A year ago I was considering my career choices as an IOP student preparing for my honours exams. I was feisty in my planning, from finding an industrial psychologist to supervise my practicum to hitting the books. In February I wrote all my exams and thankfully passed them, with a little less than flying colours.
Once I completed my exams, I navigated the ambiguous waters of finding information to guide me in the process of completing my practicum. With the hope of registering as a psychometrist!
It has been a journey, which to me felt like a journey of mostly lows…
South African universities really don’t give working moms or students a fair chance in pursuing a b-psych equivalent qualification part-time. And without the b-psych, there is no hope of becoming a psychometrist.
For me personally, the fact that I couldn’t complete my b-psych felt like a failure. After a really long time, I came to terms with the fact that things weren’t going as planned and that is life! My disappointment didn’t subside, however, I came to terms with the fact that I was mourning the fact that my career wasn’t panning out as I had planned.
Perspective and wisdom
I spent an enormous amount of time chatting to the industrial psychologist who agreed to supervise my practicum. I think one of the highlights of the last conversation we had, was when she told me that the hoops I needed to ‘jump’ through to obtain my b-psych really weren’t worth it.
She looked at my career and gave me sound advice:
1. Consider the international implications of completing a qualification with an accreditation within South Africa.
When you register as a psychometrist in South Africa, you are permitted to practice psychometry within the borders of South-Africa. Which is brilliant, if you have no plans to emigrate to another country. However, the implication is, that you really don’t have much leverage if, you are ever in a situation where it becomes necessary to emigrate.
2. The economy dictates which jobs are a necessity and which are ‘nice to have’s’.
As someone passionate about organisational psychology, I know and understand the impact we have in an organisation. Organisational development and change management are subjects close to my heart and formed a part of my Plan B if psychometry was not an option.
Realistically, however, psychometrists and OD are ‘nice to have’s’ from an organisation’s perspective when cash-flow is tight. Regardless of whether the plan was to start my own practice or work for an organisation, the economy needs to be favourable in order for either options to be viable in the long run!
At the moment, the economy doesn’t favour any positions that do not add to the bottom line.
Career Choices for IOP Students
As a final remark, the industrial psychologist, told me to either, go all the way and enrol for my master’s degree in industrial psychology or find a complimenting field of study.
Her suggestion to me was to start the process of becoming a certified business analyst.
My current working environment gives me access to aspects of business analysis. Unfortunately, the scope of the work that we do doesn’t give me enough hours to attain the certifications within a reasonable amount of time.
There I was, in a catch 22 situation, feeling uninspired and frustrated with my circumstances! Yet in my stubbornness, I continued to research various option for both BA and international IOP options.
One evening not so long after all of the above, Albert suggested that he thought teaching could be a viable alternative. Even if it only serves as an international employment back-up.
I’ve never really considered teaching as a career option. But over the past couple of months, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the idea of it. In next week, I will unpack some of my thinking around teaching as a career choice.