There I was, learning what it meant to be a coach. Learning how to reach goals more quickly and efficiently. Through the coffee chats and facebook messages with friends of friends and extended network, I had learned that I wanted to move away from sales and finance, and close to people, psychology, and more supportive roles. Through coaching, I had learned that often it is the unknown that makes us confused. And all I needed to do was reduce the unknown. So for example I wasn’t sure what roles would provide me with these aspects: people, psychology, and support. Even though the role as a psychologist sprang to mind, I wasn’t really sure what it actually entailed day to day. What were the qualifications that I needed? What kind of environment would I be working in? If I still wanted to work in a business-like culture, would a psychologist role fulfill these requirements? And more importantly, would I enjoy the role?
I needed to find answers to these sorts of questions to reduce the unknown. I asked one of my close friends. I knew her parents were psychologists. I asked her what their day to day tasks were; I found out that it could be flexible if you had your own practice. I also discovered that it was an emotional job. You were dealing with serious and severe psychological disorders on a day-to-day basis. She told me it was about learning to detach as well from the emotions as well as empathise. If I chose this path, I knew I would need to go back to school. So little by little, I was getting a better understanding of what psychology would entail. Through being proactive and finding out what I didn’t know, I was able to reduce the unknowns. And realise this wasn’t for me.
I liked the idea of helping people who were struggling, but I didn’t want to completely leave the business world (I was still fascinated by it, and I like that hard-core challenging side of things). So I tried finding what could mix psychology with business. So again, following the skills I learned in coaching, I was proactive and went through linkedin to find out if there were jobs out there with keywords such as : psychology, business, people, support, organization. Guess what I found? I found jobs under organizational development, organizational psychology, business psychology, occupational health, and this led me to find people who already had jobs in these areas.
I continued searching and found a ‘LinkedIn Influencer’ who was an Organisational Psychologist. I knew that this area was of interest to me. I wanted to learn more about it. I needed to know the qualifications or skills you needed to become an organisational psychologist. So I went through her LinkedIn CV and found out that she had done a Phd in Organisational Psychology. A PhD meant paying more as it would be a much longer degree. Even though I knew it would have been a great experience, I did not want to fork out that much. Instead I looked for cheaper options. I found a 1 year full-time Masters at UCL, Royal Holloway, and King’s College. Since it was also a brand new topic, I thought it was important to learn more about it first, before jumping into a long PhD program.
6 months later, I started a Masters in Organisational Psychology and Psychiatry at King’s College. It brought me so much knowledge in terms of mental health within the work place, not only the very negative side of the spectrum but also the positive end. How to improve well-being of people at work, how to keep employees motivated, and how to increase performance through effective management.
I would never have made my move to enrol in a Master’s Programme in this niche area if I hadn’t taken that first step of speaking to friends, family, and connections. The time spent chatting to those people for 6 months to a year allowed me to have a better understanding of their likes and dislikes and through that pinpoint my own interests and passion. I had realised once again that I was fascinated by people, their life stories, and the psychology behind it. However, I was also very passionate about business, and this interest would never go away. It actually led me to realise that I wanted to start my own business some day. And surprisingly enough, by taking proactive steps towards that dream, I made it a concrete goal. How I found my very own idea for a business … in my next post.