When I last wrote here, I was getting to a point of closure on the PhD dissertation I’d been thinking and researching about for nearly a decade. Or so I thought. What I didn’t realize was that editing is really, really difficult when you spend that much time thinking and reading about a very narrow topic. It was painful for remove nearly a third of my second chapter on what was really just background material, better served in an appendix. I also found out just how opportunistic people can be when faced with new emerging content in their own area of interest. Other scholar-practitioners proved vociferous in their counsel on the supposed value of such commonsensical outcomes. But these experience also served as useful material for personal reflection.
For now that I am a freshly minted doctor of philosophy in psychology with a specialization in industrial-organizational psychology, I too find it easy to judge. Scholarly criticism can do much to help the process, if it’s provided as helpful counsel from one pilgrim to another on the shared highway of knowledge and enlightenment. However, it can be just as easily a finely tuned weapon for personal character assassination and ridicule. What I’m learning is to avoid those places where the unsuspecting can be quickly snared into conversation and then just as quickly be administered a subsequent annihilation. Better to take the more pastoral venue where the excitement is not as high, the return on investment more gradual, but where the personal interaction yields much more favorable outcomes.
As I muse on how an applied psychologist can ease the relational interactions of the workplace, I trust that they will prove helpful. For too long psychology has remained a collection of theories protected by its creators and their disciples. This is but the first propositional stage of learning where qualitative research provides a grounded theory for further quantitative analysis by hypothesis testing. The workplace receives those who often all too ready to offer pithy aphorisms that easily become commandments committed to memory and repeated repeatedly to one’s coworkers. Such metaphors help make clear complex concepts, but cannot suffice as the extent of our contributions. The difficult task of repeatable analysis through observable, empirical data must go with those first observations, if workplace psychology is to give the needed counsel humans require as their brains are being plowed with propaganda and their sentiments mined for niche-market preferences.
The desert has always been a place where people have fled for solitude and synchronicity. As I return from my sojourn there, I know that I will need to return from time to time for further meditative reflection and insight. However, it is a wonderful realization that the desert is not a permanent destination but merely a useful device in the mission of helping others along the Way.