Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Complex Brain

I have just completed the learning experience of scanning some pages into one PDF document. So one would think all you have to do is place the pages in the document feeder and hit the scan button and then an option will come that ask you what to save the document as, you select PDF and have your document....well that didn't happen!

The scanner I used has multiple programs attached to it and therefore can do several things. I don't remember the model. When I placed the papers in the feeder, several prompts and error messages came up like, unable to locate folder. So I started doing a bit of troubleshooting. Clearly the program was not installed correctly or something was wrong with the computer. I finally found the location were the scan pages were stored, however each page was stored separately as a jpeg image in the image gallery. I converted each image to a PDF but I was required to produce 1 PDF document that has all the that didnt work! To cut a long story short I explored several complicated solutions to solve this problem.

My final and very simple solution was to locate the program from the program menu. I opened the scanning program, HP Director (I think) and operated the scanner from there. Instead of pressing the scan button manually and expecting the program to automatically give me options. My question to myself is, why did this soultion come to me after pursuing all the other complex ones. I must admit, I felt abit dumb.

This is not the first situation where my brain went complex and ignored simple. My first attempts to learn to drive was with a standard/stick vehicle. I quickly mastered changing the gears smoothly before learning to steer the vehicle. Everyone that I told that I couldnt steer, couldnot understand as they thought that was so much easier than changing gears. The problem could have been that I had a bad teacher.

So I decided to go automatic and I actually did the test, which is very comprehensive in Jamaica. We get tested on everything. Unfortunately, I falied on the road because I slowed down at the stop sign instead of stopping, I was a nervous wreck and messed up my indicator signals and the assessor claimed I took my corners badly. However, I passed reversing and parallel parking the two areas that people often odd. Oh well. Just thought I might share my complex brain moment.

I have a funy feeling I am not the only one who thinks and learns like this, don't be shy....please share :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How satisfied are you with your job?

Wow with the state of the economy, some people are not too concerned about how enriching their jobs are but the emphasis is on maintaining a job. None the less as I am a hopeful person the economy will once again bloom and employees will have more demand in the type of jobs they select. Employers will have to design jobs so that the are both motivating and satisfying.

I have an exam tomorrow and the topic of job enrichment is one of the areas that interests me. I guess it's practical and can be applied. Hackman and Oldman in their Job Characteristic Model state that there are 3 core psychological states that are necessary for intrinsic motivation. When characteristics of the job facilitate these states it results in high performance and job satisfaction. It is said an image is worth more than a 1000 words so here is a diagram that sums it up.

I can relate to this model, I tend to like to be connected with what ever I am doing. This connection that I value relates to what they refer to as meaningfulness on the job. Meaningfulness on the job is achieved when the jobs allows employees to use a variety of skills and enagege in a variety of task. In addition, the task must be significant, that is, it impacts others in the organization or those associated with the organization. With regards to meaningfulness, they make reference to some jobs that are highly specialized where each person works on a part of a task but never gets to see how that small part that they worked on contributes to the whole. The 'big picture' is useful as it generates meaning. Hint hint, supervisors and managers: Involve your employees let them see and understand the 'big picture that their work contributes. Give them variety, let them feel competent and stimulated. Yes some of it is easier said than done, but it's still worth thinking about.

Another psychological state is autonomy and a lot of research has verified that when workers feel they have a sense of freedom and choice in their job they are more satisfied. Again let the employees have some say even a little bit.

The other psychological state is knowledge about the actual results of work. What is interesting is that they assert that there are 2 types of feedback. The first we get from the job itself. For example, if you designed a course for a team and the manager notices improvements then that's feedback from the job; you have proof that you did well. The second type of feedback we get from others like our peers or superiors. It was found that feedback from the job itself is often more valuable than feedback from others. Feedback from others can come with interference like the credibility of the person among other social and psychological factors.

One note to bear in mind is that Hackman and Oldham recognized that job enrichment strategies will not motivate every employee as some people just see work as a means to an end and seek satisfaction in other areas of their lives. They are not desireous to feel challenged or have choice in tasks etc.

I definitely value autonomy, meaningfulness and positive feedback in my job.
  • What features of your job make you tick?
  • What drives you to go to work ?
  • What job enrichment initiatives has your organization implemented?
Please share!

Aside: I especially enjoyed typing this blog post as it reinforces the information for my exam, unfortunately I am being tested on much more than I am off :)

Reference: Pinder, C.C. (2008). Work motivation in organizational behavior (2nd Ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.