Monday, August 26, 2013

Maybe it's not a wall exactly, but just an opaque fog

So my last post was a complete downer. Not surprising really since I've been so lost with my genealogical progress lately. The problem of how to beat the stagnation that's taken up residence with my career trajectory is one that has just left me completely befuddled. But in venting about things, it helped me to brainstorm a bit. Maybe the solution actually can be found in the statement that I thought was the epitome of my problem; how to acquire the additional skills necessary to be successful in a certification application. If I look at those skills, one by one, I can try to figure out where I'm lacking. It makes a lot more sense to try and look at things that way rather than trying to guess what I need and try to fill each of those rather ambiguous holes. So I thought it might be helpful, for myself and for others as well, to just take another look at what is involved in the application portfolio. I've looked at it before, many times, but never with my eyes on what I need to do and whether I feel confident with each individual part.

To start with, for those unfamiliar with the CG credential, it is a credential awarded by the BCG or, Board for Certification of Genealogists. The credential is given upon completion and acceptance of a portfolio of work which shows a variety of knowledge, experience, and work which exhibits an adherence to the the BCG standards as mentioned in the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual and as such, to the The Genealogical Proof Standard. In all honesty, the GPS could be given its own blog. It's a subject which people can talk about and tear apart and dissect for ages. In fact, I'm currently taking a course where we are studying a new book specifically about the GPS right now (so you can probably expect posts on that coming soon as well). At its core however, the GPS is basically just a set of 5 elements through which you can show that you have sufficiently proven your conclusion. If you have gone through the process and worked within the GPS, you should have:

~ done a "reasonably exhaustive search" within the sources available
~formed citations for each piece of information that you have derived from the sources
~correlated all of your sources
~resolved any conflicts that turned up as a result of your search through sources
~written up your findings

I fully expect to see some comments either saying that I'm wrong here or building upon what I've written, but really, that's about the most concise way I can sum it up, as I understand it.  And with that, since the GPS and all of its intricacies aren't the subject of this particular post, I'm moving on :)

So that is what your portfolio should exhibit. Now on to the nitty gritty...

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Dream Crushing Wall

I'm going to take a little time to vent here and try to work out some feelings I've been having lately. I realize this is not a technical post, per se, so feel free to skip this one or go read a magazine or something until a new post pops up.

For the past year or so, truth be told probably a bit longer than that, I've been feeling like my career trajectory has become stagnant. I just haven't been making much progress towards getting those two magic little letters after my name and it seems like the "CG" will only be available for me to use in my dreams at night. For a time, I thought perhaps writing and getting my name out into the world that way would be the ticket. But the problem is, the writing doesn't happen by itself. Imagine that! And try as I might, it hasn't been coming easily for me. More importantly, without a larger client base (or really, any client base at all) the pool of cases available for me to use as topics is minuscule. What's more, there are even less of the more complex type necessary for a creating an interesting article. So...I can't write anything worthwhile when I have something to write about, and it's a rare thing to have something interesting to write about in the first place. Thus, the wall. Stagnation. Any number of dream crushing metaphors come to mind as I imagine my goal getting farther and farther away. Or at least it's not getting any closer and that's a problem. So how can I reverse this? Short answer, I have no idea. I could say I could try harder to get the writing thing going and surely something will materialize out of that. But that almost seems to be counter productive since that hasn't been working for me. Why go back to something that's not working? I think I need a new plan of attack. Since I've moved to Maryland, I offered to do some little jobs for people and got a huge response. But it was just that -- little jobs. Nothing of real substance there. But maybe there is something in just going to the Archives and poking around in things that sound interesting. Getting acquainted in things that generally mean nothing to me today. Sounds like it could be beneficial to my knowledge base, but how could that help get me closer to my goal? No idea. I'm spent. I don't have a clue how to proceed. I can do the research. I can process the results and do the evaluation. But I don't know how to finish acquiring the skills I need to be successful in a CG application. I don't know how to move forward and build a career for myself. It's one thing to say you want something but it's quite another to be able to make that happen. You can't just say it and make it so, you have to do it. I understand that. But what if there's no road map? What do you do then? Make your own?  Ok, I'm down for that. But how? Ugh. I need to figure this out. I don't want to be stagnant anymore.