Am I There Yet?

 

By Jose Walsh

 

In addition to contributing to our Agony Aunt page (go check it out!), Jose responded to the following question, and it’s one that I keep asking myself.

Is there a stage in your career where you think you’re no longer an emerging professional? Have you reached that yet?

About 2 or three years into my career, I met two great young women who were working at the National Portrait Gallery and the Australian War Memorial, and we started a social networking group for emerging museum professionals called CULT. The idea was to connect young people who were new to the sector (and perhaps new to Canberra), to make connections and friendships in the GLAM community. We did this because from our own experience, a lot of networking events in Canberra connected to conferences or professional organisations as a general rule were attended by older professionals who had potentially been in the sector for 15-20 years. This can be a little intimidating when you’re fresh out of uni and you’re a casual working the front desk at your institution. The group was really fun to be part of and it was really rewarding. I bring this up because I remember about two years ago thinking that maybe it was time to pass the baton on to someone else, that maybe I wasn’t necessarily an ’emerging’ professional anymore. I think there was definitely a part of me that thought I wasn’t as young and ‘fresh’ as I was when I entered the sector at age 22, but also that maybe I was a little more leaning towards feeling established rather than emerging, based on the career experience that I had had. 

   

Having said that, I think because so many people in the GLAM sector get the opportunity to work in different roles and across the sector during their careers, you are always learning and growing your skillset. When I started at the NMA in mid 2015, I read this great article by Kate Nessr (one of the writers for HerCanberra), titled ‘Are you Consciously Competent or Unconsciously Incompetent?’. It perfectly summed up how I was feeling at the time. Although I’d been working for some time in social media and PR at MoAD, I felt like I was learning from the ground up as the collection and workplace at the NMA was new and unknown to me. I think Kate’s article made me realise that it’s ok to be consciously incompetent with new aspects of your job, no matter how long you’ve been doing that type of work, as long as you’re always striving to learn and do the absolute best that you can.


Whilst we all strive to be masters of our craft, and be able to seamlessly achieve every task that crosses our desk, I believe it’s so important not to get complacent or overconfident in your work, as this prevents you from further learning and possibly being considered for other opportunities. 


So while I feel like I’m no longer an emerging professional, and I made the decision to leave an amazing permanent job of my own volition, I have no doubt that it would have continued to challenge me and help me grow. GLAMs are changing and evolving to meet new audience needs and expectations, and if you work in a digital role, you’ll always be looking ahead to trends, and trying to get across the latest social media channel or digital experience!

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