Daily Thoughts 145: Retirement and Staying Put

Author's selfieTwo co-workers, fixtures in my library world, are retiring. Actually, one just did and another leaves in a few weeks. This has, understandably, initiated a great deal of conversation. Surprise is a common reaction to the announcement. Sometimes even disbelief that such a seismic change as struck, the intensity varying by distance from the epicenter.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in their Employee Tenure in 2016 report that the median number of years employees had been with their current employer was 4.2 years, down from 4.6 in 2014. The rest of the release breaks it out into more detail. Older employees tended to have been with their employer longer. Public service employees stayed longer than private sector employees.

I don’t have numbers on this from work, though I suspect it’s higher than the national average. We have employees that have worked 40+ years, 30+ years, and those like me that are in the 20-30 year timeframe. The percentage of employees working for the library more than 5 years is likely fairly high. Pay grade also has an effect on turnover. We have many employees that have changed positions while staying with the library. I have moved through multiple positions from supervisor, to manager, coordinator, and now district manager.


Motives for remaining with the same employer likely vary considerably. I take a great deal of satisfaction from my job. I also have quite a number of years until I reach even an early retirement age. There are many benefits in staying with the same employer. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

Fundamentally, I enjoy my job. I have plenty of outside interests that I also find rewarding. I appreciate the stability that comes with the position. Does that mean that I’d never look at other options? No. I’m certain that there could be other employers, other positions, that would also be rewarding and engaging. Such opportunities would also likely mean relocating, which would have to be considered carefully. I don’t want to disrupt my family’s lives without a good reason.

Daily Thoughts 143: Sunshine and Studies

Author's selfieBack to the library today. Not a bad thing! Except catching up on things that piled up with a couple days off. The next few weeks I have a few days here and there to give me more time to wrap up my classes for this semester. Just about two weeks left now! Hard to believe sometimes that I’m nearly done (except the portfolio this fall).

Heading to bed early tonight. Tomorrow I’m heading out to the coast to help out with some training.

Daily Thoughts 142: Alien Day! LV-426

Author's selfieI took off a couple days to work on projects for my MLIS class. I also took some breaks to play Heroes of the Storm. Yesterday they released the new update, including mega bundles of heroes for logging into the game, and a new cinematic.

Loads of fun!

Alien Day

I love the Alien franchise. It’s had its ups and downs, of course, what series doesn’t? I still enjoy them. Even my least favorite movies of the franchise have moments that I love.

I tuned in for the live Alien Day event on YouTube. It was fun, but the Alien: Covenant | Prologue: The Crossing was the best part.

Daily Thoughts 141: Driven to Create

Author's selfieI find my schedule shifts when I’m off work. It shifts by a couple hours. I go to bed later and get up later. I usually try to keep my schedule consistent but it has slipped a bit the last couple days. It makes me wonder what it would end up as if I didn’t need to be at work at a regular time. Not that I’m likely to find out anytime soon!


Drive cover artI’ve been listening to Drive by Daniel H. Pink the past couple days. It’s an interesting look at motivation. I’m also reading A Whole New Mind on my Kindle.

The research on intrinsic motivation is perhaps more recognized now. I’ve been in discussions in which the topic is brought up with familiarity (such as the issues with incentivizing reading in a library program). I’ve always been much more motivated by intrinsic drives—except when I wasn’t. This morning, as I listened, I realized that a big part of issues I had in the past stemmed from putting pressure on my writing and other projects that didn’t need to be there.

Get off the day job.

That was the goal in the Game, a writer’s simulation I participated in as part of a master class with other professional writers back in October 2009. The whole thing was set up for the old style of writing proposals, submitting those to publishers, getting a contract, and managing infrequent (sometimes delayed) payments from multiple projects to stitch together a living. The object was simple. Track everything, sell pitches, and make enough to quit the day job.

Except that isn’t everyone’s goal. In fact, as I’ve come to appreciate, there is much about working in the library that I value. I’m excited by my library career these days. The opportunities aren’t limited to the job. I have plenty of library-related projects I plan to pursue outside of my regular position. Those projects stem from intrinsic motivation. In nearly every class that

In nearly every class that I’ve taken since going back to school for my MLIS, I’ve purchased additional books related to the topics taught so that I can further my learning in the areas I find particularly interesting. Big data, data visualization, data analysis, design, web and app development, programming languages, and the future of the librarian profession. Daniel H. Pink is an example of that trend. We had a few chapters from A Whole New Mind assigned, but I’m reading the entire book. And now Drive.

I have dozens of more books to read. Plus, I’m working on other lessons from Code School, Lynda.com, Microsoft Imagine Academy, and more.

While continuing my other studies and projects in writing and illustration.

It all comes together. A number of the projects I want to tackle are simply not possible within the current structure of the library. No matter. If it’s something that I want to do, I’ll go ahead and do it.

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This post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 140: Creative Commons

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Creative Commons Licenses.

Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world.

Cover art for bookA new book comes out May 5thMade With Creative Commons by Sarah Hinchliff Pearson and Paul Stacey. I didn’t know about the Kickstarter project but the book release (a printed book) comes at an opportune time. I’ve been aware of CC licenses for a long time. I’m familiar with Cory Doctorow’s work in this area. As a librarian, I see tremendous value in the power of sharing. It’s interesting and I can’t wait to read the book. I’m figuring out exactly how using CC licenses for my works in my massive reboot will work.

Along with ideas from Kevin Kelly’s book The Inevitable, I’m going back to some of the ideas that I had at the beginning of my writing effort. Doctorow was one of those writers that inspired me in the beginning of my work as an indie writer. My focus and interests have shifted over time.

Why Use Creative Commons?

It’s an interesting question, justifying sharing. “It’s simply not what one does.”

Sharing often ends up equated with piracy. “Argh, ya mateys, you’ve drawn yer last breath fer sure!”

I don’t know how “piracy” ended up associated with unauthorized copying of intellectual property. It seems an odd word to use. In any case, Creative Commons licenses help creators to provide sane licensing terms to their work. Sane, because copyright laws as they currently exist serve as a weapon against both creators and the public alike. Laws mandate severe penalties and have become so complex that the average person easily runs afoul of the law without realizing it. Creators sign contracts with enormous media corporations with armies of lawyers crafting contracts that strip creators of rights. Copyright laws have extended the duration beyond all reasonable expectations.

When it comes down to it, though, it’s less about all of the issues around copyright and is really just about sharing. That’s something librarians do. People do. I tell you about a book I read and offer to loan you my copy. Or you hear about an author and go to the library to borrow a copy. Ideally, the library would have any book you want. Often they do or are able to obtain it by borrowing a copy for you from another library.

Why wouldn’t you want to share? Typically, because you want to make money. Imagine this conversation.

A friend of yours claps you on the back. "I finished the book! I'm really excited about it! I can't wait for you to read it!"

"You finished! Congratulations! I'd love to read it."

"Thank you, that'd be great. Ten bucks."

Your drink goes down wrong. You clear your throat. "Excuse me?"

Unlikely? Maybe, but that’s essentially the way it goes sometimes. I’d rather a different conversation.

You sit down next to your friend and lift a finger to get the bartender's attention.

"You read it?"

You struggle to keep the grin off your face and give up. "It was great. Congratulations, it was fantastic. Really, well done."

"Thanks! I wasn't sure, you know?"

"Drinks are on me tonight, to say thank you for letting me read it. I'm going to tell everyone about it. How did you come up with it? You have to tell me all about it."

I’m happy to pay authors for their work. I’ll buy favorite books in multiple formats. I recommend books I enjoy to others. People want to support creators. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to support your work. That’s what I want to do. I want you to be able to enjoy my work, to share, and to support my efforts if you’re able. I’m still figuring out how that will look, but it’ll be part of my massive reboot.

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This post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 139: Earth Day

Author's selfieI want to leave a better planet for future generations. I’d like to see a more sustainable future for everyone. It isn’t easy. Sometimes it seems like there is too much to tackle. Even so, sometimes it is the little steps, taken by many, that make a global difference. Climate change is a perfect example. We didn’t sit down and come up with an international agreement on what we were going to do in order to raise the global temperature. We’ve done the same things any species does in expanding, reproducing, seeking new food (energy) sources, etc. All of those steps add up to a big impact. Only one of the myriad ways in which we impact the planet, while at the same time adversely affecting ourselves.


I took a small step today. It might seem inconsequential. I walk every day past trash and litter. I’ve thought many times that I need to take a bag and pick things up as I go.

clean up your planetIt took less than a mile to fill the bag and then I carried it the rest of the way, sometimes stuffing in one more small item. I walked past more trash. Was there any reason I couldn’t do it on other days? No. I just needed to do it. It’s something I can easily do.


Today is also the March for Science. I work Saturdays, but here are some important words from Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Daily Thoughts 138: Heroes of the Storm

Author's selfie Almost two years ago Blizzard launched Heroes of the Storm. I played a few games, but haven’t really spent any time playing. As I near the end of my MLIS classes (other than the portfolio) one of the things I’m looking forward to having more time to do is play games. I have tons of projects I want to do from my massive reboot of my writing and publishing efforts, to library work (outside of my regular job), to coding and development projects.

And I want to have time to enjoy games, both of the tabletop and video variety. Blizzard is about to launch Heroes of the Storm 2.0. Since I haven’t played much at all, I’ll be starting essentially from scratch. Looking forward to spending some time in the Nexus!


Daily Thoughts 137: Favorite Games

A great many years ago, we embarked on great adventures with StarCraft, WarCraft II, and Diablo. Expansions and new games followed, eventually World of WarCraft and StarCraft II. It’s been a blast and these games have endured, remaining favorites.

Today we received a box of Blizzard merchandise. They’d had a Spring clearance sale with items 75% off. It’s been a fun evening. I’m looking forward to more flexibility in my schedule as I finish my MLIS classes. For the first time in a couple years, I have an active WoW account again. It’s going to be fun!