Sea otters, orcas and octopodes

Anyone who was with me from Basic through LP knew I was obsessed with understanding Advanced Ed theories and practices. So I began to research. I read about: Why people changed? What is transformative leadership? How do group dynamics work? Does coaching create sustainable change? Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy work? How can goal setting be most effective? And so on…

Simultaneously, while I being mistreated at work, I began studying how organizations function, theories about leadership, what healthy organizations looks like, how to leverage emotional intelligence in the work force, how to create a work group into a work team, etc.

When I needed a break, for fun, I became obsessed with sea animals – sea otters, orcas and octopodes. I watched documentaries about their group dynamics, cultures, social structures, mating rituals, etc.

So, when in the midst of my search for the ideal MA degree, when I found a program that connected all of these topics, I enrolled.

It has been interesting, no question. Whether or not this is for me is still the question. Regardless, I have been killing my school-related goals! I have been making lots of friends, organizing study groups, networking with others and going to grad school events (today I went to a Deloitte open house about human capital management)! More importantly, since I am not super tied to my grades, I am excited about the fact that I do like studying for the sake of learning and the fact that I have been studying a lot (hours daily). I really do feel that I have an understanding and handle on the material. We did a group case study in class today and I felt that I could apply the material, which felt nice. What felt even better though, was what happened after class. I was talking with a classmate about school. She expressed some pressures she felt, worries and concerns. We talked about it a bit and I shared a few tools I had researched. I didn’t think much of it until I got home and saw this text from her “Your advice meant so much to me. Thank you is an understatement”. That meant the world to me. It gave me more satisfaction than all the studying, hope I gained during the Deloitte event, or success during the case study.

Thus far this experience in grad school has solidified a few realities for me: I need to feel like I am helping people; I prefer to work directly with people and see direct results; I love the idea that an org psych job will mean that I will work for a company that will be organized, functional, have a proper HR department and treat me relatively well (something I did not get in the non-profit sector); I love psychology.

All and all, things are coming along swimmingly.

As for my second goal which is related to a negative co-worker, I am making progress. I am learning to let comments slide and ignore other ones. I am realizing that in order to do that I have detached from her emotionally,  which makes it hard for me to socialize with her. I did pay attention one day to how many times she called co-workers or clients ‘moron’ or ‘idiot’ and how many times she swore saying things like “f my life” after a meeting didn’t go her way. Having that info in front of me reminded me that there is only so much negativity and anger I can handle from one person in one day. I will continue working on not internalizing it but also need to figure out how to remain social and cordial.




2 thoughts on “Sea otters, orcas and octopodes

  1. 1. LOVE how happy school is making you… confused when you say you’re not sure its for you… what will the neon sign read that confirms you’re in the right place?

    2. Are you suggesting that tths program combines orcas and organizational leadership (jk, but seriously), in my head half of your classmates are sea mammals.

    3. The coworker; (take with salt) have you asked her, when she says that someone is a moron, if she really means that? I experience that our culture is very casual with language and i wonder if she heard herself quoted back, she might start choosing her language more intentionally. Its just a thought.

    Proud of you. I never thought about the non-profit world being less functional, but that kind od opens some mental windows for me. Thanks.



  2. I am happy for your grad school experience, thanks for sharing how you choose the path and I could tell how much passion you have in HR and looking forward new styles and new thinking you would bring to the HR or organizational psy. world.

    Re your colleague, one has to be strong enough to defend off all the negativity surrounding him or her. We have choices at any given moments…


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