Capstone Project: Week 8 & 9

During the past two weeks Memorial Day weekend has come and gone. That week was spent planting flowers and vegetables, painting our house and cleaning the yard. I must admit my husband has done most of the work. We have only one side of the house to finish.

Since I am waiting for the textbook to arrive and the LMS Instructure Canvas to become available at Bellevue College, not much has been done on the site. I have watched a considerable amount of video and still need to work with the text and the system to begin to understand how it works or will work for the course that will be placed online.

Most of the past two weeks were spent trying to get the issues of the new move at work resolved. Having been downstairs in the enrollment office, going upstairs to the advising area was very different and seemed a bit strange, at first. Change is always a stressful time; but I think we have adjusted to the environment quite well. It seems that everything changes and mostly for the benefit of students at Bellevue College. Since I am a student there, I find the changes most beneficial and much easier to accept than some of the more outdated ways of handling student issues that were in place a few months ago.

One of the issues that concern me is the emphasis placed on keeping a positive attitude in most work places. When you are working with people who have less than healthy egos and maybe some insecurities, it can be difficult to keep your attitude positive.  Our attitudes determine how we behave or respond to a variety of situations. If we are successful in our work environment, we develop a more positive attitude. If we have had bad experiences in the workplace and been disappointed, it may affect how we view the situations encountered in other working environments. Or we find ourselves confronting a bad attitude within ourselves.

My job at the college is a stepping stone to bigger things in the future. I want to teach online as an adjunct instructor in area community colleges. There is going to be great challenges working in this capacity. My job now is helping me figure out how best to deal with the challenges I will face in the future. Each of us have triggers that signal us and trigger our negative or bad attitude. Knowing these triggers help us remain positive even during the most disturbing and upsetting times. I have learned that when you build a circle of positive relationships at work, the negative people don’t seem so daunting. You can balance the negative relationships with positive relationships.

Now that being said, I do have a few concerns. The positive “Stepford Wives” attitude makes me wonder if people have forgotten how to speak out when injustices occur at work. When something is really wrong in the workplace, picking your battles very carefully is a must. I have a tendency to see through crap. My crap detector often works overtime. I have to carefully think about what I can do to protect myself and maybe make it easier for the next person walking down the path I am traveling. In the past , I have taken the high road and have had to walk away from a job. It took a terrible toll on my finances and mental and physical health; but it was a step I needed to take to preserve my integrity and ethics.

Meaningful conflict in the workplace assures its growth. It is necessary for effective problem solving and for effective interpersonal relationships, states Susan M Heathfield in her article, Fight for What’s Right: Ten Steps to Encourage Meaningful Conflict.  I think conflict can be highly unpleasant. Nevertheless, if your workplaces management tries to stop all conflict between employees, there are fewer opportunities for growth. “Group think” is counter-productive to healthy organizational growth. It poses a barrier for creative problem solving. It is also unhealthy for people in a work environment to avoid all conflict and maintain a false positive attitude. The video below is an example of how self-regulating yourself to go along with the group can be fatal and does have consequences.

I am including a video on these ideas and concepts. Also, I am including an argument against positive thinking concepts and theory.  I think the following excerpt from Five Big Problems with Positive Thinking, by Jeremy McCarthy, says it all.

2.  The public consumption of happiness prescriptions far outstrips the research.  The media jumps on snippets of research suggesting that happiness leads to greater health and longevity.  They do this because the “don’t worry be happy” message is appealing to consumers.  Everyone wants to believe they could have greater control over their lives by simply changing the way they think.  Research that supports this idea gets promoted loudly and widely.  Non-scientist consumers mistakenly judge the findings based on the amplitude of the exposure, rather than on the strength of the research.

3.  It could be used to manipulate the work force.  Another valid criticism of positive thinking is that it is a convenient tool for governments and corporations to control the minds of the masses.  Encouraging people to maintain a happy outlook in the face of less-than-ideal conditions is a good way of keeping citizens under control in spite of severe societal problems, or keeping employees productive while keeping pay and benefits low.

4.  It ignores “psychological flexibility.”  Psychological flexibility is the ability to tap into the psychological resources that we have at the times when we most need them.  This theory rejects the notion that we should all be striving for greater optimism and more positive thinking styles.  Rather, we should be grooming our understanding of when it is best to use optimism and when is it best to use pessimism.  All of our emotions serve us in some way, so rather than focusing on positive emotions, we should use the entire spectrum of emotional responses that we have at our disposal, continually improving our abilities to use the right ones in the right situations.


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