Applying Reasoning to a Challenging Experience

I once worked for a company called Payday Advance, a subsidiary of Cash America Incorporated. I enjoyed the job, as jobs go. It was not a career for me, however, after I had been there for two years I was presented with an opportunity to be promoted into management. I had worked at many of the stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but one store was my favorite. It was the location on Hulen Street on the south side of Fort Worth. I enjoyed it so much because of the manager there, Dorothy White. We had become quick friends after a short time of working together, and I happened to be located at her store when the opportunity to promote presented itself. It is in this context that I now consider the obstacles and assumptions that accompanied the situation, the type of reasoning behind my thinking, and the role that memory and language played in the decision-making process.  

Constant, during this decision-making process, was a complex interplay of ambivalence and anxiety. When I started at Payday Advance I had already been in retail management for several years. I was extremely qualified for a manager position in the company; however, the district manager insisted that all employees started as associates and were promoted thereafter. Of course, after working there for some time I realized that this was not the case. Payday Advance did indeed hire managers quite regularly. When my opportunity came to be promoted I had already been passed over for several raises and promotions. After leaving Cash America I found out that the district manager had a very bad first impression of me, which was the cause for my delayed promotion. Apparently, I came across as a know-it-all, imagine that. At any rate, by the time the possible promotion came around the district manager had indeed become highly associated with anxiety. Therefore, the idea of being promoted into a position directly under her also brought with it a certain level of anxiety. It was the association of this anxiety with the district manager that gave me a reason to pause before becoming a store manager. Furthermore, the major obstacles, in my mind, to becoming a store manager were peer approval, employee recognition, and performance anxiety. At that point in my career, I had become very good at being an associate. I was not sure if my experience and talents would translate over into a successful management position at that company.

Both inductive and deductive reasoning were involved in my decision to take the promotion and subsequent manager position at another store. As aforementioned, a certain level of anxiety accompanied the thought of working directly under the district manager that hired me. I had previous knowledge, at that point, which had relegated the district manager to the category of a hard-charging corporate employee. This concept is familiar to most in the business world. A person in this category cares more about profit lines and projections than people. Through the mechanism of inductive reasoning, I had concluded that promotion directly under the district manager would bring with it the same worries and headaches that I had observed in other managers. Conversely, deductive reasoning was at work in my decision making on another front. Managers make more money than associates. More money meant better living conditions for my family. Therefore, promotion to manager meant better living conditions for my family. It is the duality of the conclusion of these two threads of reasoning that were in constant conflict during the “thinking through” of this decision. Moreover, two specific ideas could have greatly increased the effectiveness of both types of reasoning involved in the decision. I could have gotten past my preconceptions about the district manager and made an attempt to understand her as a person with her own family, rather than a district manager. I could have also realized that money does not presuppose better living conditions for my family. This is because more money also means more responsibility in the business world.

Both short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) were at work in the reasoning that underplayed the decision to become a manager. According to the serial process model of memory LTM actually determines, at least to some extent, what stimuli reach STM or consciousness (Kowalski & Westen, 2005). In this case, my long-term memories of the district manager’s past actions dictated which memories to consider in my STM while making the decision to be promoted. Also, it was within the context of these past memories (LTM) that I listened to her proposal to promote me. It is because of this that certain words and expressions carried more weight perceptually than other things that she was saying. For instance, any information indicating her expectations of herself as a direct supervisor would be more relevant than information about the store I was going to the manager. This is due in part to the fact that I already knew the store I was going to work at, but did not fully understand how she was going to act as a supervisor. In addition, the theory of multiple intelligences has a significant bearing on the multifaceted relationship that underscored the interactions between the district manager and myself. She would probably score very high on interpersonal and linguistic or verbal; whereas, I score highest on intrapersonal and logical/mathematical. She is a people person, an extravert, a manager of people. On the other hand, I am a thinker, an introvert, a person who understands people and situations. It is this basic personality conflict which probably led to my assumptions about her and her first impression of me. Lastly, I would have to agree with the concept that language shapes thought (Kowalski & Westen, 2005). It is within the context of the idea of “manager” and “associate” that this decision-making process rests. It is the underlying expectations, assumptions, and responsibilities that dictated my choice of positions within the company.     

In conclusion, the assumption that I would be promoted fast and the feelings of ambivalence and anxiety that followed played heavily on my decision to be promoted. It is also clear that both inductive and deductive reasoning were largely implicated in the “thinking through” that took place before I decided to take the manager position. Likewise, both STM and LTM helped to connect the dots of my thoughts in order to put the situation in proper perspective. Looking back now the money was not worth it. I should have stayed with my friend Dorothy at the Hulen location and remained an associate.   

References

Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2005). Psychology (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


Paper Topic

Prepare a 1,050 to 1,400-word paper in which you reflect on a challenging experience that you have encountered in either a professional or personal environment that involved significant “thinking through” or reasoning. Be sure to address the following items:

  1. Describe the attitudes and assumptions that the “subject” brought into the selected experience. If anxiety, confusion, or ambivalence was experienced at the onset of the situation, attempt to account for these feelings in terms of classical conditioning principles. Similarly, attempt to account for any positive emotions brought into the experience involving reasoning.
    • In regards to the experience itself, analyze what role memory played in the processes that were involved.
    • Consider obstacles that may have occurred as the issue was “thought through” to a conclusion.
    • Speculate on what type(s) of reasoning was involved in the selected experience. Was it exclusively based on previously learned concepts and perceptions, or did it involve new learning, observational learning, or a combination of current perceptions and decisions?

Provide several ideas that could have enhanced the effectiveness of the reasoning process in this experience. Consider multiple intelligences and the role that memory and language played in your formulation of outcomes for this issue that was “reasoned out.”

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