Friday Fable: More Music to Manage By

Posted by jlubans on July 26, 2013

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Caption: Country rocker Jerry Lee Lewis.
In my impressionable youth, living in the Boston (MA) ‘burbs, I got to see country rocker Jerry Lee Lewis perform his piano stomper, “Great Balls of Fire”. A subdued version is here.
Subsequently, Rock and Roll shows were “Banned in Boston” for many years. I wonder what influence Mr. Lewis and Boston’s banning had on my library career? Goodness Gracious!
Joining three previous posts (here, here and here) on Music for Managers, today’s Friday Fable highlights more country western songs for managers to ruminate about.

When the Phone Don’t Ring, You’ll Know It’s Me.
I used this title for its contradictory sense to suggest to librarians that the Internet was profoundly changing our work. Back then our users were (and still are) becoming more and more independent: search engines produced usable results and e-resources promised relief from trudging to the book stacks to retrieve that unique copy of an item. Those days of library dependence were slipping away and the best evidence, was in front of us every day – the long lines at the Reference Desk were no more and the phone rang with a marked lack of persistence.

Just in Time To Be Too Late.
Describes what our long-delayed response to rampant change might have looked like to our now-independent users. They’d developed their own ways of finding and using information. Playing catch-up is no fun. Some libraries knew sooner than others that little would remain the same. Those libraries that anticipated and adjusted still matter mightily – their relevance continued unabated - to their users.

If You Keep Checking up on Me, I’m Checking out on You.
A tune for crooning by micro-managers. A worker, regardless of industry, needs room in which to think and do her job. Telling her repeatedly what to do and how to do it might make the micro-manager feel good, but it will lead to resentment and low performance. Micromanaging takes many forms. One boss I called the creeper. He enjoyed silently coming up on workers and startling them – kind of like Jeeves doing his swami impression of being there and then not being there. All in fun, of course. Yeah!
Too close supervision can result in the loss of a good person who needs far less oversight than another worker who really needs it and you are avoiding. You know what I am talking about.

She Even Woke Me up To Say Good Bye.
Some staff really do rub it in all wrong. When I’ve screwed up, I could always count on a few subordinates to let me know I’d done so and to tell me more than once.

I’ve Been Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart.
For when the wheel of fortune tosses you out from the sky gondola unto the packed dirt pavement, A good song to reflect on the absurdities of what can happen at work. Or, when a good friend in the profession is elevated to a new position, higher than yours, and no longer wants to hang with you.

Please Put Her out of My Misery.
Sometimes it takes a metaphoric bus, like in “Thank God and Greyhound, She’s Gone.”

A Sad Song Don’t Care Whose Heart It Breaks.
In Houston, on my way to work at 8AM, I swear I heard this song coming out of the Hard Case Hangover Cafe on Fannin St. All morning, lachrymose music drifted out the open door (along with the fumes from last night’s beer) into the ears of the passerby.

I May Fall Again, But I’ll Never Get Up This Slow.
For the slow learner about human relationships at home and at work. It gets through eventually to even the most obtuse.

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Leading from the Middle Library of the week: Omaha Public Library.
Copyright - John Lubans, July 26, 2013

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