T214: Activity 5.2

I submitted TMA05 on Sunday (only 9 days late) and I’m now behind on the coursework that leads up to TMA06. This is not a particularly great situation, considering the amount of readings and activities to get through, but at least the course materials are interesting.

I neglected to write much about my learning activities (this might be a constant theme) but the act of writing them down should help me to better understand what I need to do to get better marks. My scores for both the assignments in Block 2 were not that great, as I was too focussed on solutions and not concentrating on the process of working out the problems. I need to spend more time thinking about how things are connected and not so much about how to fix things.

I also need to write longer paragraphs in my assignments, apparently.

So, in order to better facilitate my understanding of the course materials – and systems thinking in general – I’m going to try to be better at using my blog as a learning journal. Some of the activities (like this one that I’m about to describe) ask me write down my thoughts. My thoughts are often fragmented and difficult to collate, so I apologise in advance if some of what I write doesn’t make much sense, or jumps around all over the place. This is a constant cycle of improvement and I hope to be getting much better at this.

Activity 5.2 requires me to think about my own motivations. This block is trying to use metaphors to describe how organisations work and people’s motivations are a large part of that. We all have different perspectives and worldviews and our desires and expectations determine how we approach situations. Our motivations affects everything that happens in organisations; the RUGS “machine” metaphor only works so far when people are involved, and so the course materials are extending our use of metaphors in systems by introducing the concept of “organisations as organisms”.

I sense some increased complications in my learning process…

The questions asked are as follows:

  • What made you choose the type of work that you do?
  • What do you get out of the work that you do?
  • What fires you up to work harder or longer or more creatively?
  • What discourages you, slows you down, makes you reluctant to participate?
Have I really chosen the work I do? It seems, sometimes, that I’ve just fallen into testing software for a living, but I guess it’s an extension of my personal interests. I’ve always been interested in computing and gadgetry, so it’s probably a natural progression for me to end up in an IT-related job. Alternatively, perhaps my work experience has informed my personal interests. Either way, I work in an industry which interests me and I happen to be good enough at it to earn a living.
I do get a sense of achievement out of my work. If a project is completed successfully then I feel a sense of professional pride that we’ve managed to get to the end without any major disasters. I love a challenge and I don’t mind something being difficult as long as I have adequate support to do what I need to do. I don’t like to be over-stressed but I do like to have timelines that need to be stuck to so that I don’t procrastinate too much.
I work better when I have some direction rather than left to make my own way. I can get lost in the details – or, more likely, just lost – so it’s good for me to have someone checking up on how I’m doing. I’m motivated by an interesting job, by a sense of being appreciated and by working in a pleasant environment with people I like. And, yes; I am motivated by money, but not primarily.
I don’t do my best work if it’s boring or overly predictable. Doing the same thing every day doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Give me something different to do and I’ll be happier. I don’t want to be in charge, although I’m happy to lead parts of a project. I don’t like managing people and I’m happiest when I’ve got something technical to play with. I like to use my brain – if that becomes not necessary then expect me to start staring into the distance looking majorly disinterested.
These are my motivations, or at least the ones I can think of at the moment.
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