I am three weeks into my one-year Graduate Trainee Customer Service (GT) programme. So far, I have enjoyed it immensely. I often feel as if the Library and Archive Service (L&A) procedures go in one ear and out the next. However, practice makes perfect and I am at the advantage that everyone else knows what they are doing and are happy to help me settle in.
I recently finished a BA History degree. This summer, I applied for teacher-training but I realized during the interview process that I was glad to have finished secondary school and did not want to repeat the experience. Initially, I thought that since I was now bigger and smarter (?) I would be able to navigate the complexities of school-life with confidence. This June, while on a tour of a secondary-school, I took one look into the school playground and realized that I was wrong. I had already escaped from school and the school-children were as scary to the 25 year-old me as they were to the weedy 12-year old of the previous decade.
I was pleased to read about the RCN’s no-bullying policy on their website. I thought that it would be a good place for me to improve my inter-personal skills and discover whether an L&A job was the right career path for me. The job brief for the GT job seemed clear: give great customer service to our nursing membership and help promote the interests of the nursing community in everything we do. There is no average day at the RCN because our job at the L&A is to respond to the ongoing needs of our membership. We cannot answer any particular enquiry in the same way because no RCN member is the same.
Nevertheless, there are certain tasks that a GT needs to perform consistently and be on top of. One rewarding feature of the programme is the emphasis on self-development. It is the GT’s responsibility to book their place on CPD courses, Diversity and Equality training, the RCN On-board course, etc. Furthermore, I am encouraged to explore all specialist areas of the L&A service. My colleagues in other sections of the department inform me of their work on digitization projects, cataloguing, collections, E-Systems and digital archives, to name but a few. I am confident that by the end of this programme I will be in a much better position to decide what kind of L&A work would most interest me. I have chatted with colleagues who are currently studying part-time for an MA in Librarianship. In fact, I have already applied to do a postgrad course in Information Management (MSc) at Sheffield University. The RCN expects me to reflect on my career goals beyond this programme.
At present, I feel I need to master certain technical aspects of my role such as knowledge of database and family history searching. The software we use for the fundamental library tasks of checking-in and out books, renewing items, placing hold, etc., is Workflows. Workflows often gets the better of me and we have had our ups-and-downs. Nonetheless, I am sure that, as with all my colleagues, as we get to know each other better we will learn to work together in harmony.
I hope that I will be able to supply the L&A team with as much banter as my GT predecessors. As a first effort, I will now provide two cracking jokes below.
There are two sausages in a frying pan named Sausage 1 and Sausage 2.
Sausage 1 says to Sausage 2: “Oh my, it’s getting hot in here!”
Sausage 2 replies: “Ahhh, talking sausage!”
There was a magic tractor. The tractor drove down the lane and turned into a field.
 The RCN On-board course is a two-day induction event which involves, among many other things, an introduction to the history and purpose of the RCN, as well as training in giving tours.