About half a year ago, if I was asked to describe my profession – organizational psychology – in action, I would say: I am meeting a lot of people, I adore applying experiential learning, observing group dynamics in the ‘here and now’, I like listening to the emotional vibes in the rooms where the groups are working. I love to see people in organizations. I love to think what organizations need for their development. I love being a part of creating meaning.
And now I am working from home meeting people online. This means the loss of lots of information that was previously available. My ways of being and working have changed. This is definitely NOT what I was dreaming of when choosing my profession!
I am forced to work differently, when working online and I hate it – I hate that the only way to work with people now is to meet them online, disturbed how previous settings are not working anymore. It feels that I have lost a lot of what was a natural part of my profession.
But what is left? What is the professional capital we still own? What is lost and what should be found?
The majority of us have lost a lot – the way we worked, we interacted, we connected. We lost some knowledge of how things should be managed and how they are supposed to be. In some cases we have lost sense of ourselves as professionals, as in some cases we feel as if we know nothing at all. I knew how to set up a group. How to run it. How to feel it. All of a sudden while preparing to run group online, I feel that I know nothing. It feels like when I was a student and didn’t know much in reality, just then I could accept it and now it is horribly frustrating. There were times when I caught myself hating my profession – this is not what I wanted! Horribly frustrating.
This reminds me of something that happen to me years ago, during my riding career. One autumn I fell badly from a young horse and injured my back. I went to a sports health centre and doctor said – well you might not be able to ride anymore you could switch to swimming. Just like that. As if one day you ride – another – you swim. But coming back to my current shift, I must admit that I felt that I need to start swimming, which was not what I chose to do.
However, with everything that’s lost we need to work on what can be found. What should be found – the old meanings of our professions in new contexts. When the first wave of rejection and resistance passes I can feel that I can reconnect with the meaning that influenced the choice of my profession. When I reconnect with the meaning I can cope with the changed ways of working. Actually, I start liking the changed ways of working, as it stimulates my creativity to think about how can I deliver similar meaning in a changed context. Professional capital is not lost. It is empowering to reflect and reconnect. Coming back to my back trauma – I do not go swimming. I know riding pretty well, so I need to find a way to stay with horses and train them, even if I cannot ride for some time. But I still can use my knowledge and maintain the purpose. Horse training.
Reconnection through the meaning of my career and reflecting on the service helps me to mobilize my competence. Part of which is lost. But some is found.