Not all of us can be the Best: How to measure your impact?



George Best #1, originally uploaded by sahmeepee.

I’m trying to follow Sarah Glassmeyer’s advice and start working my horrible Association Football analogies and metaphors into my library writing. (Soccer to the most of you.)

First I wast thinking about spinning Stanley Matthews into one. He was a vegetarian teetotaller and class-act. Instead, I’m going to use another English football great, and in many ways the antithesis to Matthews, as my model: George Best. He was one of the most talented players ever, but his career has hampered and cut short through his excess.

The reason I’ve been thinking of Matthews and Best, other than the fact I keep reading books about history of the game, is that I’m up for my promotion review. It’s a little daunting looking back at my quite brief career and trying to quantify not only what I’ve done, but what the impact of it all. Oh and only for calendar year 2010. That’s only 1/3 of my career!

So what is the impact? See, this is where I wish I was like Best. Or maybe Nobby Stiles. Everybody know what they did and what their impact was. In the 1960s, Manchester United (as much as I hate them), won the league twice, the FA Cup once, and the European Cup. Trophies! Best was European Player of the Year in 1968. I wish I was something like that. Do we have awards like that?

So yeah, without the trophies or the accolades how can one go about showing the impact of their work for a year? Did your research save your company lots of money? Did it save somebody’s life? Did it win the Henderson account? Librarianship is a weird thing to quantify in this way. I spend a lot of time sitting on the reference desk, building a sense of community, and raising the visibility of the research tools the students should use. Are there good metrics to show the impact of this? Well, we have lots of people in the reading room. Should I poll the room and see how many people know what TRIS is?

Then you get into the really nebulous area of impact – networking. This is sort of like a popularity contest. How many people read this blog? How many people listen to LibPunk? That I can sort of quantify, but is there impact? What about knowing people? In my brief career, I’ve rubbed elbows with some people important to both the library and transportation world. Having coffee with key officials in government is an impact, just not an easy one to quantify.

So what is a kid supposed to do? Since I’m not the George Best of the library world (which will never happen), how am I to gauge my impact? Even if I’m could be the Leighton Baines of the library world, which would be pretty sweet, it could be tricky showing impact without a neat record with win, losses, and draws. Maybe I could get an international call up?

4 thoughts on “Not all of us can be the Best: How to measure your impact?

  1. Leighton Baines is awesome. 🙂
    I am up for appraisal this year and I have to surveys of students, staff and wider community. (umm, here is where I mention that my students are between 3-7yrs old) It will be enlightening, but I’m not sure it will offer a complete picture.
    Good luck!

    BTW I got here through somebody else’s tweet, but I’ve now added your blog to my feed.

  2. I really want that trophy! I wonder if it would get side-eyes on the ref desk?

    I wish Leighton Baines would be more awesome this season. Everton are dreadful!
    I would love to see how 3-7 year olds respond to surveys. I know my 20-30 year olds would probably just comment on the free candy selection.

  3. Everton have had far worse seasons. They are safely in the middle of the pack and I’m okay with that for the moment. Are they playing up to their potential? Oh my gosh, no! But as a club, they’re in better shape on and off the pitch than some of the others in the Premier League.

    I am having moms come in to interview batches of kids in each class with set questions. They will be taped, I hope. It will definitely be interesting!

    Do you have twix? 🙂

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