The 2012 Annual Conference of the Association of Business Psychologists (ABP) has just finished for another year, and I found myself sitting on a (late) Sunday morning eating my bacon sandwich, recovering from fairly extreme sleep deprivation (Psychologists work hard and party harder) reflecting fondly on what a great experience it was.
The reality is that business psychology* (see also occupational/work/organisational/applied psychology – there are a variety of terms by which we are referred) is still a fairly niche area often overshadowed in the minds of the public collective conscience by the more familiar Clinical psychology – or thanks to Robbie Coltrane and the TV series Cracker, the discipline of Forensic Psychology. As a result, despite years of training of my nearest and dearest I still rarely find myself in circumstances where I can fully embrace my full ‘Occ Psych Geek’ nature and talk about stuff to a level of detail that most normal human beings wouldn’t be remotely interested in.
For all these reasons and more the Annual ABP Conference then presents many blessings in disguise, as it brings together from the four corners of the British Isles the lesser known species known as the ‘Business Psychologist’ in one place for 3 days of ‘Occ Psych Geek’ fun! So in homage of the great job the ABP has done for another year here are my 5 reasons why the ABP Conference makes it great to be a Business Psychologist:
1. You can embrace your inner geek: As mentioned above, working in a fairly niche area of psychology means that you don’t always have that many similar minded friends to play with. The ABP Conference gives you a whole room full of them! Where else can you engage in an animated conversation about the relative merits of ipsative and normative psychometrics with someone who knows what you are talking about or excitedly compare current reading lists (Drive by Daniel Pink, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and a re-reading of Cialdini’s Influencing Principles)
2. You can learn new stuff: Most Business Psychologists have a real passion for the craft and a drive to learn about new models and techniques that they can apply to their work. With keynote speeches from eminent figures such as Adrian Furnham, Geoff Trickey, and this year’s Mark Batey, as well as several streams of smaller workshops and master classes there is no shortage of new stuff to learn! Every year I hear about something that captures my attention and leads me on a mission of discovery for the subsequent 12 months
3. Networking: As a rule we are a friendly bunch and each year I’ve personally found the networking at this event has got better and better. Familiar faces are more than happy to introduce you to new faces and before you know it you’ve got a room full of people you want to go and say hi to but suddenly you aren’t too sure where to start! As well as the great conversations I’ve personally heard of people finding work, associate opportunities, interests in common and access to new and exciting products as a result of attending
4. Have fun with similar minded people: As with all great conferences there has to be a good social element to balance out all of the serious learning done during the day time and the ABP Conference doesn’t disappoint! With post-dinner quizzes, a live band, open mic nights and spontaneous use of the grand piano in the bar it’s pretty hard not to have fun.
This year’s highlights included a rendition of Britney Spear’s ‘Hit me baby one more time’ by Graham Walmsley one of the student helpers, some spontaneous Michael Jackson dancing from Ernesto Moreno of PwC, a Nunchuck display from Max Choi of Quest Partnership, some up-beat choons by Criterion Director Alan Redman, an 8ft Jenga tower courtesy of myself and Ricky Nandlal of Bluewood Consulting, and of course some late night jamming with the ABP’s very own Richard Taylor on piano.
5. Time out from the day-to-day: As a rule, Business Psychologists work incredibly hard, delivering projects than can require long hours, significant travelling and early starts so having a couple of days off that particular hamster wheel can be extremely valuable. Combined with the learning, networking, and having fun elements of the Conference, attending has the potential to leave you feeling oddly refreshed and energised – despite the extreme sleep deprivation!
So as a go off to have another sneaky ‘power nap’ to catch up on my ABP Conference induced lack of sleep there are my five reasons why attending the Conference makes me feel great about being a Business Psychologist.
For more information about the 2013 Conference visit the ABP Conference web pages.