I know there are” ideal” companies to work for, not because I have worked for them (because I haven’t), but because very few friends have mentioned their work environments and their ideal supervisors and because I have read about them occasionally in the news pages.  But now that I have read Hacker and Robert’s analysis of when great managers fail to become great leaders.  In point of fact, I have rarely encountered what I consider a great manager, and when I have, they moved on shortly thereafter or I did.  I suspect that most managers, and frankly most front line employees, according to Hacker and Roberts’ description, don’t receive proper mentoring or training to be managers or leaders.  On that level, this book is rather enlightening and if all companies don’t need to read and apply this, most do.

I have worked in several industries for several companies, and I have no interest in working for any more companies any more than I have to.  I am more interested in working for myself teaching and learning from others and helping them individually and in small groups find their life’s passion in their local environment.  Given that this is a corporate-slanted text, I am surprised and impressed to see a whole chapter devoted to creating a life of meaning.  This concept has puzzled my family since they felt I should be doing one thing from the beginning of my working life to the end of my working life and I did not because I did not and still do not feel that I fit a mold or stereotype that they forced themselves into.  Retirement is a social construct designed to give people a false impression that they cannot do what they love and do something instead that they are obligated to do for family, for society, for security until they are too tired to continue doing it. When did this happen? In the not to distant past, each of our ancestors, wherever they were, worked the land, worked with their hands, worked with their brains to offer local wisdom to heal.  In a manner of speaking, a career was something that you simply were, rather than something you did temporarily. I have no intention of retiring. I don’t know what that would look like, and it certainly would literally bore me to death.

If creating a life of meaning were a requirement of high school and college as a “career planning class”, and if exploration was encouraged and supported as life goals and meanings change over time, there would be less dissatisfaction with work and with the meaning of life beyond getting a job after education. The core values and operating principles in Hacker and Roberts’ formula would make a viable syllabus for such a class or for even a homeschooling parent’s curriculum at the appropriate time.

Feminist and liberation psychology is also very intriguing to me in that both are scientific approaches to social psychological issues and yet, there is personal involvement of the scientists/journal article writers to improve the world around them, locally, nationally and transnationally.  How does one get involved, advocating for change while still maintaining a scientific distance?  This seems very similar to journalists insisting on dispassionate objectivity that I have discussed in earlier reflections, which I doubt is possible without apathy.  But it is a question I have been puzzling over and one I must answer or find one.

To an extent, this question is answered by Madrigal and Tejeda’s, Facing Gender-based Violence in El Salvador through a quote from Martin-Baro’ where he details the de-ideologizing process of showing men the objective realities of gender-based violence in El Salvador.  This is probably the only reality that truly confronts men willing to participate in the Masculinities Programme. The fact that they are also actively involved in scenarios that force them to face their personal complicity in gender-based violence is a bonus that the men walk away with, spreading their experiences via intentional and unintentional propaganda to reduce this gender-based violence. The results of this study and article indicate that it’s too early to gauge the success of the programme, but, obviously, this needs to happen internationally and in the United States on an ongoing basis because I believe it may not eliminate needless violence, but it would certainly reduce it.

Participatory feminism shares close kinship with the de-ideologizing philosophy and process of Martin-Baro’.  In Barazangi, Participatory Feminism’s working paper, the requisite elements of PARFAM are tied together where individuals can engage in self-improvement and individual evolution as well as collective multicultural social equality improvement and evolution.  Barazangi makes a very interesting point in the conclusion of the literature analysis that is very similar to a very simple belief that the U.S. government is not interested in teaching people to ask questions and think for themselves; it is interested in teaching people to follow directions and do what they are told without asking any questions. “. . . as soon as the educational institutions became the tool of political rivalries, contents and boundaries were dictated in order to limit access to the opposing points of view, and creativity was reduced to whose requirements should be enforced, or how dogmatic a curriculum should be.” (Barazangi citing a previous work: 9).



Barazangi, N. (2001). Future of Social Sciences and Humanities in Corporate Universities: Curricula, Exclusions, Inclusions, and Voice (Institute for European Studies Working Paper, 01.1). Institute for Europeand Studies. Retrieved from http://atlas.geo.cornell.edu/parfem/purposes.htm)

Hacker, S. & Roberts, T (2004).  Transformational leadership.  Milwaukee, WI:  ASQ Quality Press.

Lykes, M. And Moane, G. (2009).  Editors’ Introduction: Whither Feminist Liberation Psychology? Critical Explorations of Feminist and Liberation Psychologies for a Globalizing World. Feminism & Vol. 19(3): 283–297

Madrigal, L.,  And Tejeda, W. (2009).  Facing Gender-based Violence in El Salvador: Contributions from the Social Psychology of Ignacio Martín-Baro. Feminism & Vol. 19(3): 368-374.