Jobs (Part 8): Summary + Major reason for expanding your network

Finally, a new post under the "Jobs" series! It has been quite a while since Jobs (Part 7), which was posted in May 2013.

This series was intended to help diploma and undergraduate students with giving some advice on looking for jobs. Just to recall your memory about this series:
Part 1 and Part 2 looks at the types of jobs and the areas or industries where those with psychology diploma or degrees can work in. As mentioned, for diplomas and degree holders, there may be a lot of jobs for you to choose from, however they tend to be more general and of a lower status level and pay.
Part 3 talks about the compatibility of yourself (your character, personality, interests, etc.) to the type of jobs you can try to do or may be suitable for.
Part 4 and Part 5 discuss on why jobs are so hard to find, and the reasons for why psychology students have issues finding jobs. Don't worry too much, because Part 5 comes with some advice. They include furthering your studies, or networking in your psychological area of interest (which is the topic of this post!!), and / or even volunteering in some psychological-related work.
Part 6 looks at why employers tend to so strict in their selection criteria and explains it from a ethical point of view. "In conclusion: Do no harm."
Part 7 gives advice and options for what you can do if you have just graduated and have yet to find a job. Look at No. 5 (which happen to be my favourite):
Expand your knowledge of psychology as much as possible!
The question here is "how are you going to expand your knowledge?"  This question has already been discussed before in a 2012 post.  One previous suggestion was to attend more conferences and events.  Do note that there are several events held in Singapore this year, including the 5th ASEAN Regional Union of Psychological Societies (ARUPS) Congress and World Federation For Mental Health (WFMH) Regional Congress 2015.

Other than just listening to the talks or going to events, one very good way that you can get jobs is to expand your network.  This includes knowing (a) your peers, (b) other students from different universities, (c) lecturers, professors and researchers in the area of psychology that you may be interested in, as well as (d) other professionals that might require psychological services.
This is all for one simple reason.
Expanding your network  =  More job opportunities
You never know who you will meet one day and make a lasting impression on.  These people that you meet for a couple of days over a conference (or even on a one-day symposium) might be your employer one day.  So make sure you try to meet as many people (and friends) as you can in your psychological journey, as this will definitely help in your (present or future) job seeking process!!

Miss Psychobabble: Cognitive Economy - Why Automatic is Pragmatic

Admit it, you schemed through and scrolled down first to get a glimpse of this article. We all have the ability of simplified and (often times) automatic thinking.  In Psychology, this tendency is called cognitive economy.

COGNITIVE ECONOMY
"The tendency for cognitive processes to minimize processing effort and resources" (Colman, 2014).  
It assumes that when we categorize our brains we try to make them informative with as little expenditure of mental energy as possible.
We make an average of 226.7 decisions everyday in food alone (Wansink & Sobal, 2007).  Yes, that’s a lot and we are not even aware of some of them!  We make hundreds of decisions every day but is it beneficial to cut it down?

A good example unveils the reason behind “Why does Mark Zuckerberg wear the same grey t-shirt every day?”  It has been bugging some people for many years.  See for yourself.

HE WANTS TO MAKE FEWER DECISIONS IN TRIVIAL MATTERS
“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community."
Einstein did it, Steve Jobs did it and now Mark Zuckerberg is doing it.  The idea behind this is that as we develop a relative level of expertise and automatic thinking, it allows us to not only behave quickly and efficiently but also to focus our mental energy to purposeful activities.
Sometimes, I don’t even remember if I brushed my teeth but I’m confident that I did because I do it everyday.  I do it out of hygiene but mostly out of habit.  To mindlessly brush our teeth conserves our cognitive energy for other meaningful activities (such as your work presentation) during the day.
William James, American philosopher and psychologist even argued that "only by rendering many aspects of daily life automatic and habitual, can we free our minds to advance to interesting fields of action" (Lamoreaux, 2013).

FREE OUR MINDS TO ADVANCE TO INTERESTING FIELDS OF ACTION

The art of mindlessness can be a beautiful thing, being able to free your mind to habitual feasts, gives room for creativity imagination and innovation.  This trait of mindlessness and giving into daily rituals have been prevalent in the lives of other creative and genius minds across culture and time.

According to Mason Currey (2013), there were 6 significant similarities that emerged among most of creative minds such as Marcel Proust, Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, Patricia Highsmith, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, William James and the list goes on.  These are namely:

  1. Be a morning person
  2. Embrace your day job
  3. Take lots of walks
  4. Stick to a schedule
  5. Practice strategic substance abuse
  6. Learn to work anywhere.

As you can see, an automatic mind, in some cases can be shown to be more pragmatic!  After freeing up our minds with the unnecessary, it is then up to us to function, create, and innovate.

References
Colman, A. (2014). Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved on November 12, 2014 from http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199534067.001.0001/acref-9780199534067-e-1605
Currey, M. (2013). Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Retrieved on November 12, 2014 from http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Rituals-How-Artists-Work/dp/0307273601
Lamoreaux, S. (2013). Do You Need a Daily Ritual for Creativity? Retrieved on November 12, 2014 from http://www.business2community.com/strategy/need-daily-ritual-creativity-0644940#4E5JSsOVI3Krt2yq.99
Wansink, B. & Sobal, J. (2007). Mindless Eating: The 200 Daily Food Decisions We Overlook. Environment and Behavior 39, 1, 106-123

Mastering APA style #1: Formatting and Referencing

Image from http://www.apastyle.org/
Is it possible to master the APA (American Psychological Association) style?  Yes; however, it takes time and patience.  Even myself, with more than 10 years of using APA style in my studies and now at work, do check the above manual once in a while.

Hopefully this series of "Mastering APA style" will help you understand how to do APA style, and maybe master it in your future career!

Let's start from the very beginning:
In APA style, basically for beginners, there are two main parts to take note of: a) Formatting, and b) Referencing.  Students usually do either essays or reports.  Formatting is the style of which a paper is presented to your lecturer, marker, or the reader.  Referencing is the style of bibliography of how the references are presented at the end of the paper, and how authors are cited within the paper.

Formatting mainly consists of: (typical rule)
  • Margins (1 inch all around)
  • Running head and page number (on headers portion of page)
  • line spacing (double line)
  • font size and type (size 12 Times New Roman)
  • headings (differentiated by the different levels of headings)
  • numbers and percentages (see below)

Source: http://blog.efpsa.org/2015/01/12/most-frequent-apa-mistakes-at-a-glance/
Referencing consists of:
  • In-text citations
  • Reference list 
I would usually recommend to visit this Purdue OWL website on help for citations and referencing methods.  I will also cover them in future posts.

Note to students:  As APA style is the easiest to check in a paper, some lecturers might actually assess it first before reading the rest of your paper.  It would be good to make sure that the APA style in your paper is 100% correct before your submission.

Miss Psychobabble: How to Improve Your Sleep to Save Your Career

Most people sleep less than recommended and are under-performing at work because they think that they are getting enough sleep.  A good night's sleep is not just about the quantity of hours but also the quality (i.e. whether is interrupted or smooth).  Quality sleep won't grant you immunity from stress or illnesses; but sleeping for 8 hours can have a positive impact on your health and your ability to successfully manage your daily challenges at work.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/6749663099 (Image Credits: epSos .de via Flickr)
According to Bradberry (in a Forbes article), pulling an all-nighter may be productive in the short-term but skipping sleep to work can be detrimental to your ability to focus, mood, and higher-level of brain functions for the days to come.  Furthermore, research showed that sleep deprivation could have the same effect on your body as physical stress or illness, causing you to overproduce white blood cells as if you are fighting an infection.

This is why, it is very important to give your body the restorative rest it deserves.  Here are 4 ways to improve your sleep:

1. Create a Conductive Sleeping Environment
Make sure that your bedroom is relaxing and welcoming by removing unnecessary distractions like the television.  Keep the room temperature cool and use curtains to block light.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/planetchopstick/497736998 (Image Credits: planetchopstick via Flickr)
2. Avoid Indulging in LED Lights
Aside from the television, avoid using hand phones and tablets before going to sleep.  This is because LED lights can suppress melatonin levels.  The hormone melatonin plays a role in your natural sleep cycle.

3. Avoid Drinking Caffeine
Caffeine is a strong stimulant that may interfere with sleep by increasing your adrenaline production and blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain.

4. Create a Sleeping Routine
Learn how much sleep you really need and stick with it.  At least 6 to 8 hours of sleep is ideal for teens and adults.  You may also develop calming rituals such as taking a warm bath or listening to relaxing music.

Hope you have a wonderful rest!