But are they a boon as leaders?
Once again I was leading a discussion of library directors, examining the serious and somewhat systemic issues facing our future and prospects for service. There are staffing issues (why are librarians always named as the problem rather than the solution? why are other staff more willing to experiment and try different roles?), there are financial issues (we seem to have an influence deficit), there are positioning issues (we face the prospect of “death by opportunity” given the many directions we appear to be pursuing).
Then one director smiled smugly and said she didn’t have to worry about it as she would be retiring in five years.
One colleague screamed (well, maybe it seemed like a scream to me) that we didn’t have five years to determine a direction and turn the ship.
Another indelicately suggested early retirement or just getting out of the way so those vested in the future could move forward.
Sadly this is not even close to the first time that I have witnessed this smugness.
How can we be passionate about an agency we see leaving to face its demise?
Of course, of course, there are exceptions.
But there are also too many people clogging the talent ladder at a time when those who will spend most of their lives in the future need to provide leadership in shaping it.