On Corporate Culture & Coffee

January 9th, 2010

I just finished reading a book called Starbucked, A double tall tale of caffeine, commerce, and culture, by Taylor Clark. The book is a 296 page dive into the world of coffee and how it came to prominence in the shape of a square green store with a mermaid logo, maybe you’ve heard of it?

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Starbucks. I love the coffee – tall soy no-whip mochas are my drink-indulgence preference, with a maple-nut scone if I’m into treating myself extra special. I hate the idea of patronizing a chain store that is sucking culture out of America and recently the whole world by sticking exact replicas of itself on every side of every street. I love the idea that when I’m traveling in India I can have a sip of something that reminds me of home, and I hate the idea that what comforts and reminds me of home is Starbucks. I love the fact that when I’m working out of the house or in between meetings I can sit in a comfy chair and catch up on email or read a book with free internet, with access to a clean bathroom for a $3.00 price-tag.

So there are clearly plusses and minuses. And I am not the only one noticing the two sides of this mermaid-faced coin.

The question the author asks however, is how much is too much. Starbucks was founded by a coffee-loving fanatic named Howard Schultz who was obsessed with quality and the creation of a third place - a safe, comfortable place where people could just be that wasn’t a bar. Now that sounds like a good idea – kind of like afterschool programs. But somewhere along the way he flipped from creating spaces to making money. The chain went from being a coffee connoisseur with well-informed baristas (Italian for bar-tender) to a drive-through spouting fast paced media add for Akkelah and the Bee with a little bit of coffee in a great big cup of milk, sugar, and caramel syrups. Whip cream on top optional.

Starbucks now operates in every country around the world, with the exception of Israel (where it opened and was forced to close). There is often an outcry when Starbucks begins it’s construction of a space. I was living in Berkeley, CA when the Starbucks on Telegraph by the University of Berkeley announced its grand opening. We all talked about how we would never let that happen. Protests and letters ensued. Three weeks later there was a line out the door and around the corner. Not protestors as you might hope, but caffeine-craved hippies waiting for their fix.

The author asks the question – is it the responsibility of Starbucks to decide it has enough stores around the globe, and to stop Americanizing every place it goes, or does Starbucks pop up around the globe because people keep showing up in droves to buy it’s product? What comes first – the supply or the demand?

The danger of course is that we can easily fall asleep to our values and what’s important. Small towns in America often contain no personality at all – filled with Pottery Barns, Starbucks, Home Depots and Macaroni Grills. What do we lose when small town local businesses consist of one street with 8 boutiques and independent coffee shops? I would like to believe that a place like Berkeley can hold onto it’s unique flavor and character, but it can’t do that without a consciousness of a community. The ability to reflect on what we want our communities to feel like, the quality we demand, and the personal discipline to act on our values become controllers of our future. In an economy where the conscience of businesses are driven by profit and stakeholder return, our only hope is to play the one card we have left – to stifle the demand for those services. It’s hard to make a point in a picket line when folks have a sign in one hand and a tell-tale starbucks cup in the other.

Organizational Design and free markets

February 18th, 2009

I would like the world and our organizations to realize that organizational development is closely aligned with human development. At the root of every management or leadership issue is the theme of two people unable to work together, resulting in conflict (Wheatley, 2006). One of the ideas that have stayed with me from Hesselbein & Goldsmith is the Handy essay on philosopher leaders. Handy frames philosophy not as an answer to life’s problems, but a framework to think about them (pg. 132). I agree with this belief that organizations should model the same beliefs and theories internally that they expect for themselves externally. “One cannot have one law for themselves, and another for the rest.” (Hesselbein & Goldsmith, Pg. 133). I’m not sure exactly what this is called – transference? Essentially it is the idea that we should do for others what we want/need for ourselves. Handy discusses the ways in which organizations that want to be treated as autonomous from government controls, with few regulations and a strong belief in the corrective power of the market should model that same philosophy in their organizational culture- giving their employees a great deal of autonomy, no regulations, and the faith that their intrinsic motivation to preserve themselves will ultimately result in the right decisions for the organization. What would the result of such an unregulated market be? Would it really self-correct?

While I believe in self-regulation and that employees function more efficiently and effectively within an organization when there are low controls, I can’t quite conceive of an organization with no controls, no management or supervision, a “freedom” that allows anyone to work from only their intrinsic motivation to do what’s best for them. In this scenario I can picture too many ways that “what’s good for the goose” won’t be good for the gander. I’d like the world to see this macro paradigm of how our economy functions and decide together what the right limits and controls really should be at the governmental level, and how those controls would filter down to the organizational level, and finally the personal level.

1. Hesselbein, Frances, and Marshall Goldsmith. The Leader of the Future 2 : Visions, Strategies, and Practices for the New Era. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006.

2. Kouzes, James M., and Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

3. Wheatley, Margaret J. Leadership and the New Science : Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. New York: Berrett-Koehler, Incorporated, 2006.

Theories of Connection

November 15th, 2008

Over coffee with my friend Jason Wyman, an incredible visionary and leader in the field of youth work we discussed theories of connection- which has left me thinking and imagining and, well connecting. Jason talked about the phenomena that occurs when one person starts to connect with others, and when those connections lead to new connections, so that the original person’s connectiveness grows exponentially. There is an emerging body of language around this idea. As I clicked through the Wikipedia definitions in my geeky post-conversation web research, here are some of the interesting terms I found, with my own interpretations of meaning as related to connectivity theory of social networking.

Preferential attachment – where resources or opportunities are distributed among individuals according to how much they already have – think “ the rich get richer”.

power law, or Pareto effect – This is a polynomial function graph, an inverse relationship between two variables. Imagine power on the x axis and people on the y axis. According to the power law, the largest number of people would have the least amount of power, with the amount of power possessed increasing as you go down the scale. This is essentially the 80-20 rule. If you keep the number of people as the y axis, It works for money (80% of wealth is controlled by 20% of the people), resources, problems (80% of our problems are caused by 20% of the people in our lives), etc.

Scale-free network – this is a group of connections where some vertices have greater connections than others. Imagine each vertex Is a person. Some of us are connected to 2 or 3 people closely, while others are connected to hundreds. These major connectors often connect together and have greater access to resources through connections- they just happen to know what’s going on and how to access it.

Fault-tolerance- This is an engineering term that refers to the ability of a system to keep working even when one of it’s component parts aren’t. I thought of how the human body works when we get sick – with a mild headache we can still work and watch tv and go about our regular lives, even though some major component is malfunctioning. In a scale-free network, if the hyper-connected hubs are working well, the isolation or disconnection of the non-connected folks will keep a society or a project moving forward, with little impact.

self-stabilization – when a system or individual moves towards a balanced fault-free state. I think this can happen in many ways. One way is that the super connecters grow their power and resources in order to overcompensate for the lack of participation by the outliers of the system. Alternatively, the outliers may find ways to band together, connect, and replace the super connecters. Alternatively, preferential attachment theory may reorganize from “the rich get richer” to “the connected get more connected”, and find ways for all members of a system to connect to one another to find stabilization.

I see some incredible connections in this theory of connectedness to social justice movements, shared power and our ability to create harmonious community. I think I’m missing one key concept of attractiveness- that each person wants to be connected to other people. Through a reframing and re-shaping of how we view groups from family, community, society, or systems we may discover a better way to find self-stabilization that creates space for everyone to be connected and productive.

Proposition 8: A Failure of Imagination

November 5th, 2008

Californians have voted yes on 8 - confining the legal definition of marriage to the relationship between a man and a woman.  It is unprecendented for human rights to be stripped from the constitution.  A step backwards.

America takes a giant step forward today, while Californians suffer a failure of imagination and a contraction of the human spirit.  The fault is partly ours- those of us on the left of this issue.  Perhaps we have not yet learned to make our case.  Perhaps after years of living in fear of hate crimes and disguising identity we have not yet devised a marketing campaign that convinves the conservative veiwpoint. The fault is ours.  For having experienced intimacy and friendship outside of a traditional form.  Because once one has had the experience of the magnanimous, effusive, uncontained, all-encompassing nature of love it is hard to imagine wanting to confine it to something smaller than it is.  The fault is ours for living in a self-created world where values are led by the heart.  We forgot how to make a convincing case.

This conversation has been about values.  What are the values of Americans?  When has a lack of innovation ever served the world?  When has a limited perspective of justice- heaping rights on some while others are discriminated against- ever been looked back upon with pride?  We will come to regret this day.  Soon.

To my straight allies in America, this is a call.  A call to remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr. - “A threat to justice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”  In a community we share the impact of this decision.  It is our privilege to look at the other way, but our responsibility and opportunity to stand up and engage.

To my friends of traditional marriage, I urge you to expand your experience.  To focus on the value of love, and not on the practice of what form that love takes.  To believe in a generous, limitless god who wants nothing more than for us to chooses love over hate in every moment.  Connect with someone living a lifestyle you disagree with.  You will find there is nothing to fear.  Nothing that threatens your way of life.  Nothing that diminishes the world you have built for yourself.

To all my fellow Americans.  I urge us to practice compassion in this mixed moment in time.  One giant step forward and a failure of imagination in California.  This decision will be reversed.  Soon.  Becuase justice always prevails.  The only question is when, how, and what we gain or lose along the way.  The choice is always ours.

Evolving the Race Conversation

June 21st, 2008

From Judgement to Design

I planned a very cool evening for myself tonight. I was invited over to a friend’s house to watch a series of short films on political issues- race, gender, and sexuality. The room was mostly people of color, activists, organizational development consultants, and change agents –people who have dedicated their lives to bring equity and social justice to organizations and their systems.

But I found myself trapped in a room of angry and stuck folks who blamed white people for all their problems. More than once a person of color (POC) had no problem making a blanket statement putting down white people – “A white person wouldn’t understand…” or “I would only do that if it was an exclusive group of POCs”. I understand where these statements are coming from. In fact, I made statements like these just a few years ago. But I found myself thinking “Really?”

Really? Is this as far as the social justice movement has come – where the people who are willing and eager to engage with issues of social justice are just trying to create spaces where POCs get to feel empowered by putting down white people? Where blanket statements of discrimination go unchecked because a POC never has to check themselves on the race line? Because white people get so many privileges that if a POC wants to take some rage out on some poor granola-esque Berkeley white woman, she has to shoulder that blame and internalize that guilt?

Of course the world needs to heal from the long-stemming effects of race, class, and cultural imperialism. Of course each of us have internalized some messages of the privileges or limitations that our skin color allows or denies us, and these messages should be brought to our awareness. Of course we could all use a little healing from the past and present. But when are we going to transcend the stories of hate and hurt, blame and shame, guilt and repression to a space of love and compassion?

I am interested in moving the dialogue on race relations forward. I am interested in acknowledging that each person comes into the world with issues to work out. I am interested in creating space for each person to work through each issue with as much love and compassion for ourselves and those in our paths that we can muster. I am interested in acknowledging that circling around and around within our own stories of hurt keeps us in a stuck energy. I am interested in finding genuine ways to connect with all people, to celebrate the connections, and honor the spaces we each need to deepen our personal healing work around personal issues.

Of course people of color have undergone more injustice than anyone should ever have to deal with.  But the point is that we shouldn’t create more of it for other folks in an effort to heal.  That doesn’t help relieve any of our own suffering.  Until conversations around race, class, gender, and sexuality move to a more mature place we are not going to see long-term sustainable change.  And it starts with change-makers and activists adjusting this paradigm.

Easter Poems

June 12th, 2008

This easter Lynn, Allison, Kelly and I experienced the powerful feeling of creating our own rituals. We manifested an Easter holiday that combines our personal values: good food, incredible hostessing (By Kelly Riggio!), personalized gift-giving, fun activities, spending time in nature and enjoying each other’s company. Here are some poems we created in a beautiful shared process. We each contributed lines to each poem.

Lynn’s Poem

Giving it some thought, I no longer need to beat myself up

Instead, I need to celebrate my simple right to be.

The joy of that is seeing clearly who I am

I am peace. I am enough. I am.

Love and worthy of love.

This feeling is my gift to share with the love-starved world

I share this gift freely, knowing that I also give it to myself

Like any good actor, I am attempting to find my light

Put myself on stage where it suits me, not just my audience

The truest works that I can speak come from the deepest heart.

That quiet space where the voice I’m hearing sounds a lot like god

And the God I’m hearing sounds a lot like me.

Now that I think about it, God is me.

Allison’s Poem

Putting down punishment…

The need to judge myself and others

Instead I’m going to let go, and let God

Knowing that God is who I truly Am

Revealed in my details, dissonance and resonance becoming song

I’m singing in praise of a new way to BE.

Compassion and deep actual passionate love of me. Sensitivity. And Gratitude.

I’m reawakening the parts of me that aren’t afraid to hear what my mind and body and heart are telling me.

I’m saying “walk towards all of it. It’s okay. You have everything you need.”

Your feet will carry you, your hands will build.

The miracle of New Life.

Sangita’s Poem

This year I am letting go of so many things

My need to work without rest, disbelieving my intuition and working my body too hard

So hard that I pass out at the end of the day, broken.

Because, like a muscle, I have to tear down and rebuild for the next morning.

Rebuild. Rebirth. Renew. A different you. Today.

I am I love I grow I die I begin again.

I am actively, proactively, carefully and intentionally manifesting abundance.

The kind of abundance that never runs out, and lasts forever and ever and ever

All of this flows through me, my blood, my bones.

My back curved up to stretch the pulse, my rush of blood.

Flood of sexy lovely bliss.

In this sacred moment.

Cause let’s be honest,

I’m bringing sexy back.

The Seven-Fold Path: A Framework for Personal and Organizational Change

June 12th, 2008

Finding Tension and Space1.Finding tension and space

For any change process to be effective the first step is to bring awareness and intention to the aspects of your work that bring tension, and those aspects that invite creative energy. Every work scenario has both. Our goal is to alleviate the tension caused by the negative aspects, and expand the space, time, and energy given to the positive aspects. This can be brought out through a reflective, introspective process or a group simulation and dialogue.


2. Identify Triggers

We all have triggers- lots of them. Some triggers move us from feeling good to feeling bad. Other triggers work the other way, and move us from bad feelings to good. Triggers can be any type of stimuli that our brain responds to. It can be a thought or memory, a person we see, a conversation or phone call, or an email. Every person has their own triggers- things that tip them from one emotional state to another, based on their personality and life experiences. Through a careful observation process we can identify our most powerful triggers.

Ideal3. Define the ideal and move towards the real

Author Steven Covey said “the first creation begins in the mind”. We cannot create a new reality without a clear understanding of what this new reality should look and feel like. In this phase we create a crystal clear, detailed “ideal” scenario, and prepare to move towards it.

New Pattern

4.Start a new thought pattern

There can be no change without new thoughts. By re-framing our thoughts about a particular event we begin to step into our personal power to control our emotional and mental state. An agitated mind cannot produce creative organizational results, so it is important to empower every individual with the capacity to connect to their creative centers. Using techniques of neuro-linguistic programming and visualization we feed our minds with new thought patterns to produce the ideal vision we have defined for ourselves.

5. Expand the Space

ExpandChanging thought patterns to focus on what you want (versus thinking about what you don’t want) creates psychic space within our minds and bodies. This results in a feeling of expansiveness in our physical world- in relationships with others, in how we approach our work projects and in our ability to creatively solve problems.

6. Be CompassionateBe Compassionate

As you move forward with new knowledge of your self and organizational culture, and begin the work of creating a new reality for yourself, there will most definitely be setbacks & regression. People don’t change over night, and organizations are comprised of people, so organizational change does not happen overnight either. The real work happens here, in this phase. With this in mind we define ways to keep yourself and your organization stretching toward the ideal when it seems like you’re slipping.

7. Keep Stretching

    Success in one cycle of change will fuel motivation to bring change to other areas as well. New learning and experience with the possibility of alleviating stressful conditions within your organization will provide the space

    7 Innocent Gestures That Can Get You Killed Overseas

    June 5th, 2008

    I read this really interesting article on cracked.com about hand gestures that have innocent meanings here in the US, but can be really offensive outside of the US. I really resonated with the one about using your left hand- I tried to eat something with two hands once when I was in India, and people FREAKED!

    If you’ve ever had your penis cut off and/or been executed while on holiday, you’ll probably know that it’s easy to offend people from other cultures. Unless you learn the ways of the place you’re visiting, even the most well-meaning tourist can regularly find his oesophagus stuffed with burning goat. But surely just plain common sense and good manners will save you, right?


    Extend Your Hand, Palm Outward in Greece

    What you think you are saying:
    “Phew! That was a heck of a moussaka. I’d eat another portion, but I’m completely stuffed.”

    What you are actually saying:
    “Phew! That was a heck of a moussaka. I’d eat another portion, but I’m too busy rubbing handfuls of shit in your face.”

    What the hell?
    In Greece, the “hand out” gesture is known as the moutza, and it dates back to the time of the Byzantine Empire, when criminals would be paraded through the streets on horseback, their faces blackened to indicate their shame. If they were lucky, the blackening agent would merely be charcoal. If they were unlucky, it would be a substance much, much worse …

    SHIT, is what we’re saying here. Their faces would be covered in SHIT.

    If you really want to piss a Greek person off, you can go for the double moutza, which features both hands splayed above your head. However, this will also make you look like a backup dancer from Cats, so it’s your call.

    Give the Thumbs-Up In The Middle East

    What you think you are saying:
    “Ayyyyy! I’m the fuckin’ Fonz!”

    What you are actually saying:
    “Ayyyyy! I’m going to jam my thumb in your anus!”

    What the hell?
    It’s not just the Middle East. This seemingly universal gesture is also hideously offensive in West Africa and South America, whose citizens would doubtless get really confused if they ever watched Ebert and Roeper. “This movie is great, Bill! So great that I’d like to anally rape it with my thumb!”

    The thumbs-up sign has been confusing people for thousands of years. Contrary to Hollywood legend, Roman gladiators were not spared by a thumbs-up, but by a hidden thumb. If the origins of both gestures are linked, we can only assume this meant, “Do not kill the prisoner, he seems the perfect solution to the emperor’s arthritic finger.”

    Finish Your Meal In Thailand / The Philippines / China

    What you think you are saying:
    “This is a delicious meal. I mean it. I’m not the kind of guy who would lie about something like this. In fact, your meal was so fucking fabulous that I am going to finish every last morsel and then lick the plate so bright that it reveals the face of God.”

    What you are actually saying:
    “You call yourself a host? I came here for a meal, not some Lilliputian hors d’oeuvre that wouldn’t satisfy a mouse after a sizable brunch. Look at me. No, in the eyes. You disgust me.”

    What the hell?
    It is always important that the host provides you with tasty food. However, in countries where steak in bleu cheese sauce costs approximately the same as a lung transplant, it is more important that the host provides you with enough food.

    In China, if you finish every last bite of your meal, you are implying that you weren’t given enough. Therefore, even if the meal is the most sexually delicious thing that has ever slid down your throat, you should still leave one last morsel on the plate to stare up at you mournfully while you eye it with ill-concealed resentment.

    That said, the Orient isn’t as uptight as this example suggests. In China it’s considered perfectly good manners to talk with your mouth full and to burp after your meal. Farting seems to vary according to the situation and your current company, so ask ahead of time. Lighting the fart is frowned upon in almost all provinces.

    Say “Hi” to a Member of the Opposite Sex in Saudi Arabia

    What you think you are saying:
    “Hi Steve! How’s things? Fancy getting a decaf latte?”

    What you are actually saying:
    “Hi, Steve! How’s things? Fancy booking a hotel room so that I can do immoral sex acts on you in the name of Satan?”

    What the hell?
    According to sharia religious laws, it is deeply immoral for a woman to greet a man in public, or associate with any man other than her husband without an escort. In February 2008, one American woman openly conversed with a man in Starbucks, and was promptly arrested, strip-searched and forced to sign false confessions.

    Though, perhaps this is nitpicking considering women are not allowed to drive, vote, own shops, testify in court or ride bicycles there. Bizarrely, it’s perfectly fine for women to fly high-powered jet planes, although they’re clearly fucked if they feel like taking a bicycle to the airport.

    The point being, if you’re a woman and are planning a move to Saudi Arabia, offending them with the whole public greeting thing is probably the least of your problems.

    Give an Even Number of Flowers in Russia

    What you think you are saying:
    “Darling, this week has been the most wonderful of my life. Since I first felt the sweet joy of your caress, I have truly come to know what it is to love and to be loved. Please accept these half-dozen roses as a symbol of my eternal tender devotion.” (Lean forward for kiss.)

    What you are actually saying:

    (Lean forward for kiss.)

    What the hell?
    In Russia, even numbers of flowers are only ever given at funerals, and such a gift is seen as inviting death, which you obviously don’t want to do unless you’re banging a goth chick.

    Choosing the right gift seems to be a minefield of morbidity everywhere you go. Never give a clock to a Chinese person, as the word “clock” is almost identical to a word for “death.” Don’t wrap your present in white paper there either, as this suggests funerals. And for God’s sake, don’t give anyone in Bangladesh white flowers or they will presumably be obliged to buy a spade and bury themselves while muttering at you reproachfully.

    You know what, screw giving a gift. You may come across as a selfish douchebag, but at least no one will hail you as the fourth horseman of the apocalypse.

    Give a Gift With Your Left Hand, Pretty Much Anywhere

    What you think you are saying:
    “Thank you very much for letting me marry your daughter. She is very beautiful. In gratitude, please accept this dainty, yet tuneful instrument. Did I mention that I’m left-handed?”

    What you are actually saying:
    “Thank you very much for letting me marry your daughter. She is the most worthless heap of dog vomit I have ever encountered, and I dearly wish that she would die. In gratitude, please accept a generous portion of my own effluence. Did I mention that I hate you?”

    What the hell?
    Toilet paper may have been around in China since 589 AD, but for much of the world, it remains a prohibitively expensive luxury. In places such as India, Sri Lanka, Africa and the whole of the Middle East, doing anything with your left hand is seen as unclean, as it is (as least symbolically) your ass-wiping hand.

    Eating out? Don’t even think about using your left hand. It’s better to come across as some kind of retarded monkey child than to imply that you rate your host’s food on the same level as a lightly-steamed assburger.

    Of course, poop is not the only reason left-handedness is bad. According to the Qur’an, Satan himself was a southpaw, which is why he was able to successfully fool the right-handed batter that is mankind.

    Give the “OK” Sign in Brazil

    What you think you are saying:
    “Hi Brazil, I’m US President Richard Nixon, and I’m feeling terrific!”

    What you are actually saying:
    “Hi Brazil, I’m US President Richard Nixon, and I’m feeling that you should all go fuck yourselves!”

    (Note: The above examples are only valid if you are US President Richard Nixon)

    What the hell?
    In Brazil, the “OK” gesture is roughly equivalent to the finger in the US, which means you should not use it when your hotel manager asks you how your room is, unless you want to tell him that it’s purple and velvety and recently molested his wife.

    The most famous incident of a misapplied “OK” sign was, in fact, Nixon’s visit to Brazil in the ’50s. While alighting from the aircraft, he lifted both hands to the cameras and double-fingered the entire nation. Nixon went on to greet the Brazilian Prime minister with a savage kick to the testicles, and concluded his visit by urinating from the window of a moving limousine.

    If you’re visiting Brazil, you should also never touch any food with your fingers. Even stuff like pizzas and burgers should be eaten with a knife and fork. Not that you’ll ever need to apply this knowledge, because after reading this article, you’d be insane if you ever travel abroad again.

    Tim Cameron is a recovering gaming addict. His blog, The Silly Addiction, catalogs his ridiculous struggle to go straight.

    Playback Theater & Cultural Competency

    June 3rd, 2008

    I have been taking an intensive 3 month workshop on Playback Theater, and it is blowing my mind. Playback theater is an improvisational performance format where an ensemble of trained actors act out live stories told by the audience. The purpose of playback is to provide the teller with colorful imagery and literally play back their own words in a series of stage pictures. A skilled playback ensemble will draw out the high and low points of emotionality in the story, search for the complexity of inner voices and the range of feelings the teller holds.

    The amazing thing about playback is how therapeutic it can be for someone who has experienced something difficult that they need help processing. I saw a playback show as part of an “isms” conference at UC Berkeley, and it was astounding. It was by far the most profound experience of cultural competency or diversity training I have ever witnessed, because it captured the complexity of one person’s story of marginalization. Our stories of hurt are never as black and white as he-said-she-said. They are complicated, with many shades of gray. There are people to be educated, personal triggers to be dealt with, peace to be made, transcendence to be sought out. And playback theater allows for some of this work to take place with the teller, the audience, and the ensemble all together.

    If you have the opportunity to witness a playback theater show, I highly recommend it. I am working on bringing playback theater into some of the organizational psychology projects I do. I think it will be a fascinating and informative experience.

    Graduate School: Three Weeks In

    June 3rd, 2008

    So I’ve finally begun my masters program.  I have been putting it off and putting it off, and finally now I am ready to start the journey of getting a professional degree.  I am doing a masters program in organizational behavior, which is clearly the only thing I want to study and do now.  The big picture of it is quite exciting, but I must say that being back in “academia” is extremely frustrating.

    I feel like “school” makes people want to be more sophisticated and complex than they need to be.  Like to say something in straight and plain English is not as distinguished as citing 4 people and writing sentences overloaded with complicated words.   It’s almost as though the process of learning is more complicated than the things we are learning themselves.

    This isn’t true of everything, but I think it’s definitely true of the research papers and some of the articles we read.  It’s so frustrating!  Why don’t we just say exactly what we mean in the simplest way possible?  It’s interesting because you move from academia to the business world, where everything is stripped into black and white slides with the minimum bullet points.  So weird.