Psychology/Informational Interview Request
QUESTION: Hi Katherine, this is my first post here and I'm kind of embarrassed to be asking for a favor right away. I just discovered this website and am a student that is in their first grad school course.
My major is Psychology (Industrial/Organizational is the specialization). I have a paper I have to turn in later this week and I've discovered that I need to have an informational interview with a Psychology professional (which will be used for the paper).
I just need to ask a few questions (and it can be on here or over e-mail or private messages) to further clarify my goals and to learn more about the professional who I speak with and their background as well as some of their thoughts and opinions.
Would you be willing to help me? If not, can you help point me in the right direction on where I could get assistance with this? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated and I can have my questions ready later on today or whenever (if you approve of my request that is).
Thanks in advance for your time Katherine.
ANSWER: I can answer some questions for you - no problem.
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QUESTION: Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to answer my questions Katherine. If you’re not able to answer all of them I completely understand (and if you’re not comfortable in answering some of them I understand as well).
But I’m truly grateful to you for whatever you can answer for me. I promise to do the same down the road for others who will be in my shoes when I hopefully get the opportunity to get to where you’re currently at. And if there is any way I can thank you or show my appreciation please let me know!
Which organization do you work for and/or have you been affiliated with previously? What kind of work have you done for them?
How did you originally enter the field? What has been your career path?
Who are your organization’s customers, clients, patients, or others? Who do you generally serve?
What is the culture and environment like at your organization or organizations you've been previously affiliated with?
Do you feel that there are significant opportunities for growth within the overall Psychology industry?
What is your typical day like in your current position?
What are your favorite parts of the career?
What are some of the challenges and struggles that you face with the career?
What kind of people have you noticed are most successful in the Psychology field?
What can I do to make myself more marketable and competitive in the Psychology industry? Is there any particular training or preparation that you can recommend to me?
Do you have any other recommendations for me if consider entering this field?
I have a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, with a concentration in Psychopharmacology. I completed two post- docs, where I worked on the behavioral effects of neuropeptides. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for Pfizer and Novartis, in the lab. However, I realized after a while that I was not happy sitting alone in a lab all day with rats and mice, and I needed more human contact. I was able to move into a job in the market research dept at Novartis. I was there for 5 years, doing research on attitudes and practices of healthcare providers as well as consumers. I conducted many interviews and focus groups and also commissioned studies. When I became a mother, I left Novartis and started my own consulting business. Now I teach part-time at University of Maryland and Howard County College. I love teaching. Both schools are supportive environments and treat the faculty well. We have a lot of freedom to design our courses as we see fit and use creative teaching methods. Both schools also provide faculty with numerous opportunities for professional development.
The culture and environment in pharma was great - the scientists are highly valued and were nurtured and supported - sent to conferences, that kind of thing.
I think that there are many opportunities in psychology. Your research training is extremely valuable, and you will be able to apply that in any number of positions. I think there is a growing need for industrial psychologists - especially as the nature of workplaces is changing. More people are telecommuting, offices are being designed to promote collaboration, the corporate cultures are in flux.
Flexibility is crucial to having a successful career, as are good social skills. The challenges I have faced is people putting me in a box - so when I left the lab to go into market research, I had to convince people that I had the right skills and that I would "fit in". They saw me as a bench scientist and put me in that box.
It's important to do what you love - you'll be doing it for a long time. So, if you are passionate about Industrial psych, go for it.