Academia

Proudly I’m a Jill of all trades: Don’t ask me about crocs, dark matter or dog grooming

Proudly I’m a Jill of all trades: Don’t ask me about crocs, dark matter or dog grooming

I take great pride in being a jill of all trades. As a social psychologist, who is embedded within a community based organization, I have to develop knowledge across a wide array of fields. I have to maintain my statistical analysis skills and coach others on research design. I have to understand application of theory in the community as well as operations. I not only need to know how to teach but to make knowledge and skills sets relevant to day to day work. I have designed and implemented large and small scale conference events and i van take a hammer to the bathroom door. I read research articles to abreast of the changes in the field but I far prefer my In Touch magazines that I read with great attention to detail. I can teach a psychology course and the components of burnout but I far prefer teaching film theory. I can talk about most things with ease at a shindig.

I have firm opinions on hot topics that I readily do NOT voice in the workplace. I can talk about them with vigor but avoid them because those opinions will not help others’ productivity and I also tend to hold contrary opinions to many in my workplace and field. It is amazing how people have so many assumptions about one’s beliefs based on line of work. Nuance seems to be a thing of the past as is being a jill of all trades. I know many academics, for instance that study the same topic and variable for decades. Boring! And for what to have numerous articles on the same topic in variations of the same journal? Again, boring!

As my team prepares for delivering trainings and presentations I always remind them to take to the stage with confidence and humility. Its a fine act to balance those stances but it can be executed beautifully. I also encourage them to not be scared by questions. We know the subject matter we can wax philosophical and practical. We even have a game called “ask the expert” that a colleague developed that we use during our team development meetings in order to exercise our question and answer muscles.

Despite all that I don’t care too much for being interviewed by reporters. I have engaged in that process numerous times – even while on a red carpet- but there is something about a reporter’s question that gets at me. Perhaps it is the lack of nuance and how many things are boiled down into black and white. I know and understand the need for soundbites and I have created talking points with such consideration in mind.

Now while I feel comfortable talking about a myriad of topics, there are some questions that would flummox me should I be asked them.

For instance, although I have taken physics courses, the field of physics is not for me. The greatest world questions emanate from that field and many remain unanswered. I would most definitely not want to be asked “what is dark matter”. I would probably answer by quoting a Sarah Silverman joke (queen of dark, raunch humor). While I am at don’t ask me about string theory either. I watched that Brian Green series called the Elegant Universe on PBS and still don’t care for it.

While I love animals and am an immensely dog-oriented person, there is one key question regarding dogs I cannot answer. That question is: how do you bathe and groom a dog that does not like his buttocks area touched? This was a real issue for me for a decade with. My dog Milo and never really resolved it other than to take him to professional groomers and pass the warning onto them. Some groomers handled it; others did not.

I have read fellow Social Psychologist Malcolm Gladwell’s book the Tipping Point and understand how fads come about. However, no amount of theorizing and application can answer the question of “how did crocs get so popular?” Which “connector” first took that on? Can we trace back the croc epidemic to a patient zero and ask them why they first put them on?

 

 

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11 replies »

  1. ‘How did crocs get so popular?’ Mimi.
    Just look at them, they are awesome and I use that word in its historical form. This is a creature that has survived all kinds of attacks, be it human or from other fellow creatures; or even natural geological events.
    But I would never smile at a crocodile!
    Actually, like you not speaking of non-producing, mind bending attitudes at your workplace, this is true of relationships with crocs.
    Crocs command respect and if this is not given then there is a problem. So I love crocs and while they rule the water they will always be a friend to me. In fact I have a few friends whom I refer to as crocodiles given their bent to be friendly and cuddly one day and biting my head off the next. They are fun to be with but don’t cross them.
    When you visit Aus. we have some repairs that need attending to that you may wish to quote on. You will have to provide your own hammer. B

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