Dear Organizational Psychology MA Students,
I have been watching the Olympics as much as possible this month. I find the athletes' dedication and perseverance inspiring and awe-inducing. They remind me that focus, hard work, and grit really do sometimes make dreams come true. I have also enjoyed watching and thinking about the interplay of cooperation and competition between and among people and teams from all over the world. The Olympics invite us to be our best selves together. Yet, concurrently, I know when the stakes are high corruption can follow. It is hard to watch so many young talented athletes living out their Olympic dreams without also thinking of Larry Nassar's atrocities. Another atrocity, the Florida school shooting this week, also has me reeling.
I spent many hours the last two weekends in my own children's school, watching my 14 year-old perform in 9-5: The Musical. When my son first announced last September that 9-5 was his school's musical for the year and that he had earned a coveted spot in the ensemble, I was thrilled for him, but a bit puzzled by the choice of show. My son and I assumed 9-5 had been chosen because it has numerous significant female parts and there are often more girls than boys who want to participate in the school musical. Yet, soon thereafter the #metoo movement erupted and the themes of 9-5: The Musical were in perfect concert with what was happening in the world regarding sexual harassment at work. As I watched my son and his peers perform a show set in 1979, I felt disheartened that the plot was still painfully relevant almost 40 years later. At the same time, watching 50 young people sing, dance and act their hearts out in a musical that portrays dismantling sexism was powerful, moving and hopeful. Further, my son related many intense and thoughtful conversations he and his theater friends were having about gender roles, power and privilege over their many months of rehearsals. He reminded me again and again of the power of groups to fight injustice and to shine light into our darkest places.
So this month I have been trying to acknowledge and learn from the atrocities in our midst while also holding on to the joy and promise of all those who work toward justice-- whether the brave gymnasts who spoke out against a predator, or the young athletes giving it their all at the Olympics, or a group of teenagers who love to perform and want to tackle sexism while they're at it. You all are also reminders to our community of hopefulness and joy, in your hard work, dedication, energy and commitment. I am grateful to you.
I hope all of us can enjoy the rest of this short month as much as possible. Spring will be here before we know it.
Sarah Brazaitis, Ph.D.
We all know global, virtual teams are here to stay. Many of you have been a part of such teams for a long time and if you haven't, you surely will be at some point in your career. Here is an interesting article about the latest trends in collaboration tools for virtual teams:
If, like me, you are hitting a mid-winter slump - wishing for early morning daylight and warm weather, while knowing we have at least six more weeks of the dark and the cold - you might benefit from additional strategies to avoid procrastinating (also, like me). See if you find this piece useful:
Just try not to read it instead of studying!