Who Am I…?
You might be wondering who I am…but I think the question you should be asking is: Why do I have something to say?
Let me start at the beginning -
My grandparents own their own business, a small automotive collision and restoration shop and, for most of my life my father worked for them. Little did I know hearing about the endless gripe where so-and-so did this and such-and-such is a mess would impact my career goals. I wanted to be a fiction author (and probably still do) and I didn’t realize until my introductory to psychology class in high school that I had an interest in directly impacting people’s lives.
I was inadvertently involved in the discussion of how my grandparent’s could run their business better every day at the dinner table. It made sense to me that changing a few things about how they ran their business could have a significant effect on the happiness of my entire family.
My junior year of high school I got the opportunity to pair with my best friend as co-editor in chief of the yearbook and experienced managing people, managing product, and managing money first hand. Without the bribe of pay we had to get creative with how to motivate our staff and educate them as well as keep our friendship healthy.
Around the same time I was the captain of the high school dance team a history of short-term, inadequate coaches and a less than enthusiastic student body support. It was up to me not only to convince the school to keep the team, but also to figure out how to teach skills and manage the behavior of the group in a way that established my credibility as a leader with my peer group.
When I was introduced to Industrial Organizational Psychology I was drawn to it. Here was a discipline that put science to the ideas I had. Here was a discipline that could help solve some of the problems with talent I experienced first hand.
It only took me a semester of undergraduate school to figure out that I wanted to commit to I/O. People spend most of their lives at work, so, to me, the best place to impact them would be to improve that significant chunk of their lives. I knew first hand the struggles of making money and also how imperative the people are to achieving an organizations goals. I was the first one to sign up for the I/O psychology concentration at my university. To help broaden my perspective I also took on a business minor.
Three years and a few months later my boyfriend called saying he got a job offer with General Motors in Michigan. (Perhaps here is where I mention that I grew up and went to school in the Northern part of Colorado). I was toying with the idea of getting my Master’s. I knew I wanted to be a bridge between science and the applied setting and I thought the best way to do that would be to avoid academia and get into organizations themselves either as a partner or as a consultant. The problem was that Colorado didn’t have any on-site master’s programs and since many employers are a bit wary of online degrees, the opportunity to go with my boyfriend to Michigan was the perfect way to continue my education.
So, I ended up here at Wayne State University in their Master’s of Applied Industrial Organizational Psychology program. Luckily, after a rather unfruitful job search, I was offered a position as a co-op at an automotive manufacturing company in Detroit.
Finally we are getting at the answer of why I have something to say. As I mentioned before, I knew I wanted to bring science to the “real world”. What I found when I started my co-op position was an unexpectedly large gap. With changes in my department (I work in Organizational Development) I am getting the opportunity to see the theoretical concepts I learn in school grow into a real organization. I think sharing what I learn in the process could be insightful for others and it will also help me document my experience so that I think through it more critically and process how events lead to my understanding of Industrial Organizational Psychology.