At Work (Organizational Psychology)

During my time spent at the University of [redacted] I have worked in various jobs both academic and non-academic related. Consequently, I know the frustration of squandered effort, the perceived inequities in rewards systems, and the lack of job satisfaction. However, I do also know the triumph of excellent performance, intrinsic job satisfaction, and the piece of mind that accompanies work well designed. The ultimate goal of Organizational Psychology is to reduce the margin that exists between how people could feel about their work, and how people do feel about their work; while integrating the organization’s and the individual’s needs.

Because of my varied work experience, I am able to offer strength and diversity to your program. Before attending the University of [redacted] I led or was part of many musical organizations and during my time at the University of [redacted] was employed in the technology center at the [redacted] Business School. I view the time and experience as invaluable for they have shaped my motives, compelled me to appreciate the need for goal orientation, and allowed me to experience the triumphs and frustrations of the “real” world. Consequently, throughout my time at the University of [redacted] and now after as I approach my goals with a strong sense of purpose.

Since around the age of 8 when my mother first sat both my sister and I down at the keys of a piano and introduced us to Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Chopin and Beethoven classical music has been a strong part of my life. There was a certain fascination that roused up within my soul as my fingers clumsily pounded out off key notes for the first time. Comparing myself to the old recordings mother had I was at first confused why I wasn’t able to create such beautiful music. Unable to understand I threw a fit and what was a barely audible “three blind mice” became a cacophony of disaster. A little later I was started on piano lessons and as I practiced daily slowly results were starting to show. It wasn’t long before “three blind mice” became “clare de lune” and “fur elise” and my heart soared. Music continued throughout my years up till entering college. I went to competitions, had master class lessons with some of the bests in the Northwest and even gave a few lessons on the side. It took a lot of time and dedication in order to achieve where I wanted to be musically. Often I found myself struggling to find time to practice as school and other activities would often compete for those precious hours I was awake each day. There was also an internal struggle as motivation left my being and I had to rediscover the inspiration and love I had for the arts. It was this constant struggle which helped me develop valuable skills that benefit all aspects of my life such as time management and perseverance. From music I have gained an appreciation for hard work, dedication to whatever you put your mind to and resilience to failure.

Through the four years I have spent at the University of [redacted] I have worked 3 years at the [redacted] Business School. I was part of a team that supplied hands on technical support, provided hardware and software help for the entire faculty and staff, catered specifically to presentation equipment and often provided support for guest speakers from corporations such as Microsoft, Costco and Starbucks. This experience showed me the value of teamwork and how it is impossible to do such large scale tasks on your own. In order to achieve even the smallest of tasks I discovered that you will rely upon those around you. That you will rely upon them to pull their weight and that they will also rely upon you for the same. Without that dedication to the work and to each other it would have been extremely difficult to provide service to the entire University of [redacted] [redacted] Business School.  This experience taught me the importance and value of teamwork and even with a few outstanding workers it only takes a few weak links to impair productivity. Through my 3 years working for the center I have experienced being completely naïve to an experienced senior member of the technology team and I was fortunate to have mentors which stressed the value of leadership and teamwork. As a senior member of the team I was able to pass on the same values to the new hires this year. My work experience has provided a strong sense of cooperation, accomplishing goals as a team and leadership experience.

I have prepared myself academically for advanced graduate study in Organization Psychology through relevant college course work, such as basic and advanced Research Methodology, Psychology of Personality, Quantitative Statistical Methods, Cognitive Psychology and human subject based psychology research. I have conducted research, under graduate student [redacted] (advisor [redacted]), University of [redacted], on the properties of stress in young adults and coping methods which they use. This included data collection of over 200 students, running a computerized test which took 2 hours per student, running statistical analysis on those results and data mining for similar previously conducted studies. I have worked with [redacted] for 2 quarters helping her gather and analyze data and her results will be ready for publication by the next year. I have qualified for the dean’s list in the past 2 quarters, currently graduated with a 3.34 GPA and a 3.26 GPA in my major.

In addition to my academic and related activities, I manage to keep an active lifestyle swimming, playing on an intramural tennis team and hiking. In my spare time I also enjoy cooking with an emphasis on baking. Also between periods of work and school I occasionally go back to the piano and revisit the music which I grew up loving. I feel that in balancing academic, work and family activities, I have developed into a person who is confident, competent, assertive, reliable, resilient and compassionate.

Of my experiences through my professional and academic career a few key questions have come up regarding Organizational Psychology and how [redacted]’s graduate program may provide those answers. One question which arose from my work at the technology center is what should be the proper incentive given to an employee to prevent worker turnover? In the three years I have seen a handful of people come and go in a short term. I want to know why they leave and how they feel about the work if it was too much, not enough compensation or perhaps if it didn’t fulfill their career goals. I will use my graduate study to address that question and explore the human factors that are involved in how an individual may feel about the workplace. My goal is to understand the worker mentality and be able to provide an environment that ensures worker satisfaction.

In today’s world nearly all important projects require us to work together with others. This compels us to constantly and effectively collaborate with different people to achieve a set goal. But the manner in which we collaborate directly influences the outcome of the project. Therefore there is a need to recognize some simple and general ways of becoming good team players. The experiences from my academic and professional career have helped me determine certain key qualities which are vital for an effective collaboration. These include the ability to communicate with your team members as often as possible and necessary. This communication should aid your work, not deter it. Discuss only things that pertain to the project at hand; in other words, know the scope of what is being done. Working at the business school taught the value of communication in achieving a unified goal. It was through a network of email, telephone and a dedication to the work that allowed the entire staff to function smoothly and as a whole.

Another quality which helps insure quality is voicing issues. If you have issues, voice them. The smallest of issues have the potential to significantly affect the project. Informing others about problems related to the project makes space for others to help you out. I have found that is it better to raise your issues as early as possible in the course of the project as to holding them back. In a musical group I was a part of a member would always forget their score. At first this wasn’t a big issue as we all had copies however as it kept dragging on and other problems arose that particular issue got blown out of proportion. Something seemingly benign became a catastrophe.

One more quality which is vital for an effective collaboration is a mutual respect for team members. I have learned to never overlook this simple ingredient in collaborating effectively. Bearing grudges against people you work with does not help in forming a good work relationship. I worked for a painting company one summer and conflict arose between two fellow painters. This soon became an issue that affected the entire team and consequently progress was slowed, productivity was shot and the overall quality of work was terrible. From this I have learned to channel my efforts and skill into solving the real problem at hand, which is the project; do not let your fellow workers be the problem. My co-workers understood that after a long discussion with our manager. In extreme cases of disagreement with a fellow member of the team such as this one, one should try to arrive at a compromise or agree to disagree but never let personal matters disrupt the project.

I believe that to achieve my goal an institution needs to be able to provide the resources, the inspiration and the opportunity. [Redacted] is such a place where I know I can achieve my goals and that the skills required in the field of Organizational Psychology will be taught thoroughly and effectively. My future goal is to provide companies with employees that are satisfied with their work and to reduce the margin between how people could feel about their work and how people do feel.


This applicant applied to a small, but selective, private program.  He was accepted.

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