The Mud Left on the Wall
Posted by: MSC Admissions
By Barrie Burren, Class of 2010
At the end of our Workplace Diversity and Inclusion course, Professor Kathleen Galvin asked us to share what we believed would be the “mud left on the wall.” She understands that as time passes, it’s hard to remember every detail and concept we discussed in class. Her interest was hearing what had made a mark on each of us and would remain with us years later. For me, the mud left on the wall is that each person’s perspective is his or her own reality. Individuals working for the same organization can have very different interpretations and feelings about the culture and practices.
Insightful sayings like “your perspective is your reality” were certainly thought-provoking and instrumental in learning throughout the program. However, the real developmental experience came from seeing these adages transpire in my own life. When I hear something, I learn it; when I do something, I understand it. Kathleen’s class offered opportunities for both.
Our “Through the Eyes of Another” assignment called each of us to interview someone in our organization who was different from ourself in at least 3 ways (age, gender, marital status, ethnic background, etc.). We listened to their interpretation of the organization and how it affected their experience to construct their organizational reality. Writing the paper comparing and contrasting our experiences with those of a co-worker brought the “your perspective is your reality” saying to life. It felt as though the woman I interviewed and I worked for two very different organizations.
In my own work, I recently completed a self-review in which I evaluated my abilities and contributions and also shared suggestions for change. It was astonishing to find how much my suggestions called upon realizations from writing the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion interview paper. Mud–even metaphorical mud–has never felt so useful; I hope I can preserve it and put to use as much as possible!