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caveat re -- workplace politics

Just a quick caveat on my previous post about workplace politics because I’d feel bad if I inspired someone to individually take on the advice of saying no or breaking most workplace cultures of politicking.

Do note that my example is with the ARL, not individual libraries. And I generally spoke more about the library, as institution, doing these sorts of things vs. individuals. When problems a large, systemic, and/or institutional, it is usually fairly pointless for a single individual to attempt change on their own.

Rather, the key here is utilizing collective power and organizing to work together. The ARL example could only have an impact if all of the ARL libraries (and, better yet, non-ARL libraries) were to all work together towards this common goal.

I can’t remember where I recently saw this analogy, but I know some believe that an individual can have a ripple effect, like a stone thrown in a still pond. The thing is, is that institutions are more like rivers. So that if you throw a single stone in, yes it’ll create ripples, but the ripples will soon be subsume by the flow of the river. And a single peble cannot substantively change the course of a river, if it makes any impact in this regards at all.

Many pebbles, however? Especially if placed with planning and foresight (rather than thrown in ad hoc)? This can make a difference.

If the day comes… I’ll likely play the game to the best of my abilities, since I have bills to pay. And I imagine you do to.

When I write posts like that, they should be understood as collective calls to action, not invidual. Don’t martyr yourself, it really doesn’t help anyone.