environment, whereas those who have been continuously working there during their absence fail to acknowledge what developments have taken place. It's an important skill to be able to manage change, and a vital aptitude to be able to cope with its impact in all types of organisations. Change is constant, and the more we embrace it, the more successful we are likely to be, and the more satisfaction we are able to get out of our work.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Special time

I hear a lot of talk about work-life balance, and also about enforced leisure time from people who have left organisations before they were expecting to, or planning to. Most people find things to do to occupy themsleves very quickly, and we hear them wondering how they ever found time to go to work every day of the week. When I took my career break, it took me a few weeks to stop feeling guilty about reading a novel, or playing the piano, or walking along the Prom in Aberystwyth with no particular plans in mind for what to do. However I soon relaxed into doing things I wanted to do, and enjoying contributing to things I wanted to contribute to. Since setting up as an Independent Consultant, I've had to manage my leisure time around work again, and oddly it feels even more special when it's snatched than when it was full time! It's easy to get bogged down in work, and to stop giving time to things you enjoy, so I'm determined to prioritise time for family and friends, and time for myself so my enthusiasm for both work and leisure stays high.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

An unexpected sight

From the office where I'm currently on an assignment, I have a fabulous view of the Thames and the City, and a great reason to follow health and safety guidelines and balance looking at my monitor with looking out of the window. Yesterday there was a massive Cruise Ship moored alongside HMS Belfast, and this unusual sight prompted much discussion. Within a short time, someone in the team had established that the ship would leave through Tower Bridge just after 5.00, what its itinerary was and how much the tickets had cost. Just after 5, members of several teams converged by the window to watch the manoevering of the tugs and river police boats, and to see the marvellous sight of the Tower Bridge road opened to its fullest extent to let this monster reverse through it. We benefitted from having a qualified sailor, and qualified diver in the crowd, to explain more about what was happening. There was a real sense of interest and excitement, and a few dreams of how good it would be to be on board, and a few people who hadn't spoken to each other before chatted away happily. Half an hour later, there was no indication that the Ship had ever been there, and the Thames looked unruffled, and HMS Belfast regained its position as the biggest fish in the pond, and the teams sat quietly at their monitors again.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


Travelling to and from Wales this weekend in torrential rain, I luckily managed to avoid any flooding, but I had some glimpses of fields-become-lakes from the roads. On seeing the aerial photos of drowned villages and towns on the news, I started looking around my own home, and imagining the feelings if I had arrived to find water throughout my downstairs rooms. Whilst being glad that no-one was harmed, I'd have been upset to have lost some items precious because of their sentimental value, rather than any commercial value. I'd have lost books on gardening, my husbands' much used collection of bound Supercook magazines from the 1970s, miniature orchestral scores and hymnbooks, and music for piano, cello and guitar. Many cassette tapes would have been ruined, with the old songs which stir memories and the recording of my wedding ceremony. And some pieces of china would no doubt have been damaged in the cupboards, as they floated around in the sludge. In this world, some might say that all our material things are now replaceable, but my heart goes out to those who once they've cleared the mess, will realise that some parts of their past have been cleared too.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

How time passes

I've spent many happy hours this Sunday again, sorting out my e-life. I'm not even involved in other worlds or spaces - my times goes on updating calendars and contacts, checking and responding to emails, writing, mindmapping, updating databases, and just enjoying fact finding and exploring on the web. I've downloaded a new version of Google Earth and tried to locate an aerial view of my friend's new farm in Canada. I've looked at the Google Alerts for the University of Wales, to see what's being reported. I've followed some links on the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) weekly news sheet to learn what's going on in my area of interest. I've looked up the hotel and concert hall where the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is playing on its Germany tour tonight. I've responded to some invitations to link to networks on Linked-In. I've looked up the comparable prices of a vacuum cleaner I saw in the shops on Saturday. I've found out some background information about Lloyd Jones, author of a prize winning novel. And of course I've looked up the weather in Aberystwyth! All very important and enjoyable to me. But how the time passes.....