11 May 2017

Can I work here?

Can I work here?

Industrial/organizational psychologists offer their advice for helping job seekers determine whether a potential employer offers a good fit

Workers who feel valued by their employers are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and be motivated to do their best. They're also less likely to want to leave the organization in the next year, according to APA's 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, which polled more than 1,500 U.S. workers.

The survey also found that work-life fit—or how well a job fits with the rest of an employee's life—plays an important role in employee retention, says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, who directs APA's Center for Organizational Excellence. "Americans spend a majority of their waking hours at work and, as such, they want to have harmony between their job demands and the other parts of their lives," Ballard says. That means that to remain competitive, employers need to create environments where employees feel connected to the organization and have a work experience that's part of a rich, fulfilling life.

How can psychologists determine whether a potential employer will give them that positive experience and work-life fit? Some industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologists point to the importance of matching an employee's values with that of the organization. Others say previous work experiences—such as the factors they did and didn't like about a job or supervisor—are key indicators of what to look for in a new role. Overall, though, determining whether an organization is a good match has to start with a thorough understanding of your career priorities, I/O psychologists say. "It is as much about what your needs and preferences are as it is about the organization," Ballard says.

Look inward. Before the job search, psychologists should pinpoint what their work interests are, says I/O psychologist Edgar Schein, PhD, a professor emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Start by conducting a self-analysis of your career to date to help you determine your strengths, your values and what motivates you—or, as Schein calls it, your "career anchor." His research on career anchors has shown that most people place different amounts of emphasis on the importance of eight categories or preferences. They are technical/functional competence; general managerial competence; autonomy/independence; security/stability; entrepreneurial creativity; service/dedication to a cause; pure challenge; and lifestyle.

So, for example, among clinical psychologists, some want to work for an organization because they are more security/stability oriented, while others want to set up private practices because they want to be on their own.

He points out, however, that often one's anchor can't truly be discovered before spending several years in the workforce. "This really is a deeper level of knowledge about oneself that isn't usually something people know when they graduate," he explains. "They need 10 years of experience to really figure themselves out."

Network with experts. Early on in your career, Schein recommends reaching out to psychologists who are in jobs you can imagine moving into. "Find someone ahead of you in your career and get a sense of what work is like for them at that job," he says.

Determine personal priorities. Job seekers also have to think about their personal priorities and interests before they start their job searches, says Helena Cooper-Thomas, PhD, a professor of organizational behaviour at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Her point is backed by new research: In a meta-analysis of 92 studies with nearly 35,000 participants, employees whose interest profiles matched their job profiles were more likely to perform better, help others in the organization and stay with the company longer. The study, led by Michigan State University I/O psychologist Christopher Nye, PhD, shows that it's not a person's overall interest in a particular kind of work, but how their interests across various types of work match with the skills and tasks involved in a particular job. The researchers surmise that this match—known as person-environment fit—is a much better predictor of job performance than the more general interest or personality measures often used by college career centers (Journal of Vocational Psychology, 2017).

One way job seekers can determine whether their interests match with those of other company employees is to search for the employer on LinkedIn, Ballard says. There, you can often find employees' public-facing profiles, which can offer insight into the skill sets and longevity of people who work there.

Consider a "misfit" job. Candidates should also consider where they can tolerate or even benefit from "misfit," Cooper-Thomas adds. "If you're the type of person who likes to have fun at work by playing pranks or telling jokes, you probably wouldn't do well in a secure facility, while those with a competitive streak may conflict with the compassionate and calm values found in some health-care settings," she says.

But having knowledge or skills that are different from one's colleagues can result in more innovative ideas and helpful solutions, which can help employees get noticed and accelerate their careers, she points out.

Do more research. Once psychologists determine the factors that matter most to them in a job, they should read up on any organization they are interested in, paying particular attention to its mission or values statement, says Ballard. "Something that's often telling about an organization's attention to employee well-being is whether or not it has something about creating a positive or healthy work environment and supporting staff built into its mission statement or values," he says. He also recommends doing an Internet search using both Google and Glassdoor to see how the organization is portrayed and whether, for example, they've been embroiled in any controversy. "Look not just at the things the organization itself posts, but also the kinds of comments, statements and reactions they get from other people," he says.

Get specific in your interview. Of course, it's always helpful to ask about an organization's culture during the interview process—the drawback is that there is no guarantee that the recruiter's espoused values are the values in use, warns Cooper-Thomas. What can be more helpful, she suggests, is asking your interviewers to be more specific by sharing an incident at work that reveals the organization's values in action. Interviewers could discuss a time they were particularly proud of their employer, for example.

Cooper-Thomas also notes that every organization has different layers of culture, so job seekers should try to ascertain whether they would fit with the people they would work with on a daily basis, such as supervisors and colleagues. She suggests paying particular attention to how employers treat people: Is the receptionist friendly and helpful? Did the interviewers show respect by arriving on time? Did they answer the job seeker's questions honestly?

Gauge your potential support system. Also ask interviewers about the amount of autonomy employees have within the organization, the organization's structure and the kinds of support available, Ballard says. For example, if you're looking for a job where you're providing clinical services, you'll want to know whether there is administrative, billing and collection support.

In addition, pay attention to how formal or informal the work environment appears to be, as well as how diverse and inclusive it is, Ballard says.

And if it's important to you, talk to the recruiter and your potential supervisors about flexibility and work-life fit to find out if you'd have the ability to modify when, where, and how much you work to accommodate your needs.

Think about the "fun factor." Early career psychologists have spent many years studying and planning their career paths, and are usually quite passionate about further developing them, says University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Ayelet Fishbach, PhD. But when it comes to sticking with a job, people thrive most when they're doing interesting work with people they like, according to research by Fishbach and behavioral science doctoral candidate Kaitlin Woolley (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2015). So, in addition to looking for benefits such as career development opportunities, it's important to consider whether you can expect to enjoy, be challenged, fulfilled and experience social connections in a work setting, the authors say. "A workplace that offers immediate benefits in terms of engagement and enjoyment is a place where people stay," Fishbach says.

Find out what a typical day would really look like. Finally, Schein encourages job seekers to get personal with the people they're interviewing. That means spending time to get to know the one or two people you have met in the organization by asking them why they got into the field and how they like their jobs. This tactic works best toward the end of the interview process, he says, or even as a follow-up call once a job is offered.

"What you really need to find out is not about all the benefits and bonuses that might be available to you, but what you'd really be doing day by day and would the people around you be supportive of that," Schein says. 

Trust your gut

Before you take a job, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Will I be pursuing my true interests in this position?
  2. Will I have the work-life balance I want?
  3. Do my co-workers seem to mirror my values?
  4. Will I feel valued by this employer and in this position?

By Amy Novotney


Did you find this article useful?

1 0
10 May 2017

7 Things to Consider Before Starting a Side Hustle

7 Things to Consider Before Starting a Side Hustle

Making extra money on the side sounds great, right? Thanks to the internet and mobile technology, new ways of making money after work are becoming a norm in our society. Side hustles can serve several different purposes – from creating an emergency fund, retiring early, or making a down payment on your first house.

It seems like there are endless stories about people striking it rich from a random side gig, but there's actually much more to it than meets the eye.

Side hustles, no matter how small, are still a business. Just like you have to hustle to get ahead in your actual job, the same goes for side hustling, and it may be even harder because you are building it from the ground up!

Here are 7 things to seriously consider before starting a side hustle:

1. Do you have a business model?

This can be a fairly intimidating aspect of starting any type of business, especially if you don't have any prior experience. The most important part of building a successful brand is learning how to plan correctly and find your target market.

Here are a few things you'll want to think about when you are planning your side-hustle strategy:

  • Does the service you are providing actually provide value?
  • How will you advertise and find clients or customers?
  • What is the realistic amount of time it will take to get your business up and running?
  • Is there a specific legal structure that would work best for your type of business?
  • What are the tax implications that you may face later down the road?

While you may be thinking that your business will just be a hobby that you do in your spare time, it's always smart to make sure that you understand every aspect of your business before getting started.

Don't be afraid to hire an attorney to help you create a strong legal structure that will separate the business from your personal assets. If you don't, it's possible that your personal assets could be vulnerable in the unfortunate circumstances of a lawsuit.

You may also want to pay an accountant to give you guidance on the best tax strategy for your side hustle moving forward. If there is anyone you don't want to forget about, it's the IRS.

2. You may need startup capital

In addition to the professional services mentioned above that you may need to cover the cost for up front, there are also other business expenses that you may need to prepare for.

Even a service as simple as pet-sitting requires extra money in gas and potentially pet insurance.

Many side hustles don't require a massive amount of startup capital, but it's always a good idea to sit down and create realistic estimates on what it will cost you to run your business.

3. It can take more time than you think

The time that it takes to run a successful side hustle has to come from somewhere, and it's usually what would be your time to relax on the couch or go to a movie on the weekend.

Depending on the nature of your side hustle, you may need to schedule your time very carefully to make sure you are still able to do things that help you recoup from your actual job.

4. Your primary income comes first

It's easy to get obsessed about the extra income that is coming in from your side hustle, but your primary job still needs to come first.

One of the biggest risks involved with creating secondary income streams is that you are essentially burning the candle at both ends. The last thing you want to do is experience "burnout" at your main job or have your performance slip to a point where you could be fired.

No matter how great your side hustle is, if it doesn't at least match or even exceed your day job income – it needs to take a back seat.

5. Do you have a goal?

With as much time as side hustles actually take to become successful, you'll want to make sure that you have a goal going into it that will help keep you motivated to put in the extra work.

It could be as simple a goal as saving extra money for vacations, or as big a goal as retiring from your job 10 years earlier than you originally planned. Whatever it is, make sure that it's important enough to push you to put in the extra time.

6. You'll probably have to learn to sell

The reality of keeping a business alive is that you'll have to feed it with new sales. If you have no background in sales at all, trying to convince other people to give you their money for a product or service can be fairly intimidating.

While there are certainly sales strategies and tactics you can learn – it's going to take trial and error. Every time you have a successful sale, there may be ten times that you get turned down.

Just like with anything else, practice makes perfect.

7. It could fail

Before you take the leap into part-time entrepreneurship, you need to understand that your venture has a real chance of not making it. There are a number of reasons for this, but at the end of the day it's just the nature of business.

They just don't always make it.

Fortunately, if you provide a great service or product that gives value to your target consumers, you're much more likely to thrive.

Don't let this list discourage you

Even though the above list may make side hustles seem like an intimidating challenge, they are still an incredible tool for getting ahead financially and meeting your biggest goals sooner than you originally planned.

As long as you take your side gig seriously and treat it like a real business, you have a great chance to find success and create a viable second income stream.

-- Bobby Hoyt is a former high school teacher who paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in a year and a half. He now runs the personal finance site MillennialMoneyMan.com full-time, and has been seen on CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Reuters, Marketwatch, and many other major publications.

The opinions and advice expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those held by the American Psychology Association (APA).
05 May 2017

Why You Should Consider Pursuing a Side Hustle

Why You Should Consider Pursuing a Side Hustle

You've probably seen plenty of chatter out there about the emergence of the "side hustle" in recent years. In the personal finance world, it's an extremely popular topic to write about because so many people are looking for ways to make money right now.

A quick Google search will yield page after page of side hustle ideas that range from easy tasks like dog walking, to more complex strategies like becoming a virtual assistant or a social media manager.

While most of the ideas out there can seem a little fluky at first, side hustles (and ultimately secondary income streams) can actually provide a huge advantage for the people that commit to them.

Here are some reasons you should consider pursuing a side hustle this year:

Repay your student loans faster

One of the biggest challenges for mental health professionals after graduating is dealing with substantial amounts of student loan debt.

There are several strategies you can deploy to manage or pay student loan debt off faster, but one of the most effective ones is fairly straightforward: make more money.

It's easy to get wrapped up in all of the different aspects of personal finance, but the reality is that it comes down to simple concepts like saving more or making more. If you can do both, you'll be a financial rock star.

Admittedly, increasing your income sounds much easier said than done. However, a successful side hustle allows you to generate money independently from your primary income source, and can be a huge asset in paying off student loan debt early.

Even just an extra $250-$500 per month in side hustle income over the first ten years of your career equates to $30,000-$60,000 extra that can be applied toward student loan debt. You don't have to make a ton of money in your spare time to generate massive amounts of money over the long term.

More freedom to change jobs

Let's face it, the days of staying at one company or one job for extended amounts of time are quickly fading away.

According to CNN Money, a recent study by LinkedIn found that young professionals will change jobs as many as four times by the time they are 32 years old. Changing jobs is now seen as a faster way to advance in a career by negotiating salaries up by as much as 15% with each move.

So what does that have to do with side hustles?

While we would all like to have smooth transitions between jobs, it's just not always the case. Having extra money coming in from a small side business could be the difference between settling for a job you don't enjoy or holding out for the perfect gig.

Essentially, a side hustle can buy more time and also cut down on the anxiety that's often associated with being between jobs.

Saving up for a house or emergency fund

Most people have experienced that sinking feeling of writing a rent check every month, knowing that they could be building equity with their own home instead. The same goes for not having enough cash available in an emergency fund.

It's a little harder to sleep at night when you know you aren't quite prepared to handle a life curveball that might come your way.

Even if income from a side hustle isn't consistent, it can be a powerful way to build up a nice emergency savings fund of 3-6 months of income or a 10%-20% down payment on your first home.

A head start on investing

When you first start earning good money at a job, it's surprising how quickly that money gets allocated to other areas like rent or student loans.

Everybody knows they are supposed to be investing as much as possible for retirement and wealth building, but early in your career (when you have the most time for compounding interest to go to work) it can be a massive challenge.

Using the same numbers as the above example, the power of a small side hustle is pretty impressive: $250 per month of secondary income invested in the market (assuming a stock market average of 7% returns) over 10 years becomes $41,449.34.

$500 per month with the same criteria over 10 years becomes a whopping $82,898.69.

Potential full-time entrepreneurship

Side hustles can be a sneaky way to make a smooth transition to full-time entrepreneurship. While it might not be the goal from the beginning, it is entirely possible that whatever side hustle you choose to pursue eventually becomes your full-time job!

Most commonly, this happens because side hustles are built around things that people really enjoy doing. It's almost essential that a secondary income stream comes from some type of passion project, or by seeing and fulfilling a need in your current field that isn't being met the way you think it should be.

Once the income from a side hustle matches your primary income consistently over time, you have the option to pursue it full time with fairly low risk.

The other great thing about building a side business is that there isn't a rush to make anything happen too quickly. Having a strong primary income allows you to build something slowly over the course of years with much less risk than jumping into a larger business venture from scratch.

Don't expect it to be easy...

With all of this said, successful side hustles aren't nearly as easy as a lot of websites out there might have you believe. If you are seriously considering a second income stream, just understand that it will take the place of watching your favorite TV show in the evenings or replace a large part of your free time on the weekends.

It's really just like anything else – if you go into it expecting that everything will be very easy, you're probably not going to be successful doing it.

Take your time and do plenty of research on the competition, find out if there is a real need for the service you want to provide, and then go in on a secondary income stream with reasonable expectations.

-- Bobby Hoyt is a former high school teacher who paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in a year and a half. He now runs the personal finance site MillennialMoneyMan.com full-time, and has been seen on CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Reuters, Marketwatch, and many other major publications.

The opinions and advice expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those held by the American Psychology Association (APA).

Did you find this article useful?

1 0
04 May 2017

New CEO Talks About Future of APA

New CEO Talks About Future of APA

Just two weeks after Arthur C. Evans, PhD, took the helm of APA, he was thrust onto a stage in front of more than 450 APA staff members to talk about his vision for the association. He surprised the audience with a multiple-choice quiz about his favorite food and musical performer (lasagna and Dolly Parton, in case you were wondering) but he also sent a clear message: APA’s next chapter will be focused on making psychologists and psychology more visible to the general public.

“In my experience, people have a very limited view of psychology,” Evans said in an interview shortly after his first day as chief executive officer of APA. “They don’t understand the full range of research and science in the discipline. They should know the full impact of what we do, whether it’s in the media, in Congress or at the state level.”

Injecting psychology into the national conversation about public health and wellness is not just about treating the individual, he says, but about focusing on how psychology can have an impact on communities and society, making it relevant to people of all backgrounds.

Similarly, he says, being a member of APA is important for psychologists to feel connected and heard. “There are a lot of benefits of APA – the networking, the publications,” he said. “I’m interested in how to use the existing infrastructure and bring it into the age of Google and Amazon and Apple and make it really easy for people to benefit from all the resources we have.”

Before APA, Evans spent 12 years as commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, where he was widely recognized for transforming the city’s mental health system, improving its efficiency and changing lives. He invested heavily in empirically supported treatments and worked to implement evidence-based practices. At APA, he would like to continue finding ways to focus on and emphasize the science of the field. “I’d like to reach out to the science community who left APA or have elected not to join because they don’t perceive it as a place for them. I want every psychologist, no matter what they do, to feel like this is the place they should be.” 

And he’s already making sure psychologists’ voices are heard. At the recent round of consolidated meetings in Washington, D.C., Evans encouraged members to speak up about their work, and will continue to do that as he travels around the country and the world on behalf of APA and psychology. “I talked with different groups and asked them, ‘Do people know you’re doing this?’ We need to make sure the public understands it’s coming from APA and our field.”

In a new age of health care, psychologists cannot afford not to be part of the discussion, he says, whether it’s about research funding or prevention. “Right now, our health care system is only set up to deal with people after a diagnosis. There are tremendous opportunities for psychologists in population health to prevent health problems.”

As APA celebrates its 125th anniversary, Evans also wants to make sure the association stays on top of the latest trends in psychology, including emerging technologies, such as mental health apps, artificial intelligence and big data. “We cannot miss an opportunity to be a part of this research. We have to be on the leading edge.”

28 Apr 2017

How to Earn That ‘Welcome Aboard’

How to Earn That ‘Welcome Aboard’

Excellent interview skills are critical to landing the job you want. Here's how to prepare and follow up.

Some job-seekers think that they don't need much preparation before a job interview because they are outgoing or comfortable talking about themselves. But interviewing "is a skill and doesn't happen automatically," says Julie McCarthy, PhD, professor of management at the University of Toronto Scarborough in Canada. Confidence and strong interpersonal skills will only take you so far in the eyes of a future boss. As psychologists who are experts in the area will tell you, thorough preparation is key because it helps potential employers get a deeper understanding of your competencies, weaknesses and career goals.

"The point of good preparation is not to get a job, but the right job," says Paul Fairlie, PhD, president and CEO of a human resources and organizational consulting firm based in Toronto. That preparation includes thinking about your work history and the competencies you've gained. "It's a lot of work, but once you do this, you'll have a better sense of who you are and the type of job that will engage you," Fairlie says.

Here's some advice from psychologist experts on what to do before, during and after a job interview to boost your chances of getting the right offer.

Before the interview

Research the organization. Search for news articles about the company and read its annual reports, says Paul Yost, PhD, associate professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Seattle Pacific University in Washington. Invite someone who works at the organization to coffee to learn about the company's values and culture. This type of research prepared his psychology students for interviews at Amazon.com. They learned that the concept of "fail fast" is a key aspect of the company's culture—in other words, be proactive with a bias toward action, but constantly seek feedback so you can adapt and change as you go, Yost says.

"With this in mind, they knew to give examples of when they'd been highly proactive and adapted when problems arose," he says.

For academic jobs, study up on the school's financial situation and accomplishments by searching the web and talking to faculty members, says Robert Ployhart, PhD, professor and department chair of management in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

"Ask professors and administrators about the priorities of the department," he says.

Learn about the interviewers. Look up each person on LinkedIn, as well as on work or personal websites, then use this information to connect with them during the interview, says Laxmikant Manroop, PhD, assistant professor of human resource management at Eastern Michigan University. "I always tell my students that the similarity attraction paradigm applies in the job-seeking process," Manroop says. "Interviewers tend to view candidates more favorably when they share something in common."

Find out more about the job. Learn about the competencies and duties that will be required for the position. You can do this by looking at the job description and interviewing professionals in the field or at the organization who can explain what the responsibilities in the job description really mean, says Yost. Also, read about the specific tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities needed for positions like yours on O*NET, the free database that offers information about hundreds of job types.

Develop your narratives. Employers want to hear about problems you faced, the actions you took and the results—known as PAR in the HR world, says Yost. Write one-paragraph PAR narratives demonstrating a variety of competencies. Then rehearse these stories until they come naturally. During the interview, you can decide which narratives to share based on the questions being asked. Yost used this strategy when interviewing for a highly competitive job for a senior human resources specialist position at Microsoft. "I put together PAR stories showing, for example, how I had worked effectively with executives, developed selection systems and dealt with a project that had fallen apart," he says. Yost got the job.

Improve your resume. Add those narratives to your resume, too. "Once you've done the hard work of wording these examples in a resume, you will have an easier time remembering these stories in an interview. It will become your personal brand and message," Fairlie says.

Rehearse. Find someone to role-play the interview with and practice answering expected questions, Fairlie says. Invite the mock interviewer to identify distracting habits, or even better, film yourself and watch the footage, McCarthy says. "Nonverbal communication is critical," she says. "By watching yourself, you may notice that you are fidgeting or not maintaining consistent eye contact, and it is easier to fix a bad habit if you are aware of it."

During the interview

Keep answers concise. "It's much more powerful to give a short, targeted one-minute answer than to ramble," says Yost. "Interviewers can ask questions if they are interested in hearing more details. Research has shown that candidates who speak confidently, with fewer pauses and a little fast are rated more positively by interviewers, so it's better to err on the side of the hare rather than the turtle when it comes to speech tempo during an interview (Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009)

Ask questions. Interviewers often ask candidates if they have any questions—and it's critical that you do, Fairlie says. "Having good questions shows you have initiative, motivation and strategic thinking," he says. Ask about the reporting relationships and work flow of the organization, for example. Inquire about the management style of the person you will report to, and why the position is vacant. Not only will your questions help impress the interviewers, the answers will help you decide if the job is a good fit for you.

Focus on the organization. Talk about how you will add to the organization rather than what you will gain from the job, Yost says. Don't ask interviewers how and when you can expect a raise or promotion, Fairlie says. "It can come across as something that is entitled rather than earned," he says.

Nonverbal cues matter. Arrive a little early, dress appropriately, be polite to everybody, smile and make eye contact. Research also shows that a weak or firm handshake can make the difference between getting a second interview or not, Manroop says. A firm handshake shows resilience, strength and confidence, he says (Journal of Applied ­Psychology, 2008).

Be observant. Get a sense of the organization by noticing the environment and interactions between people during the interview, says Lisa Dragoni, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Business at Wake Forest University. When she interviewed for her current job, she was impressed by the large community space at the school's entrance. "I asked how often it was used," she says. "I learned that faculty, staff and students used the area frequently for meetings and informal gatherings. The school had designed the room and office spaces to foster collaboration. Knowing that was part of my decision."

Stay engaged. It's important to show consistent energy throughout the meetings, Dragoni says. "I've sat on a number of selection committees, and I've been surprised how often faculty will say that candidates didn't seem very interested. I wondered if this was because the applicants were tired at the end of the day."

After the interview

Send a thank-you note. Ask for each interviewer's business card, and send each of them a tailored letter, either handwritten or via email, says Yost. "Don't send a generic note," he says. "Mention something specific that you are excited about doing in the role and how you can contribute," he says. "Even if you don't get an offer, this will help employers remember you when the next job opens up."

Be ready to negotiate your salary. Gather information about the salary range for the job—websites like APA's Center for Workforce Studies are good places to start. "The first person to name a figure loses, as the old adage goes," Fairlie says. It's ideal to ask the employer to give a salary range to start the negotiation process, but if candidates are asked first, "the best way to respond is to ask for more information about the job, showing you understand the link between job responsibilities and compensation," he says. Once the employer makes an offer, feel free to ask for time to think about it.

Follow up. If you don't get an offer, call an interviewer after a few weeks to ask for feedback about why you didn't get the job, Dragoni says. "If you ask people for input, they are usually open to having a conversation," she says. "Ask what the basis for the decision was, what you could have done differently or better, and then thank them for their suggestions."

Stay connected. Invite the interviewers to connect with you on LinkedIn because these contacts may become important for networking in the future.

By Heather Stringer


Did you find this article useful?

4 1
28 Apr 2017

Untenured and Untethered: Replacing Tenure-track Faculty with Adjuncts

Untenured and Untethered: Replacing Tenure-track Faculty with Adjuncts
Susie Sympson, PhD, began her career as a grocery store clerk. When an injury forced her to quit and she returned to school, she began dreaming of getting a PhD and becoming a professor. She achieved her goal, earning a University of Kansas doctorate in clinical psychology and becoming an academic.

Her dream didn't turn out as expected, however.

Sympson has been an adjunct psychology professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, for the last 11 years. With an annual salary of just $21,000 for three classes a semester plus one in the summer, she hasn't put a dent in the principal of her $500-a-month student loan debt. And with such low pay, saving anything for retirement has been impossible.

"There's a lack of respect for our training and for us as colleagues," says Sympson. "The administration acts like adjuncts are a dime a dozen."

Sympson's case is far from unusual. Non-tenure-track professors now represent more than 70 percent of the academic workforce, according to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). As tenure-track jobs give way to what some call higher education's "adjunctification," it isn't just adjuncts who are suffering. The trend also has ramifications for student learning, research and even academic freedom.

Set up to fail

While many assume that economic factors are forcing schools to use adjuncts, the contingent workforce has grown fastest during boom times, says AAUP. Instead of investing in a tenured workforce, AAUP says, schools have invested in technology and facilities. Noting the low pay, long hours, long commutes, instability and lack of benefits, professional support and opportunities for advancement, a 2014 report by the U.S. House of Representatives describes adjuncts as "the working poor."

What happens when students are taught by professors struggling to make a living? A 2014 review of the evidence by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation cites lower graduation and retention rates and decreased transfers from two-year to four-year institutions. Those outcomes aren't the fault of adjuncts but of the last-minute hiring decisions, lack of office space and other supports and other working conditions adjuncts typically face.

That inability to perform to their highest potential can weigh heavily on adjuncts, says Gretchen M. Reevy, PhD, a lecturer in psychology at California State University, East Bay, who credits her union for making adjuncts like her some of the country's luckiest.

In a study of non-tenure-track faculty, Reevy and co-author Grace Deason, PhD, a University of Wisconsin La Crosse assistant psychology professor, found that adjuncts most committed to their school were more likely to suffer stress, anxiety and depression (Frontiers in Psychology, 2014). Other risk factors included low income, inability to find permanent positions and coping mechanisms rooted in denial or giving up.

And being adjuncts renders faculty less able to influence their institutions' administrations, adds Reevy. Adjuncts are typically excluded from governance bodies, so the growing preponderance of adjuncts means faculty have less sway.

"A lot of people aren't involved in curriculum decisions and so forth," she says. "The power is shifting from faculty to the administration."

Research suffers, too, according to an AAUP report. Doing research requires stability and continuity—luxuries many adjuncts lack given their year-to-year or even semester-to-semester appointments, the report emphasizes. In addition, adjuncts often cobble together jobs at multiple institutions or take on extra classes to make ends meet, so they have little time for research. Plus, institutions may not grant adjuncts access to laboratories or even libraries and often exclude them from professional development opportunities.

"Most people with PhDs want to do scholarly work," says Reevy, who has been teaching 10 to 13 classes a year for more than two decades. "It's a waste of their talent."

Realistic expectations

It's hard to know how many psychology professors are adjuncts, says Eddy Ameen, PhD, who heads APA's Office on Early Career Psychologists. For many, especially practitioners, being an adjunct is "a helpful but minor secondary source of income," he says. Ameen himself is an adjunct professor, a side gig that allows him to keep a hand in academia.

The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) is trying to determine how many recent grads are struggling as adjuncts, says Joanna Streck, a University of Vermont clinical psychology graduate student who serves on APAGS's Science Committee. She invites adjuncts to email her about their experiences at apags@apa.org.

Although advocates are working to change the system via living wage campaigns, unionizing efforts and calls to create teaching-oriented tenure-track positions, being realistic about your prospects is key, says Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, associate executive director of APAGS. "Students are being trained for positions that just don't exist anymore," he says.

Instead, he urges academically minded students to consider what used to be called "alternative" careers that will allow them to use their research skills in nonacademic settings. "When half of doctorates may not end up in academic settings anymore, they're no longer 'alternative' careers," he says.

Sympson agrees. "There's no way this represents any kind of a future," she says.

By Rebecca A. Clay


Did you find this article useful?

1 0
25 Apr 2017

How Did You Get That Job? A Q&A with Mediator Dr. David Gage

The knowledge, skills and experience gained through your psychology education and training can successfully transfer to a variety of jobs that you may never have considered. Mediator Dr. David Gage, PhD, uses his psychology expertise to prevent and resolve conflicts between business partners and family business co-owners. In this webinar, Dr. Gage discusses his experience as a mediator and as a founder of his own company, BMC Associates. Learn how you can apply your psychology background to a similar career path.


David GageSpeaker:

Dr. David Gage is the founder of BMC Associates, a multidisciplinary team of mediators with backgrounds in business consulting, law, finance and psychology that specializes in preventing and resolving conflicts in a niche population: business partners and family business co-owners. Dr. Gage says his interest in business, and his psychological training in couples, groups and family systems, prepared him to be part of a team approach with this undeserved population.

Host:

Dr. Garth A. Fowler is an Associate Executive Director for Education, and the Director of the Office for Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training at APA. He leads the Directorate’s efforts to develop resources, guidelines, and policies that promote and enhance disciplinary education and training in psychology at the graduate and postdoctoral level.

This webinar series is based on, and borrows its name, How Did You Get That Job?, from the popular column in APA’s monthly member-magazine, The Monitor on Psychology.

Did you find this webinar useful?

2 0
24 Apr 2017

Substance Use Disorders and Addictions Series

Substance Use Disorders and Addictions Series

Over the past few decades great advances have been made towards understanding the psychology of substance use disorders (SUDs) and addictions. This five-part series is designed to provide psychologists and psychology students with cutting-edge information about SUDs and addictive behaviors.

This series is a collaboration with the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology, the APA Science Directorate, the APA Center for Learning and Career Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50 of APA). *This series is eligible for CE credit. Earn 2 CE credits for each session.

The five two-hour programs focus on:

Overview of Substance Use Disorders and Addictions

An overview of the basic concepts of substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs) including, a review diagnostic criteria as defined in the DSM-IV, DSM-5 and the ICD-10, and comorbidity between SUDs and other psychological disorders.

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) for Substance Use Disorders and Addictions

SBIRT is recommended practice for many addictive behaviors demonstrating effectiveness in reducing risk and promoting movement through the stages of change. This workshop describes screening and brief intervention strategies that can be used to identify risky involvement with alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, tobacco, nonprescription medications and gambling behaviors.

Understanding People With Substance Use Disorders and Addictions

A look at some of the psychological, biological, and environmental factors that have been linked to the development of substance use disorders. The discussion also seeks to understand the challenges of living with addiction and considers the process of recovery and some of the factors that may help facilitate successful resolution of substance misuse.

Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Substance Use Disorders

An overview of the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines recommendations and how they were developed, including discussion of some of the gaps in the evidence base and selected clinical challenges.

Treatment of Substance Use Disorders in the Real World

A look at the most common addiction treatment modalities and content, with specific focus on identifying empirically-based principles of treatment and coordinating care with addiction treatment providers.

Did you find this web series useful?

19 0
20 Apr 2017

Finding Mentors Who Help Students Soar

Finding Mentors Who Help Students Soar

For minority students, finding mentors can be a challenge. Here’s how they can overcome barriers.

As an undergraduate at the University of California, Irvine, Jeanett Castellanos, PhD, was just glad she'd made it to college. Neither of her parents—both Cuban ­refugees—had graduated from high school, and they were exuberant about their daughter's success. "I thought I would just get a BA. I didn't think there was anything further," Castellanos says.

But that changed when a friend sought to introduce her to a professor who, she told Castellanos, "is going to change your life," Castellanos recalls. He was Joseph L. White, PhD, now professor emeritus at the university and renowned for his life-changing mentoring of many students. As soon as Castellanos walked into his office, she was greeted by "this charismatic, personable man" who helped her sketch out her educational trajectory on his wall-to-wall chalkboard.

Castellanos fulfilled the vision they outlined that day, which included a master's degree in counseling psychology and a doctorate in higher education. She went on to become director of UCI's Social Science Academic Resource Center, where she helped numerous undergraduate students secure the tools they needed to be ready for grad school. Today, she's a tenured faculty member with her own research mentoring program, and she and White are co-authoring a book on mentoring.

Castellanos's story speaks to the power of this vital academic relationship—how connecting with the right people at the right time can vastly influence a student's school and career trajectory. Yet for first-gener­ation students and many minority students, finding good mentors and getting the most out of these connections can be daunting. That's because in many cases they're not versed in the culture of academe, says White.

"These students are entering a new way of life, and they have to understand that it's more than just the academic side of college or grad school that's important," he says. "They need to get connected to the decision-makers in the field."

The obstacles to finding mentors and otherwise gaining a strong foothold in academe can be psychological as well, says Kevin Cokley, PhD, professor of counseling psychology and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His research shows that graduate students of color are more likely than white students to experience the "impostor phenomenon"—the belief held by some high-achieving people that they're frauds and will be seen as such. This phenomenon takes on added significance for students of color because they may internalize stereotypes that they're in school simply because of affirmative action, says Cokley, whose results are in press at the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Minority students "have to understand it's more than just the academic side of college or grad school that's important," says Dr. Joseph L. White, professor emeritus at University of California, Irvine.

"So when you combine that with what most grad students feel about imposterism," he says, "it becomes racialized."

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome such challenges and find great mentors who can help students achieve their highest potential. Here's advice from students and psychologists versed in this valuable relationship:

Know that you need them. Mentors aren't a luxury—they're a necessity, says Andy Choi, a fourth-year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and member of the APAGS Science Committee. "A lot of the training and socialization that happens in our field is very interpersonal, and those elements aren't necessarily structured into your coursework," he says. So students should recognize that they need others who are more advanced in the field to guide them, he says.

Seek many mentors. The complexity of grad school and crafting a career trajectory means that one mentor is not enough. To succeed, students need mentors to help them gain skills in a range of relevant areas, whether it's in academia, research, networking or other. 

University of Missouri psychology professor Lisa Flores, PhD, for instance, recommends that students have one mentor for their research development, one for networking and finding service opportunities, and another for navigating the world of practice. She also encourages students to seek mentors at different career stages—not just full-fledged faculty or professionals, but peer mentors as well. "Each person has something different that they can contribute to your career," she says. Students should also ask others to recommend people who can guide them, such as advisors, faculty members and fellow students.

Students in research-oriented programs are particularly likely to need more than one mentor—faculty who can address different aspects of the science they are studying, whether in content or methodology, says Choi.

Choose thoughtfully... Students should think about the types of mentors who can best round out their experiences, says Jasmín Llamas, PhD, an assistant professor at Santa Clara University. When she entered grad school, she spent her first year figuring out the kinds of training she was already getting and what she needed to fill in. By her second year, she was prepared to chat with her advisor about her direction and possible mentors who could help get her there. "It's really smart to get a feeling for what you need before you dive in," she says.

For many minority students, it can also help to find at least one mentor with whom they have a strong interpersonal connection. Llamas felt fortunate to have had an undergraduate professor who took strong interest in her academic success and helped guide her into the world of research. It was also a plus that she was, like Llamas, Latina. "We are both quite petite, but the way she carried herself really modeled for me that, ‘OK, you can have something to say,'" ­Llamas says.

...and speak carefully. In a related vein, consider what you want to learn before meeting with your mentor, recommends Joelle Taknint, chair of the APAGS Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity, which works to promote a psychology pipeline that represents the nation's ethnic diversity. "Be clear from the beginning about what you're hoping to get out of the experience, and find out what they're willing to give," she says. When mentoring relationships don't work, it's often because there's a mismatch in expectations concerning the scope of the mentoring relationship, she says. "Clear expectations upfront can help both mentor and mentee figure out what is most important for the mentee to get out of the relationship, whether it's networking, research mentoring, preparation for clinical work or other," Taknint says.

Leave your comfort zone. Students shouldn't limit themselves to mentors within their own departments. Going outside the psychology department can provide a more neutral sounding board for students' academic concerns, goals and desires. And for students pursuing interdisciplinary research, going outside the department is, for obvious reasons, a necessity.

In Choi's case, a positive experience with a research mentor from his university's department of education blossomed into a decision to gain an extra master's degree in quantitative methods—an expertise he knows will be valuable in his future research and when he's seeking an academic position. "The takeaway for me is to be open and flexible about finding mentorship outside your immediate field," he says.

Transcend your own stereotypes. While it might make sense initially for students to seek out mentors who share their ethnic or racial background, doing so isn't necessary for success, says Flores. In fact, a 2011 study in the Journal of Social Issues by Stacy Blake-Beard, PhD, of Simmons College, and colleagues found that while minority students may prefer mentors with similar backgrounds, students with different-group mentors have the same academic outcomes as peers with same-group mentors. What's more, it can be hard to find faculty mentors of color because they are few in number and often swamped with mentorship duties.

In Flores's case, most of her mentors have been white, and all have been essential in guiding her career trajectory, she says. Many have been white women who themselves have experienced discrimination in academe. Some also come from low-income backgrounds, a further impediment to academic success.

"These relationships challenged some of my own stereotypes about mentoring"—including that white faculty tend to come from privileged backgrounds and hence might be difficult to relate to. When that proved untrue, it was a valuable lesson, and it's a good one for psychology students in general, Flores says.

Get out there. Students can also connect with new mentors by volunteering or applying for teaching or research positions, Taknint suggests. When she was considering graduate school but wasn't sure whether her application was competitive enough, she took off a year after college and volunteered in the Marquette University lab of Lucas Torres, PhD, who studies Latino health disparities. One day Torres asked her to stick around after a meeting, and he spent the next hour encouraging her to apply to grad school. "He told me he thought I had what it takes, and that he wanted to do whatever he could to help make that happen," Taknint remembers. "That was huge for me, and it gave me the little kick I needed to give grad school a shot."

Students should also get involved with APA, APAGS, their state psychological associations and relevant ­ethnic-minority psychological associations—great places to find professional and other kinds of mentors, Taknint advises. "Any way to get involved in professional communities is a plus," she says.

Give back. Mentoring is often seen as a one-way relationship, with mentors giving and mentees receiving. Instead, students should think of it as reciprocal, and consider ways of giving back, Flores recommends. A particularly valuable way is simply sharing your achievements, both personal and professional. "Don't be shy. Mentors have invested in you as a person and a professional, and they want to be able to celebrate your successes," she says.

Another important way to give back: Become a mentor yourself, including by mentoring peers in earlier stages of graduate study within your program or lab. When Castellanos told White that she wanted to repay him for everything he'd done for her, his answer was always the same: "Pass it on."

Want more insights for helping low-income grad students succeed? Go to https://psychologybenefits.org and search for "strategies for success."

By Tori DeAngelis


Did you find this article useful?

0 0
30 Mar 2017

Surviving and Thriving in Academia: A Guide for Members of Marginalized Groups

Surviving and Thriving in Academia: A Guide for Members of Marginalized Groups

Surviving and Thriving in Academia: A Guide for Members of Marginalized Groups, is for women and psychologists of color pursuing careers in academia, including African Americans/Blacks, American Indians/Native Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, Latinas/os/Hispanics, White women (in some contexts), and the potential issues regarding intersectionality for these populations with other identities (i.e., sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, etc.). 

There are four overarching goals:

  1. Provide an overview of the current political landscape in academia.
  2. Assist new PhDs in seeking and selecting jobs that effectively complement their personal mix of skills and career goals.
  3. Help faculty members maximize their chances of gaining promotion and tenure.
  4. Identify strategies for moving on after the promotion and tenure decision.

It was written and reviewed by psychologists who have experienced or have close personal knowledge of the opportunities and special challenges academia poses for traditionally marginalized groups. It has been developed as a guide, reference, and resource.

 

The survival guide is an updated and revised edition of a guide first published in 1992 by the American Psychological Association (APA) Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP). In 1998, the guide was updated as the result of a collaborative effort between CWP and the APA Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology (CEMRRAT). This third edition is designed to address changes that have taken place since the production of the second edition in 1998, which may dramatically affect the level of success, even the survival, of women and psychologists of color pursuing careers in academic environments and/or in private practice. This third edition is once again a collaborative effort between the CEMRRAT2 Task Force and CWP.

Did you find this booklet interesting or useful?

18 4