I am the Program Coordinator for the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program at Seattle Pacific University. I have been in this position for just over a year and wanted to take a chance to communicate what I have learned in this past year. When I began this position I knew nothing about Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I had spent the past 20 years of my life focused on the sport of gymnastics. I competed for Seattle Pacific’s gymnastics team, and upon graduating I began my current position. Needless to say I have learned a lot in the past year….
So, here goes.
What I’ve learned about I/O Psychology in the past year
1. People spend the majority of their life at work
2. People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers
3. The character of a person is just as, if not more important, than the job qualifications
4. People develop on the job, in real time
5. I/O Psychologists work with businesses to select the best employees for the job, which leads to more longevity in the company
6. I/O psychologists perform assessments to evaluate the performance and learning of employees, and then can use those assessments to improve the overall performance of the company
7. I/O Psychologists work in a variety of settings, from human resources, private consulting, in fortune 500 companies, law firms and universities
8. Good leaders help those they lead to accomplish tasks and have them feel like they did it on their own
9. The students in the I/O program at SPU come from all over the country, from a variety of degrees, life situations, values, and ages, and share the same passion of changing the world of work.
10.The program at SPU provides the research students need to be competent practitioners in this field, and also teaches students the tools they need to put their research into practice.
Those are some of the lessons that have been important to me. Here’s what it has taught me about myself
1.I stepped into a new role that I knew nothing about ,and have had my most important lessons while developing on in this position. I have been charged with projects that put me on the edge of my comfort zone, and looking back those are the situations I have learned and grown the most in.
2. It didn’t matter as much what I knew about I/O Psychology, but rather the character, attitude, and work ethic I brought into the position. This is a lesson I will take with me wherever I go, and gives me confidence that I can continue to tackle things that seem daunting.
3.I was unsure when starting this position who I was outside of the gymnastics world, as it was the culture I had been immersed in since I was four. Instead of trying to change for the position I showed up exactly as I was, as my raw self. This has allowed me to grow, receive feedback, and realize what else made me unique and valuable outside of gymnastics. This has taught me to continue to be my real self in any situation.
4.I have learned a tremendous amount from those that are leading me in this position. I have leaders that give me honest feedback, challenge me, help me accomplish new projects, and have encouraged me to lead others. I have realized that the faculty “practice what they preach” because they apply the theories of leadership in their relationship with me.
5.I am not perfect. I grew up in a culture that required perfection, however, I am not expected to be perfect in this position. I am learning to accept imperfection, realizing that I am learning and developing in the moments when I make a mistake or something does not turn out exactly as planned. People have shown me grace when I do make a mistake, which is not something I had experienced in my past.
6. I will never know all there is to know about IO Psychology or this position. And I would never want to be at a place where I did have all the answers. It’s the not knowing that keeps me on the edge, eager to learn.
Again, I’m not a student in the program, but I’ve learned a few things…..