What can a Career Journal do for you?

Guest Author: Peg O’Donnell 

Guest Author Peg O'Donnell 2016 MAOD Graduate

Guest Author Peg O’Donnell 2016 MAOD Graduate

We have all been asked at one point in our lives “what is your dream job?” As we continue to grow and develop what we know about the world we start to take the question more seriously. But have you ever thought that the focus needs to be on the “dream you” as much as it is on the dream job? Taking the time to focus on ‘you’ will guide in discovering your potential and possibilities.

A powerful tool that will add direction to your discovery and provide a clear path to your dream job is a career journal. When you hear the word ‘journal’ what is your initial reaction? I know that journaling can have a negative connotation; it can sound like something you have to do instead of want to do.

In the article Using a Career Journal to Further your Career Development and Empower Your Job-Search Hansen provides ‘why’ journaling is so impactful. He discusses how a person can use it for discovering aspects about yourself around your strengths or gaps. He also speaks about the potential to brainstorm and analyze career options. Journaling is a safe, controlled tool that allows you time for reflection.

career-journalJournaling can be used by anyone ranging from students; to people looking for that next step in their career to someone looking to change their entire career path. The method can also vary to be either formalized or simplistic. For some of the “anti” journalers out there, Quint Careers offers a formalized journal sample that can be found by following this link to the journal example. If this is the method, you would like to take you can use their free Quintessential Career Journaling Tutorial to get started.

A less structured but still simple method is discussed in the article 6 Ways Keeping a Journal Can Help Your Career (2012).

  1. Log good ideas- when the idea comes to you have your journal available to document.
    Learn you lessons- why not learn from your experiences.
  2. Write anything that you learned whether it was a good or bad experience.
  3. List Good Advice From Mentors- feedback is a gift you can either take it and internalize it or throw it out. Write down the advice you choose to keep.
  4. Vent (in a Safe Space) – the journal is for your eyes only so record your feelings of concern and frustration.
  5. Collect Compliments- keeping a record of your compliments can provide examples for your career search or increase your confidence.
  6. Envision the Future- what does your future hold.


Think of the potential you can identify by taking the time to reflect and think about ‘you.’ Journaling is worth the few minutes you can spend each day analyzing the avenues to take with your career. Aren’t you ready to discover what power you have in making your dreams come true?

Question for Discussion
Have you seen or heard of anyone using a Career Journal? If so what was the outcome?
Couldn’t a Career Journal be beneficial for you? Why or why not?


6 Ways Keeping a Journal Can Help Your Career. (2012, July 18). Retrieved May 01, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/07/18/6-ways-keeping-a-journal-can- help-your-career/#31fdfc0c396f

Career Development Journal: A Sample Career Journal | QuintCareers. (n.d.). Retrieved May 07, 2016, from https://www.quintcareers.com/sample-career-journal/

Hansen, Ph.D., R. S. (n.d.). Using a Career Journal to Further Your Career Development | QuintCareers. Retrieved May 01, 2016, from https://www.quintcareers.com/career- development-journal/

Posted in Careers, Coaching, Guest Student Post, Human Performance Improvement, Knowledge Management | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Two Truths, No Lie: Positive Psychology

Guest Author Jennifer Lewellen, 2016 MAOD Graduate

Guest Author Jennifer Lewellen, 2016 MAOD Graduate

Dr. Martin Seligman is a mentor of mine in spirit. His day job however is being the father of Positive Psychology and its’ two supporting theories: the Authentic Happiness Theory (AHT) and the Well Being Theory (WBT).

Spoiler alerts:

  1. He was brave enough to recant the first
  2. I am about to be brave enough to (respectfully!) recall it.

Our story starts with Positive Psychology. “Positive Psychology…  is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play” (Positive Psychology Center, 2016).

In his beginning, Dr. Seligman’s AHT theory appointed happiness the pot of gold at the end of the positive psychology rainbow. The goal of the AHT is to find the path to the “Full Life.”  Dr. Seligman proposed that “Happiness and life satisfaction… could be increased by building positive emotion, engagement, and a sense of meaning in life” (Seligman, 2011).

Ten years into living the AHT, one of Dr. Seligman’s students challenged his theory, pointing out that the theory omits the dimensions of connectedness and accomplishment. This prompted Dr. Seligman to revise his thoughts and construct the Well-Being Theory. The WBT has five measurable elements that work together to contribute to our Well-Being (PERMA):


PERMA revolutionizes the purpose of positive psychology from straightforward happiness to all-inclusive well-being. It changes the story, asserting that the goal of one’s life is not just to find happiness or life satisfaction, but rather to “increase the amount of flourishing in your own life and on the planet” (Seligman, 2011).

Now for those of you keeping score, here is where we are at:

Initially, it was Dr. Seligman’s AHT that inspired me to search for the more specific statements of  my happiness; to seek satisfaction with actions that were louder than words. The AHT prompted me to go on a journey to be better than my day before. It empowered me to share my not the same old situation with others. And… it prepared me for the WBT.

So, my counter to Dr. Seligman’s recant is that the WBT is the emotionally intelligent version of the (still relevant) AHT. I see both theories as separate steps. I don’t believe a person can attain “increased flourishing” without starting somewhere simpler. This simple start has to be with the self before being able to offer our paramount to the “planet”.  Therefore, I propose that on our search for satisfaction and well-being we travel towards flourish via both his theories: the AHT is step one, and the WBT is step two. My steps so far reveal:

 Two truths

Our “Full Life” is founded on our free will to choose to create positive emotion, engagement, and meaningfulness in the gray of any day.

Our “Flourish” can take us further by going global and expanding our elements, ever increasing our contributions towards being our best well-being.

 No lie

Our Self is the source of our satisfaction AND our well-being; we can be our better best selves by understanding our role in our successes.

Step by step… this is how we find our flourish.

Questions to consider

  1. Do you agree with my categorization of the theories as steps one and two, OR do you see the WBT as replacing the AHT?
  2. Do either or both of these theories inspire you to be better than your day before? If so, how?


Pascha, Mariana. (June 19, 2015). Positive Psychology Program. The PERMA Model: A Scientific Theory of Happiness. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/perma-model/ on May 8, 2016.

Positive Pyshology Center. (2016). Penn Arts & Sciences. Retrieved from  http://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/ on May 8, 2016.

Psychology Today. (n.d). Emotional Inelligence. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/emotional-intelligence on May 8, 2016.

 Seligman, Martin E.P. (April 5, 2011). Flourish. Retrieved from https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/learn/wellbeing on May 8, 2016.

Posted in Coaching, Guest Student Post, Human Performance Improvement, Mentoring, Organizational Development | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring 2016 Graduates and Award Winners


Dr. Kathy Iverson with Micah Morgan.


Dr. Kathy Iverson with Jennifer Lewellen.

On April 21 the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies hosted the 2016 Student Awards ceremony. Jennifer Lewellen (pictured above) and Margaret O’Donnell  (not pictured) were both awarded the Best Master’s Portfolio, Master of Arts in Organization Development. Micah Morgan  (pictured above) was awarded the Best Master’s Portfolio, Master of Arts in Training and Development.

More celebrating was in order on May 13 when the following graduates were awarded their degree.

Master of Arts in Organization Development

Bryan Alan Corbet

SharE Lee

Jennifer Lewellen

Margaret O’Donnell

Dana Primeau

Felicia Tate

Master of Arts in Training and Development

Adam Davis

Erika Diaz

Cassandra Hewlett

Kevin Hillman

Jeanae Jointer

Susan Spear

Pamela Starr

Felicia Thomas

Felicia Tate

Delilah Knadiah Wlison

Congratulations graduates!



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Commencement Goes Hollywood!


The trend to have celebrity commencement speakers, often Hollywood A-listers, is going strong. Roosevelt University was an early adopter when Oprah spoke at our graduation 16 years ago.

As we look back at last year’s commencement speakers, here are two memorable quotes:

I am a pop artist. So my medium is public opinion. And the world is my canvas,”                                                                                         –Kanye West

It’s time to say goodbye to the person we’ve become, who we’ve worked so hard to perfect, and to make some crucial decisions in becoming who we’re going to be. For me, I’ll have to figure out how to do an hour-long show every night. And you at some point will have to sleep. I am told the Adderall wears off eventually.                                                                                          –Stephen Colbert

As we consider the commencement speaker lineup for 2016, here are a few that look promising. . .

  • Jane Goodall at University of Redlands
  • Spike Lee at Johns Hopkins
  • Matt Damon at MIT
  • Seth Meyers at Northwestern

If you are a commencement speech aficionado, or in need of some career shaking inspiration, check out NPR’s Best Commencement Speech catalog http://apps.npr.org/commencement/  where you can listen to famous speeches by everyone from Chuck Norris to JFK (without ads!)

If you were to give a commencement speech to our graduates (MATD, MAOD) what words of wisdom would you share?

Posted in academic studies, Careers, Mentoring, Organizational Development, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Don’t Fall into the Capability Trap: Does your organization work harder or smarter?

When organizations fall on hard times, as many do in our volatile market, the way they
deal with the performance gap typically involves either working harder or working smarter. When organizations take the “work harder” path, they cut staff, increase hours and productivity, and push their constituents to do more with less. If this doesn’t pay off, then wages are frozen or cut and more layoffs ensue. Other work-harder measures typically involve eliminating training and HR budgets, delaying building maintenance, and minimizing retirement funds. Working harder can result in short-term gains, but in the long run, it can lead to long-term deficiencies in lost talent, mistrust, worker burnout, and low morale. Eventually, those working harder either move out or burn out. This leads to what Repenning and Sterman (2001) call the capability trap.
imagesTo escape the capability trap, organizations must view serious shortfalls as indicators of inadequate capability and instead of taking a work harder approach, take a work smarter approach to address the performance gap in a systematic manner. By first identifying the root cause of the deficit and defining best practices, organizations can then invest in developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of its constituents to work smarter and turn things around.

Lyneis and Sterman (2016) offer a series of strategies that organizations can take to escape the capability trap and find win-win solutions to complex organization problems. Although the authors apply the strategy to physical plant issues, I believe they are equally relevant to issues of human capital and performance. Here is my take on the five principles that contribute to working smarter:

  1. Don’t expect a quick turnaround. When organizations implement Performance improvement strategies take time and when resources are diverted to investigating and solving root problems, performance indicators may get worse before they get better.
  2. Metrics are important. Take stock of a variety of capabilities throughout all areas of the organization and honestly and openly communicate the results to bring deficiencies into the open.
  3. Avoid silos of improvement and instead, focus on the organization system as a whole. Often in hard times, small pockets of excellence will rise to the top, while others continue to decompensate. Sustainable improvement involves addressing systemic, organization-wide improvement.
  4. Invest in capabilities, even when times are tough. Most organizations are so lean, they have few reserves of ‘fat’ to rely on when they fall on difficult times. Investments in human capital in the form of skill development, reward systems, work-life balance, and career planning can create a reserve of capability and loyalty to draw on during the salad days.
  5. Invest in capabilities, even when times are good. The best time to build reserves of human capital (performance management, rewards, development, and morale) is during a boom. Reinvest in the organization to both prevent future difficulties and to have a strong reserve to address even the most unexpected challenges.
Lyneis, J., & Sterman, J. (2015). How to Save a Leaky Ship: Capability Traps and the Failure of Win-Win Investments in Sustainability and Social Responsibility. Academy of Management Discoveries, amd-2015.
Repenning, N. P., & Sterman, J. D. (2002). Capability traps and self-confirming attribution errors in the dynamics of process improvement.Administrative Science Quarterly47(2), 265-295.

Questions for Discussion

How does your organization deal difficult times? Does it take a “work harder” or “work smarter” approach? What are the long term effects on morale, capability, performance, and retention?

Posted in Human Performance Improvement, Organizational Development, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Go Ask Alice: Checking our own Beliefs


BewareOfMemesYou’ve probably seen—or heard—this meme about learning. It is a text-based version of Edgar Dale’s “Cone of Learning,” sometimes referred to as his “Cone of Instruction.” The question for you, dear reader, is:  Do you believe it?  In total?  Sort of?  You might even be nodding your head as you read.  What’s that? It makes intuitive sense to you, but you’re not going to sweat the exact percentages? Fair enough, but please keep reading, though you may only remember 10% of this later.


  1. Dale himself acknowledged the numbers were not based on empirical data.
  2. If you obtain(ed) a master’s degree in either Training and Development or Organization Development from Roosevelt University, and you use this meme in presentations, please stop doing so.

AuditoryLearningStyleYou’ve also probably seen—or heard—about ‘Learning Styles.’  Supposedly, each of us has a specific modality by which we not only prefer to learn, but learn best by. Ah, another day, another meme. There is no credible evidence to support that anyone learns best by a particular modality REGARDLESS of the subject matter.

Let’s get back on track. Suppose you insist that you are indeed an Auditory Learner. You have personal proof of this this, which you are only too happy to share. Fair enough, but please keep reading.

The question I pose is: Can you believe both of these memes at the same time? That is, we remember 20% of what we hear, but auditory learners will remember 75% of what they hear in a lecture? Maybe the first meme is general, but if we control for learning style, we have to…..??????

The truth, Dear Reader, is that there is no “there” there (shout-out to Gertrude Stein) for either of these memes. Believing both of them at the same time can be delicately described as “problematic.”

  • What other generalized beliefs/memes are there about learning or instruction that you have come across?
  • What other generalized beliefs/memes are there about organization development that you have comes across?
  • What about leadership?



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Careers in Training and Organization Development- Alumni Panel Discussion

Join the Graduate Program in Training and Development for a panel discussion with alumni about their paths from graduation to a successful career. They’ll share career advice, thoughts on setting professional goals, industry trends, best practices in networking, and how they continue to practice social justice within their current roles.

  • Date: Saturday, April 23rd
  • Time: 10-11
  • Location: Schaumburg campus, room 311 or join us virtually using Zoom.
  • Please RSVP to Tara thawkins@roosevelt.edu to confirm a seat or get the Zoom link.

Meet our panelists:

Jeff Carpenter

Jeff CarpenterJeff Carpenter is CEO of Caveo Learning.  He is a recognized leader in the learning and development space and has more than 20 years experience in instructional strategy, performance improvement and organizational development.   Jeff has developed learning strategies and helped clients achieve performance objectives across a broad range of industries within the Fortune 1000. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Jeff has taught Masters-level courses at Roosevelt University on adult learning theory and instructional systems design.  He is also a distinguished speaker at international conferences in the learning industry. Jeff has earned a Master of Arts in Training and Development from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources from the University of Nebraska.

Reggie Jackson

ReggieReginald C. Jackson currently works at University of Chicago as an Academic Technology Analyst and an adjunct for Roosevelt’s Graduate Program in Training and Development.  In addition to completing Roosevelt’s TRDV Graduate Program, Reggie also has an Ed.D. in Adult Education from National-Louis University and a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University. Prior to joining University of Chicago, he held positions as a corporate trainer and instructional designer primarily in the banking industry.  Reggie was also the 2012 recipient of the CCASTD (now ATDChi) Deb Colky Student Award.

Jenny Massoni

JennyAs the Director, Change Management and Training in Pharmacovigilance at Astellas,  Jenny Massoni leads global cross-functional teams to design and deliver training and change management solutions that support and align to business priorities and objectives. Jenny holds a Master’s in Training and Development, a Graduate Certificate in Performance Consulting and Prosci Change Management Certification. Over the past years she has been active in the industry through her involvement with ACMP and the Chicago ATD Board, serving as VP of Membership and Technology.

Israel Vargas

IsraelIsrael Vargas is the Director, Community Engagement at Roosevelt University in Chicago. As a director, Israel Vargas is responsible for ensuring Roosevelt University continues its Social Justice mission in the communities through involvement in key issues affecting our communities while providing easy conduit for families to acquire the right education to impact their communities positively. Israel is the 2014 recipient of Chicago Latino Network’s Latino Professional of the year.  He currently serves on a community advisory board for NBC 5 Chicago and is a board member for Mikva Challenge. He has served on the board for the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness and Vice-Chair for the Council on Latino Homelessness. Israel’s passion for helping others has led him to speak against violence and to advocate for higher education at schools, churches, and community events throughout Chicago. He has participated in Ceasefire marches in Cicero and has received an Award of Excellence by the Office of the Cook County Treasure Maria Pappas and Recognition by the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Immigrants and Refugees.

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