Saturday, January 10, 2009

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

I picked up this book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World ( as an advance reader's copy in the ALA Exhibits a couple of years ago and only recently picked it up and read it. Such an inspiring story of aligning one's life with a sense of purpose and mission though at the same time honest about some of the costs of doing so. I recommend the book and was prompted to reflection many times but I particular took note of this:

"I also think they were emblematic of humankind's unique ability to create order out of chaos. Much of human advancement depends on overcoming setbacks and making progress despite obstacles and tragedy ... They are aware that they cannot control or change the past, but believe strongly that they can have an influence over the future. Rather than being paralyzed by tragedy, they are catalyzed into action ... In my own life, I had never before responded to a disaster, not had I expected to. We had to invent a lot of it as we went along."

While libraries aren't typically having to respond to natural disasters and their impact on populations already living in extreme and dire need, the economic realities of the current time are causing many of us to realize that we may have to layoff some of our staff or we are struggling because we have already done so. As the information/knowledge/education industries continue to change and as we face new economic times, we too are inventing a lot of it as we go along. The values and mission of our profession and plain human goodness and decency are great guides but we also need our creativity and capacity for connectedness.

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