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A Day in the Life of an Industrial-Organizational (IO) Psychologist

Can you describe the field of organizational psychology or industrial-organizational psychology?

Industrial and organizational psychology, or IO psych, is the discipline that seeks to address various aspects of the workforce and the workplace, such as candidate selection, employee motivation, training and development at through the prism of data, measurable results and the scientific method. Ultimately, it tackles finding and implementing ways to improve the working lives of employers and employees.

How did you get interested in IO? Why did you choose it as a career path?

I was a psychology student at university. I’ve always been fascinated by the human mind and understanding what makes people tick. Although I knew I was interested in psychology, I realized that clinical psychology just wasn’t for me and didn’t match my skills or my passions. I was exposed to IO psych early in my introductory psychology course in college and was immediately hooked.

I think what attracted me most to the field was the fusion of interpersonal interactions and exposure with real data-driven research. It allows me to work in environments where I can talk to a multitude of different people in different areas of my organization, everyone from maintenance workers to chief officers and I’m not locked in front of a screen of computer all day, while also allowing me to be directly involved in some of the more analytical work that I like to do as well.

How did you get into the business and how did you get your job at the MTA?

I was actually still in grad school when I started working at the MTA. Touro’s flexible schedule and evening classes, coupled with the fact that my office was only a 15-minute subway ride from campus, allowed me to work full-time while sticking to my regular school schedule. At the time, Touro sent out a job offer for an entry-level position in my current unit. I applied, took a few job-related assessments, and did some interviews. The rest is history.

You went from analyst to manager at the MTA. What does it take to be promoted in this field?

Every business is different, and every job is different. For me, I like to think it was a number of things, including a genuine interest in the job; produce quality work; and maintain good relationships with the people I work with.

What does a day in your life look like as head of the MTA’s Assessment and Selection Unit?

One of the things I love about my job is that no two days are the same. Some days I’ll be reviewing my staff’s work, other days I’ll be focusing on writing a few important emails, and another day I’ll be focusing my attention on developing new training materials or improving the efficiency of a process.

What do you find most rewarding in IO?

What I find most rewarding and one of my main motivations for entering the field is having the ability to reshape the workplace and the workforce. People spend the majority of their waking hours at work. If I can do anything to make this block of time a little better for people, it’s something I can wake up to every day thinking I’m doing something meaningful.

Why did you choose Touro for your graduate studies in IO? How has this program prepared you for your career?

I chose Touro specifically for its location and the reputation of its graduate schools. I personally felt that my upbringing there prepared me tremendously for my current role and my career as a whole. I learned valuable skills, not only in my IO psychological knowledge, but it helped me sharpen the skills in regards to public speaking and working with and in a team.

In the wake of the pandemic, do you think IO is a growing field? Are there any opportunities? Please explain.

I think organizations are going to be grappling with new phenomena that exist in the workforce now, that maybe didn’t exist as widely just a few years ago. Whether it’s security policies or managing an influx of employees who are now working from home, IO psychologists will be 100% at the forefront of helping organizations prepare for these challenges. and identify the best solutions.

What advice do you have for students interested in entering the field?

First, try to learn the stats as best you can. This will be an area of ​​skills and knowledge that can propel you into almost any sub-discipline of IO psychology. Second, try to gain any experience in IO psychoanalysis or human resources as early as possible, even if it is not directly related to the specific area of ​​IO psychoanalysis you want to pursue long-term.

Finally, although it’s far from a requirement, if you’re in the mood for it, learn a coding language or two such as SQL, R, or Python. It’s a highly sought after skill that few IO psychiatric practitioners possess and will make you extremely marketable.

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