A Bit of Advice on the Side
Dawn L. Riddle
University of South Florida
Lori L. Foster
East Carolina University
Ah, springtime. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and love is
in the air. Like most people during this time of year, we find it utterly
impossible to suppress those fantasies of the ultimate relationship, the
blending of two passions, the fulfillment of a perfect balance with an intimate
partner. Hey! This is a PG column, remember? We're dreaming of becoming
scientist-practitionersprofessionals who simultaneously satisfy both their
academic and their applied love interests. It's a dream shared by many and lived
by successful individuals like Dr. Sheldon Zedeck, the
industrial-organizational psychologist featured in this issue.
You may have seen this guy's name amidst the literature on performance
appraisal systems, employee attitudes, stress, or even decision making.
Regardless of the specifics, you've definitely seen his name somewhere along the
way. "How did he become so successful?" you probably pondered. And
perhaps more curiously, "What is his favorite beverage?"
Providing an up close and personal interview with Dr. Zedeck, this column's
first segment offers the answers to these questions and more. As you'll see, Dr.
Zedeck's distinguished career provides an impressive model to which any new
psychologist may wish to aspire.
Did you ever see the movie "When Harry Met Sally?" If so, you'll
recall the scene where Billy Crystal (Harry) suggests that "on the
side" is big with co-star Meg Ryan (Sally). This scene came to mind while
we were researching the current issue's Career Gear topic suggested by Dr.
Zedeck. It seems "on the side" is big with I-O psychologists as well.
We're not suggesting that I-O types feel especially compelled to ask for mayo in
paper cup next to their turkey on rye. Rather, we're referring to their tendency
to take up extra work `on the side.' According to the 1998 Income and Employment
Survey of the SIOP membership, it is pretty common for academicians and
consultants alike to supplement their primary incomes with part-time I-O'ing.1
So, if you've entertained the idea of doing some work on the side, catch the
forthcoming Career Gear segment. Find out what the experts have to say about
early career moonlighting, and decide if "on the side" might be big
with you, too.
1 The survey reported that approximately 38% of
doctoral level I-O psychologists earn some form of supplemental income.
The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Sheldon Zedeck: The Professional
Warning: an appropriate account of the career we're about to describe would
fill multiple volumes of TIP. Suffice it to say, we had to stick to some
highlights, which are provided next.
PhD, Bowling Green State University, 1969
MA, Bowling Green State University, 1967
BS, Brooklyn College, 1965
Academic Work. Dr. Zedeck is currently a professor at the
University of California, Berkeley (UCB), where he has worked since July of
1969. Over the years, he has been quite involved in university affairs,
performing various roles such as Chair of the Department, Chair of the Committee
on Educational Policy, Chair of the Committee on Privilege and Tenure, and
Director of the Institute of Industrial Relations. Amidst the administrative
hubbub, he has managed to maintain several fruitful programs of research. Over
the years, he's improved our understanding of prediction and selection models,
performance appraisal systems, worker attitudes and motivations, information
processing, decision making, stress, and work-family relationships. He has
published at least 48 articles, 5 books, and 11 book chapters, and has presented
his work at more than 100 conferences and related forums. He has also
contributed to the literature via his editorial efforts, serving as member,
associate editor, and editor of multiple journals and book series. In addition,
he cofounded the well-respected journal, Human Performance.
Consulting Work. Dr. Zedeck's first active post-PhD consulting
project was with Milton Blood and Bill Graham in the early 1970s
when they developed an entrance level examination for a firefighter position in
San Francisco. Since then, he has been involved in lots of consulting
projects. His vita, which provides a partial list, catalogs a full single-spaced
page of organizations he's worked with, including Allstate, the City of Miami,
Georgia Pacific, and the Departments of Justice, State, and Labor.
Sabbatical Work. Dr. Zedeck's sabbaticals have taken him to
many places, such as Israel, Sweden, The Netherlands, and even such exotic
settings as New Jersey. True to the scientist-practitioner model, he has used
his sabbatical opportunities to strengthen both the research and the consulting
segments of his career. In Israel, he conducted research on performance
appraisals, and along with John Campbell completed a revision of
Ghiselli's Measurement Theory for the Behavioral Sciences. A subsequent
sabbatical was spent honing applied skills at AT&T, where he involved
himself in assessment center and testing work.
SIOP Activities. Dr. Zedeck was introduced to Division 14 /
SIOP in 1972, when Bob Guion appointed him to the Education and Training
Committee. Since then, he has served as Chair of the Education and Training
Committee (1974-75), Member of the Workshop Committee (1975-76; 1977-79), Member
of an Ad Hoc Committee (1978-79; 1985-86), Editor of everyone's favorite
newsletter, TIP (1979-82), Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee
(1982-85), President-Elect (1985-86), President (1986-87), Representative to APA
Council of Representatives (1989-92), and Member and Chief Editor of the Frontier
Series Editorial Board (1988-93). That's 20 years (excluding one year when
he was out of the country on sabbatical) on SIOP's Executive Committee! In
recognition of his dedication, Dr. Zedeck was presented with the SIOP
Distinguished Service Contribution Award in 1996.
Up next, we focus on the personal side of Dr. Zedeck. Providing lots of
behind-the-scenes info, the following segment may enlighten even the most ardent
Zedeck-enthusiasts in the business.
Sheldon (or Shall We Call Him Shelly) Zedeck: The Person
True to EC style, we recently interviewed Shelly Zedeck to provide a closer
glimpse of the person behind the name. The following pages summarize his
responses to our (un)usual questions, which are listed in italics.
Do you have a routine that you like to follow? During the week, Shelly
rises at 6:30, showers, gets dressed, has a glass of juice and a bowl of cereal
(some oatmeal-raisin-kinda-thing), and heads to work. Once in his office, he
brews some coffee, sits down to handle e-mail, then begin his day's work. Around
noon he breaks for lunch, having a bite at his desk or venturing out with
colleagues. After lunch, Shelly returns to the office and works until 5:30 or
6:00. In the evening, he dines with Marti (his wife) and Tracy (the one child
who hasn't yet flown the coop). After dinner, he works until 11:00 p.m. when he
watches the evening news and sports while reading the paper.
On Saturdays, he puts in a full day at the office (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.),
while on Sundays he either works around the house or does some I-O or
university-related work. Friday and Saturday evenings he generally doesn't work,
but spends time with family or friends (going to the movies or eating outhe
especially enjoys spicy food).
What do you do during your time off? Having received our questions
prior to the actual interview, Shelly had some time for reflection before
answering this one. Even so, he couldn't actually recall having nonworking
hours. This is not too surprising, considering his weekly routine and the length
of his vita! After a bit more discussion, though, we discovered that Shelly has
a true passion for travel. As a matter of fact, he recounted his daughter's
observation that in 1 year the family had visited 21 countries!
During his travels, he's enjoyed coffee houses, architecture, museums,
cathedrals, monuments, and people watching in countries such as Egypt, China,
Turkey, Russia, and Istanbul. He's also journeyed to regions of Poland, where he
visited the birthplace of his parents and his mother's childhood home.
What do you do to relieve stress? "Stress is in the eye of the
beholder," counters Shelly to this question. He remarks that he generally
doesn't get stressed out. (We're trying to convince him to bottle and sell the
secret to this!) When he does find himself up against pressing deadlines, or in
the midst of difficult personal situations, he takes a task-oriented, head-on
approachdirectly attacking the project or problem until it's finished or
If you were stranded on a desert island and had one piece of reading
material, what would it be? "A survival manual," declares a
pragmatic Shelly. You may have guessed by now, he's not the type to sit around
sipping a fruity beverage from a coconut with a little paper umbrella poking out
of the top. Instead, he'd spend his time figuring out how to get off the island,
and presumably back to work. Clearly, we needed to rephrase this interview
What are your literary preferences? Ah, that's better. Shelly's
library contains over 200 I-O psychology-related books! He's not into fiction;
he likes his I-O journals and texts. If he were in the mood to do some non-I-O
leisure reading, he'd most likely select the biography of some sports legend
Mickey Mantle, for instance2.
2 Mantle has been Shelly's hero since his childhood
days in Brooklyn. He even wore Mantle's number when he played ball.
Do you have a nickname? If so, how did you get it? For better or
worse, Shelly's colleagues and loved ones haven't bestowed any zany nicknames
upon him. He did reveal, however, that family members call him Sheldonnever
Shelly. He described an incident in a museum in Rome. Standing next to a statue
created by Michaelangelo, he was startled to hear someone call out,
"Sheldon!" the telltale sign of a relative. Sure enough, it was a
cousin who also happened to drop by Rome for a visit!
What is your favorite beverage? A Brooklynite at heart, Shelly remains
true to his childhood favoriteEGG CREAMS. The reader who has never
experienced an egg cream might be wondering what one could possibly do to an
egg, even with cream, to warrant such devotion. Actually, egg creams don't
contain eggs. Nor do they contain cream. Go figure. When pressed, Shelly
divulged the ingredients for the coveted egg cream: chocolate syrup
(professionals like Shelly use only "U-Bet" chocolate syrup), milk,
and carbonated water / seltzer... but not just any seltzer. For a true New York
egg cream, Shelly uses "Seltzer Sister's" seltzer. This seltzer comes
in pressurized refillable bottles and is delivered right to your door, just like
in the old days.
Although this recipe sounded reasonably legitimate, we felt compelled to
check Shelly's qualifications before passing the ingredients on to our readers.
Indeed, Shelly spent the summer before college as a "soda jerk" and
short order cook in the Catskill Mountains. As a
soda-jerk-turned-I-O-psychologist, Shelly still makes egg creamsat home, not
in the Catskills.
Reflecting his interests outside of the USA, Chinese baba chow tea is the
second item on Shelly's list of favorites. This tea is brewed from a combination
of whole flowers, dates, nuts, berries and tea leaves. Knowing his fondness for
the beverage, friends visiting from China often come bearing a batch of baba
chow. Best thing is, once you've finished the tea, you can eat the goodies left
in the bottom of the cup!
What factor(s) contributed significantly to your success? "Luck,"
"serendipity," and "being in the right place at the right
time," proposes Shelly at first. The beginning of his academic career at
UCB came about when Bob Guion, an I-O faculty member at Bowling Green State
University, could not accept UCB's one-year visiting position. He suggested that
Shelly take his place. Thirty years and one heck of a career later, Shelly's
Similarly, Shelly describes the lucky opportunity to serve on SIOP's
Education and Training Committee when Mary Tenopyr was Chair. Dr.
Tenopyr's mentoring was an instrumental component of his early career. By
teaching Shelly the ropes of organizational consulting, she helped him develop
his scientist-practitioner interests.
Okay, we'll concede that luck may play some role in success, but we figure
there's gotta be more to it. Modestly, Shelly suggests that if people see him as
successful, it is also a function of hard work. He has adopted a "Don't say
no" motto. (Boy would Hillary be up in arms if she knew.) When presented
with an opportunity for a new project, he applies the following criteria. (a)
Does it sound interesting? (b) Can I learn something new? (c) Will this project
have an impact?
Other than luck and hard work, Shelly also credits the good fortune of having
a very supportive family, many "colleagues turned close friends"
(e.g., Cascio, Goldstein, Landy, and others), and mentors like Patricia
Cain Smith, Bob Guion, Mary Tenopyr and Ed Ghiselli.
What factor(s) do you think might be critical to the success of others, in
general? Aside from luck and hard work, Shelly highlights the importance of
being a "trend setter," collaborating, getting involved in SIOP,
maintaining healthy sabbatical habits, and balancing work and family life.
Here's what Shelly had to say relative to these topics:
- Set the trendbe bold! Approach issues from alternative perspectives,
and work on multiple projects and topics simultaneously.
- Collaborate teamwork works! Working collaboratively on projects
broadens your network of contacts, exposes you to different perspectives,
and may increase the visibility of your work.
- SIOPget involved! Serve on committees and attend conferences. You'll
help perpetuate your profession, and you'll increase your visibility and
network of contacts as well as friends.
- Sabbaticalsa good time to run away from home! At home, it's easy to
find yourself spending more and more time on campus, dealing with department
issues, and basically doing what you do when you're not on
sabbatical. Sabbatical projects away from home afford the opportunity to
learn new things.
- Balancebecome a subscriber! Shelly offers this final piece of advice,
which helps him maintain a life outside of work. He buys season tickets to
the theater, the ballet, and various sporting events. According to Shelly,
it's a whole lot easier to take time out and enjoy leisure activities when
they are on your calendar and scheduled ahead of time.
If you were to choose a topic for our column's Career Gear segment, what
would it be? In response to this final query, Shelly focused on the issues
that arise when a new psychologist attempts to combine academic and consulting
careers. He's a firm believer in the scientist-practitioner model and feels it
warrants considerable attention in a column of this nature. Therefore, the
following segment elaborates on whether a new professional should attempt to
blend the science and practice of I-O psychology.
The scientist-practitioneryou've heard of him, right? He's the guy who
wows everyone from the students in the classroom to the clients in the
conference room. She's the gal who cranks out top-tier journal articles while
developing innovative solutions to the toughest real world problems in town. But
are we supposed to begin our careers this way, or should we wait and establish
ourselves as reputable academicians or consultants before turning to the other
side? What are the in's and out's of attempting to become a
scientist-practitioner during the early days of one's career?
After scratching our heads and pondering these questions for a while, we took
a trip down the information superhighway in search of answers. Okay, so maybe
"trip down the information superhighway" is a bit grandiose, but it
sure beats "we e-mailed a bunch of people and desperately hoped they'd
respond to our questions." In any event, we gathered input from a number of
knowledgeable academic and practitioner types who were kind enough to share
their views on whether new I-O psychologists should attempt to combine academic
and consulting work early on.3 This segment offers advantages,
disadvantages, and advice believed to be important for the early career
psychologist with scientist-practitioner ambitions. We address the topic first
from the academician's viewpoint and then from the practitioner's perspective.
3 Special thanks to the following individuals who
took time out of their busy schedules to contribute to this column: Ed Levine
(University of South Florida), Dave Day (Penn State University), George Thornton
III (Colorado State University), Karen Paul (3M), Sandra Davis (MDA
Consulting Group, Inc.), and Allan H. Church (W. Warner Burke Associates,
Inc.). Just for the record, requesting the TIP editor's input does NOT
constitute a shameless attempt to butter up the person in charge of our column.
(By the waythanks, Allan, for the deadline extension.)
The Academic's Perspective
The advantages of pursuing consulting work on the side. To
consult, or not to consultthat is the question that plagues many a new
assistant professor. Indeed, there are some notable advantages associated with
conducting applied work on the side. For starters, it can actually enhance
classroom instruction. "Field work gives one examples to introduce in
courses," remarks George Thornton, a Colorado State University
David Day, an Associate Professor from Penn State University agrees.
"It provides some nice `war stories' ... and it helps build credibility
with your students."
Edward Levine, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at
the University of South Florida, adds that field work may also afford important
instructional opportunities outside of the classroom. "Consulting contracts
can provide support and solid training experiences for grad students." This
advantage clearly benefits the student, the instructor, and the department as
Of course, few people earn tenure on great teaching alone. Most departments
expect and require new professors to establish a program of research. Must these
research aspirations hamper opportunities for part-time consulting gigs? Not
necessarily. In fact, under the right circumstances, applied projects can
enhance academic pursuits by allowing researchers to identify and focus on
"real life experiences and problems in organizations," says Dr.
Thornton. "This stimulus can make one's research more relevant and (help
one to) avoid investigating trivial matters." Furthermore, when conducted
under the right conditions, field work can generate publishable data. And by
gosh there's nothing a new assistant professor likes more than publishable data!
Finally, "and most importantly for many individuals, field work lets one
make a real difference in the lives of people and the success of
organizations," says Dr. Thornton.
Thus, part-time consulting can benefit a new assistant professor by enhancing
his or her teaching, research, and real-world impact. Anything else? "Oh
yeah, the extra money is nice too," adds Dr. Day.
The Disadvantages of Pursuing Consulting Work on the Side
But, waithold it right there! Put down your stack of business cards and
set aside that three-piece suit, at least for a few moments. There are some
important disadvantages to consider before you go out and sell your I-O wares to
the business world. If the new assistant professor is not careful,
extracurricular I-O can seriously hinder progress toward tenure and promotion.
"My graduate school cohort referred to consulting as the `black
hole,'" explains Dr. Day. "It has this way of sucking people in, never
to be heard from again. I'm only slightly kidding about that. You need to be
careful to protect your time as an assistant professor. Clients are notoriously
demanding and needy and before you know it, the consulting project has become
One should also consider the norms of the department when deciding whether to
accept a field project. As Dr. Thornton points out, "in some departments of
psychology and management, the consultant is looked down upon by colleagues who
perceive themselves as more `pure' scientists. Such folks may be members of
promotion and tenure committees."
Dr. Levine agrees. "If consulting calls for a junior faculty member to
be out of the office very often so students, the chair, and colleagues are
asking where Dr. So and So is all the time, tenure may be adversely
Advice for the New Assistant Professor
So, what do you do? For starters, consider waiting a little while before
accepting your first consulting contract. "If possible, wait at least until
after you've successfully made it through a pre-tenure review," advises Dr.
Day. "You first need to build your reputation within your department and
college as a strong scholar. If you are struggling with that, then consulting
will only make things worse."
When you do decide to take the plunge, attempt to use your consulting venues
as research and writing opportunities as well. "Try to leverage the field
work into some sources of publishable data," suggests Dr. Thornton.
"Get agreements ahead of time about whether you can use the data for
Finally, you should clearly express your availability to the potential
client. "Estimate how much time every week you can afford to devote to the
project, and be straightforward with the client about it," says Dr. Day.
"Then, watch out for black holes."
The Consultant's Perspective
The Advantages of Pursuing Academic Work on the Side
Of course, there's still another side to this story. When trying to determine
whether to pursue part-time "academic" interests (i.e., teaching,
research, and / or publishing), the new consultant often faces considerations
that are quite different from those previously described. Let's begin with the
advantages associated with part-time academic pursuits. Such work can benefit
new consultants by enhancing their credibility with clients. As Karen Paul,
a manager of survey research at 3M notes, "being able to speak
knowledgeably about a topic based on your own research is invaluable when
clients are faced with a sea of competing opinions from a variety of
sources." Furthermore, "the discipline of research and professional
review keep the skills you spent many (graduate school) years honing
And if credibility and razor-sharp research skills sound appealing, consider
the effect that academic pursuits can have on your consulting skills.
Both Sandra Davis (CEO, MDA Consulting Group, Inc.) and Allan Church (Principal,
W. Warner Burke Associates, Inc.) feel that academic pursuits can improve a new
consultant's applied skills. More specifically, academic side work can help you
"stay up to date with the latest research in the field," and
"maintain a solid theoretical foundation for the practical, consulting work
you do," explains Dr. Davis.
Dr. Church agrees, adding that "although one can certainly become an
expert consultant (or is that an oxymoron?) in certain areas through experience,
publishing and teaching require that additional levels of content depth be
developed and maintained. By engaging in these activities on the side, a
relatively new consultant can begin to build his/her knowledge base...there are
tons of consultants out there, so any edge helps."
Academic side work not only gives you an edge in the general business world,
it can also improve your position in the world of I-O by giving you "a
chance to develop a specialized area of expertise," says Dr. Davis.
In addition, it demonstrates your interest in and appreciation for "the
other side." As Dr. Church explains, "my appreciation for my academic
colleagues grew considerably after my own teaching experience a few summers
back... moreover, until you've had a paper torn to shreds by a series of
reviewers at one journal only to have it heralded as a great contribution at
another, it is almost impossible to relate to anyone else's complaints over the
Last but not least, academic side work promotes our field's
scientist-practitioner ideal. "To the extent that you can combine academic
research with your practice, you are coming closer to the goal of our
fieldthat of a scientist-practitioner," says Dr. Paul.
This last one is a benefit that "is more for the field in general than
for the individual," Dr. Church admits. But, by pursuing academic side
work, "the consultant is giving something back to the larger I-O community
and thereby making a contribution to the growth and development of the field
itself. Although this may not motivate every consultant out there to teach and
write, it is an important role and contribution that needs to be made to help
maintain our scientist-practitioner balance."
The Disadvantages of Pursuing Academic Work on the Side
Naturally, academic side work is not without its drawbacks. So, minimize your
SPSS program for just another moment or two, and consider the following. Visible
research pursuits may shape your organizational role in unintended ways.
"Depending on the type of research, inferences might be made about you and
your career such as `he/she wouldn't be happy in an operations role,'"
notes Dr. Paul. The organization may increasingly view you as a "commodity
for data analysis."
Dr. Davis adds that if you're not careful, academic pursuits can slow the
development of your consulting skills. Extensive research into one topic may
"motivate you to use one tool or approach to the exclusion of having a `bag
of approaches' to draw from." Furthermore, "you reinforce speaking the
language of academia rather than learning to translate your theoretical
understanding into terms that your clients can comprehend."
Finally, part-time academic work can devour the new consultant's time, which
is all too scarce. "You focus your spare reading and learning time on
theoretical issues, at a time when you need to be learning about the practical
aspects of consulting and about the business world in general," explains
Drs. Church and Paul agree that time constraints must certainly be
considered. As Dr. Paul points out, "To the extent that you invest your
(spare) time in research, it is not available for something else." If the
new consultant is not careful, extra side work can adversely affect work-life
Advice for the New Consultant
Incidentally, the first piece of advice for the new consultant mirrors the
first recommendation extended to the uninitiated academic. Consider waiting just
a little while before pursuing part-time academic endeavors. "Wait for a
couple of years before you try to combine (academic and consulting work),"
suggests Dr. Davis. "If you have just completed your PhD and you have spent
little time with applied projects, you could be much more effective in academic
pursuits with some practical experience behind you."
Once you're ready to try some academic moonlighting, take a resourceful,
opportunistic approach. "Be creative and always look for multiple uses for
(your) work," advises Dr. Church. "Try taking that presentation of
survey results made to a client and turning it into an applied paper or
conference presentation somewhere."
Dr. Paul seconds this motion, noting that a new consultant should try to
combine his or her research interests with current work projects. "I
learned this trick from Dr. Patricia Cain Smith, as she always looks for ways to
`smuggle in' her research interests with her consulting to the benefit of her
clients, colleagues, students, and research." But, how do you get the
client to agree to the research proposal? According to Dr. Paul, oftentimes all
you have to do is ask. "Kevin Nilan and I found working on a
project on trust in management for our company that our senior executives were
so excited and supportive of the research they encouraged us to do further
research and publish the results," she says.
Once you've landed the organizational okay, try collaborating on the text
with someone in academics or another company. "The social pressure to get
something done you've agreed to work on is an amazing motivator," remarks
Dr. Paul, adding "you should try to stick to work for which you have a
Dr. Church agrees. "It is very important to choose projects...that are
both accomplishable, inherently interesting, and that will be personally
rewarding." Church's final advice? Just do it. "I would strongly
encourage consultants to pursue (academic) activities...Such a course will
ensure both the evolution of the field of I-O, and the long-term survival of the
In conclusion, there's a good reason why the scientist-practitioner model is
the party line. Close connections between academics and practice clearly benefit
the individual, the organization, and the field. Dr. Zedeck is living proof that
this ideal can be accomplished. New psychologists, however, must make sure
they're equipped to help bridge the gap between academics and practice. They
should proceed with great caution, carefully weighing the advantages and
disadvantages of simultaneously pursuing academic and consulting endeavors early
in their careers. We hope, the pros and cons outlined in this column will
facilitate informed decisions and help new professionals bridge the gap without
getting sucked into the proverbial black hole.
A final note. Stay tuned for the next issue of Early Careers,
featuring Dr. Nancy Tippins of GTE. After promising we wouldn't use our
hard-nosed TIP journalistic tendencies to contact parents or childhood
sweethearts, we were able to convince Dr. Tippins to appear in July 2000
edition! This one will surely earn a place atop your summer reading list. `Til
To contact the Early Careers editors:
Dawn L. Riddle
Department of Psychology, BEH 339
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL 33620-8200
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org OR
Lori L. Foster
Department of Psychology
104 Rawl Building
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
April 2000 Table of Contents |
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