Thursday, March 8, 2012

How I Became a Pirate

This may not make sense,  but sometimes thinking about what something is like is more illuminating to me than thinking about it directly.

So I'm a huge fan of figurative language.  Metaphors and Similes, you run around with flashlights in my head and help me see things for what they using pictures of what they are not.

I work for a start-up.  Sure, the library as a district has been around for years, but it launched on a remarkable trajectory of change just a few years ago to reinvent itself.  Seismic paradigm shifts...and so the reinvention process feels no different than if we had started from scratch.

Here is a metaphor that sheds light on what it is like to work for a start-up:

We are crew sailing a ship....

that is still being built.
So while some frantically row, others feverishly build, still others frenetically bail.

Sometimes below deck, we can get frustrated with the captain.  She seems so calm, so steady.  We may wonder if she is aware of just how hard we're working to make this all work.
But somebody has to keep an eye on the map, the stars, the horizonSomebody has to  have vision for where we're going and how we're going to get there.
Otherwise we're just spinning our wheels.
Or our oars, in this case.
But there's treasure to be had in this wild blue beyond: the love and loyalty of a community made better for having a library.  A hundred human connections that build, bridge, and nourish our souls.   The opportunity to contribute to the lives of countless people in meaningful and memorable ways. Not to mention the tangible parts of our library collection that bring the treasure of the world into the hands of  anyone who enters.  For free.  No buried booty at a library.  It lines every shelf.

So we sail.  Tweaking and repairing and scrambling all the way.  And when we get to the end of this map, we'll sail off the edge and come back and tell you what we found. 

Who knew I would be up for a journey that pushes and pulls and asks me to grow or grow weary, but so it is. 

I signed up to be a librarian.
And found out I might really be a seafaring maverick instead.

As it turns out, we all work for start-ups. Our very lives are an invention and reinvention of ourselves-sometimes from scratch. We all make paradigm shifts of epic proportions, live without all the answers, make repairs and improvements and sail ever on.

Let's go up on deck for a moment; let the evening crew take over the oars.  I want us to feel the winds of change in our faces and dream of what is just beyond.

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