[00:00:00] Eric: welcome. This is a very special edition of Psych Sessions, conversations about teaching and stuff. Not only do we have a special guest, but we have a special guest host. I’m here with Dr. Matt Janki, my colleague and friend from Boise State University.
[00:00:13] Eric: Hi Matt. Hi, Eric. Thanks for having me today. Appreciate Oh, thanks for being here. And we have an extra special guest, which is why you’re a guest host. Matt, why don’t you introduce our guest? So, our guest
[00:00:24] Matt: today is Dr. John Ola, who’s here from the University of British Columbia.
[00:00:29] Eric: Awesome. So, Hi John. Hi Eric.
[00:00:32] Eric: How are you? Good, good. So I’ve, we’ve all wondered before your visit, it’s obviously, Matt just said it correctly, it’s Ola, Right? And not Olai.
[00:00:41] John: I, um, it’s meant to be Oli. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. All right,
[00:00:46] Eric: good. I, I just wanna make sure that we got that for the, for the record. All right.
[00:00:51] Matt: I, I, When he told me that, I realized that actually the entire time that I’ve been teaching his work, that I’ve mispronounced his name, so he, he correct it.
[00:00:58] Matt: He didn’t correct me, but when [00:01:00] I asked him, I realized I’ve been mispronouncing it.
[00:01:02] Eric: Okay. Well, you know, it’s kind of one, Okay, good. We got it. All right. We got it right. I can edit out my mumbling too. I can edit out anything you guys want me to, but I usually edit when I edit. I edit out mostly myself. is what I end up doing.
[00:01:17] Eric: So, John, you’ve been visiting Boise State here for a few days and we’ve loved your visit. Can you tell our audience a little bit here? I’m gonna, I’m gonna read a formal, the formality. John, you’re the professor in Tier one Canada Research chair in Men’s Health promotion at the School of Nursing University, British Columbia, Canada, with a joint fractional appointment at the Department of Nursing, University of Melbourne.
[00:01:42] Eric: A. That’s all our time together today. Thanks very much for joining. No, I’m sorry, . John, would you tell our audience a little bit about what you do and what your specialty is?
[00:01:53] John: Yeah, sure. So, um, we run the university, British Columbia. We’ve got a men’s health research program. I’ve been lucky enough to be the, [00:02:00] the founder and lead of that.
[00:02:03] John: Um, and to help me do that work, they, they awarded me a, a research chair, which allows me to focus on, on research and the, and the mainstay of what we do these days is, uh, definitely around mental health. Um, and in particular, you know, male depression and, uh, and looking at the connection to suicidality and male suicide.
[00:02:23] John: Indeed. And so it’s been sort of our focus over the last probably seven to 10 years, um, probably a bit longer. Um, and so yeah, we’ve been in that space for, for some time. So we like to, uh, find out about the problems. Um, and we are quite committed to building programs. That hopefully can make a difference to outcomes.
[00:02:45] John: So we might describe the problems, but we, we really are wedded to the idea of building interventions for one of a better term, and programs that might be tailored to guys that would help them avoid the outcomes that are associated with, you know, [00:03:00] suicide.
[00:03:02] Eric: Yeah, this stuff kind of dovetails with your research as well, which is why you invited John Dub Boise State.
[00:03:07] Eric: Is that right?
[00:03:08] Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I’m, I’m very familiar with John’s work. Um, and so that’s one of the reasons I wanted to, you know, highlight that and showcase that just because of, that’s my familiarity with his work, but how much it’s impacted the field. Um, and so, yeah, my hope was that I could share that with everybody else, not just me, but that other folks here at Boise State could learn about their great work that he and his team are doing at British Columbia.
[00:03:34] Matt: Well,
[00:03:34] Eric: I, I could ask 42 questions, but Matt, I’m gonna let you as my guest, co-host, ask John questions and Okay. And introduce ’em to our audience.
[00:03:42] Matt: Well, I, a question to get started here, I, I, I think might be interesting. I think that John’s like maybe pushing the limits a little bit of like psych sessions.
[00:03:52] Matt: He’s not a psychologist, he’s not been trained as a psychologist.
[00:03:55] Eric: What, what? This is the first I’m learning of this. [00:04:00] He was snuck
[00:04:00] Matt: in. Hello? Yeah. So I was wondering maybe if, um, you could tell us a little bit about like your professional background, like your training and.
[00:04:10] John: Yeah. Um, so for sure, so I was, um, like I’m a nurse, right?
[00:04:16] John: So a registered nurse. So I was back in the day of the hospital training, um, uh, back in Australia. And, and so, you know, sort of did that three year course, um, did a master’s in education, did a graduate graduate degree in pediatrics because we had so many kids turning up in the emergency room that I wanted to understand how to help the kids.
[00:04:38] John: Um, and then did a PhD, um, in health sciences. So the health sci I, the PhD was, was kind of more in the health sciences area and it didn’t necessarily look at mental health, although it did, you know, engage some of that around prostate cancer. Mm-hmm. . And then I had 40 years clinical, or sorry, 20 years, sorry, 20 years clinical [00:05:00] in, um, In the emergency department.
[00:05:02] John: So yeah. So kind of a clinical background and you, it’s interesting because you see mental health and you see mental illness and you work with it in the context, but yeah, you’re right. In terms of formal training, um, no, you know, um, we had psych lectures in the, in the undergraduate degree and, and, and not a lot.
[00:05:23] John: And, uh, uh, but most of my experience has been in talking to guys in the research space, you know, about some of their challenges with mental illness and, and suicidality. And I’ve learned a lot from colleagues who are psychiatrists psychologists. And it’s been a, been a, a bit of a, an interesting ride just because I’m interested in the discovery.
[00:05:49] John: You know how to build things that might help. And also better understanding the problems. Yeah. And the
[00:05:54] Eric: challenges. Was it difficult? I’m sorry, Matt, So, so your questions are not done. No, [00:06:00] sorry. No worries.
[00:06:01] John: No, no. You’ve cut him off. .
[00:06:03] Eric: He’s used to this , I’m sorry. I’m sorry. There may be more true to that than I’m willing to admit.
[00:06:11] Eric: Was it d i i, I don’t know the demographics in Australia. Uh, more nursing students, female than male, Like it is in the
[00:06:22] John: us Yeah, we were talking about this the other day. It’s um, , you know, it’s never, ever really taken off as a male occupation. Um, so I, I th I don’t think we’ve ever broken the 10% mark. We’ve always run underneath that.
[00:06:35] John: And I’d say the same at ubc, you know, for me, you know, in Canada. Uh, and I worked in the UK for a little while, and it’s always been the same. It’s been a minority and it’s, it’s a bit of, um, it’s interesting because such a great job and, and, and such reward and such. Um, just, you know, it is a terrific, I’ve loved it, loved the clinical work and, and [00:07:00] love the research and the, and the progressions that you can make.
[00:07:03] John: Um, so yeah, it’s one of those ones where the, the gender split is quite, uh, it’s never. We never really got to, um, you know, sort of equality around the, the genders split. It’s, it’s very much a female dominated area. Um, and, and I psychology is a little bit the same too, I guess in some
[00:07:23] Eric: ways. Yeah. It depends At the undergraduate level, if you look at number of majors, at least in the US it’s highly female dominated, about 75% female undergraduates in the us.
[00:07:34] Eric: Yeah. Um, as you go towards, uh, doctoral, um, actually I think it increases a little bit towards 80% female doctorates in the US right? Yeah. It just leans a little bit higher that way. Yeah, Yeah. Yeah, very much so. I’m sorry, you probably, you’re probably going down a road there, but, so, but today you are, you’re fairly far removed from that nursing background then with all your additional [00:08:00] training and background.
[00:08:01] Eric: Yeah, it’s,
[00:08:02] John: I mean, there’s, people talk about nursing research and. I think they, they have an idea that it might be bedside, it might have to do with particular procedures that, that you might do an evidence based bedside kind of nursing. And I’ve never really done that research. I’ve always kind of been in the psychology, social sciences, and it just happens that to be that my background has been, you know, clinically in, in nursing.
[00:08:30] John: So, um, I think, I think we’re a little bit more inclusive and, and open to the diversity that is nurse researches these days that that might be the origin, but you might be in spaces that wouldn’t typically be associated with the traditional idea of what nurses do.
[00:08:48] Eric: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the journal articles that you were showing yesterday of your colleagues and your own are very interdisciplinary.
[00:08:57] Eric: Yeah. From what I can recall. I mean, [00:09:00] they’re, I mean, they’re not, Some of them could be considered psychology mainstream, but they’re also mental health, mainstream. I
[00:09:07] John: mean, Yeah. And when they categorize the collection of articles that I’ve been involved in, and oftentimes they’ll, you know, award you a number or tell you where you are in the world.
[00:09:17] John: They actually rank me in the psychology field. They don’t rank me, you know, in a, in a nursing research field. So, so I agree. I think the optics of where we publish mm-hmm. and the things that we’re talking about probably, you know, uh, position me somewhat in, in doing, doing that work, which is, um, yeah, it’s great honor.
[00:09:37] John: And it’s, and it’s, it’s great to be in those venues, um, those outlets. And also working with folks in the space, authentically in the space and learning from them. You learn a lot from the people you co-write with and as well as the, the research participants that you talk to. It’s, it’s kind of nice. Yeah.
[00:09:58] John: I’m wondering
[00:09:58] Matt: how you, like how you’d [00:10:00] made that decision you wanted to be a nurse, Like how did you get there?
[00:10:04] John: Um, yeah, so , um, we’re kind
[00:10:09] Matt: of talking some about the end game, like being Yeah,
[00:10:11] John: perfect, perfect question. So I, I wasn’t really bright at school, but like you probably noticed, I’m not that, not super bright and I battled a little bit and I, um, probably didn’t do as well in my last year and nobody of of my family or peer group went to university.
[00:10:35] John: So I, like many people just took a job, you know, after high school and I took a job in a bank and realized I didn’t really care for money or or people whinging about money. So, uh, I thought, Oh, I’ll go and I’ll do something. and I didn’t have the marks for university. And so I went and did nursing because it was [00:11:00] done in a hospital.
[00:11:01] John: Okay. Trained in a hospital. And, um, then I eventually got to go to university after that. That kind of, I finished the nursing, uh, degree and did a few years on the floor, um, you know, working clinically and then was ready to, to kind of take on some new things and was able to go to university. So it was, you know, the whole idea.
[00:11:23] John: Um, I just, I loved working with people. I loved that it was immediate that you knew what we was saying today. I knew when I had a good day, I knew, and I didn’t, It was pretty immediate clinically, and I loved that aspect of it. So I just loved the job. It was great. So it was a, I, I felt that I’d like it because it would be people and it would be tangible, and it turned out to be the truth of it.
[00:11:46] John: So I was lucky. Um, and it was, you know, I mean, it wasn’t an. In an Australian culture, um, in a very traditional family. It was, you know, it was something I think, um, mom and [00:12:00] dad were a bit like, what’s he doing? Um, but it, it turned out pretty good.
[00:12:04] Eric: Yeah. So I, I know that you’re probably not both regular listeners of this podcast, and that’s okay.
[00:12:11] Eric: Trust me, it’s really, Okay. So John, I, I have to come back to a couple things that you’ve said already. So you’re familiar with the term imposter phenomenon, , right? Yes. Okay. Maybe you know where I’m going here. Um, So, John, you said that you’re not very bright. Okay. And that, and, and that you’ve been lucky. I, I wanna come back to these for just a moment and we’ve had a really cordial relationship for the past day or so, and I don’t wanna ruin that , But John, could you estimate for me, just ballpark, back of the napkin the number of grant dollars that you’ve brought in to you and your lab, your institutions over the course of your career?
[00:12:56] John: Uh, I should be able to, because I do, we do [00:13:00] track it. It’s, uh, it might be, I think it’s the, I think it’s 30 min, I think it’s around 30 million. I think so. So someone
[00:13:09] Eric: not very bright can bring in $30 million in grants. Yeah. Wow. Imagine what you
[00:13:14] John: could do if you were bright. I know. I could have done much better.
[00:13:17] John: It’s true. So,
[00:13:18] Eric: so , so I under, I understand. . So one of the things that I talk to faculty and students about is that I understand the, the desire for humility. And I’m not trying to call you out. Actually, I think I am. Okay. Um, it’s, you’re incredibly bright. Um, and it’s, it took a lot of hard work to earn those grants.
[00:13:41] Eric: And those grants were competitive and an amazing amount of hard work. And there wasn’t luck. Uh, people didn’t go around giving you money. Oh, oh, there’s John Oli. Oh, let’s give him 10 mil. He’s a good, he’s a good bloke. Yeah. Let’s give him, let’s give him 10 mil. You worked really incredibly hard for those, and you’re [00:14:00] doing a lot of good for a lot of men in the world.
[00:14:04] Eric: So I, people are uncomfortable taking a bow and people are uncomfortable taking compliments and people in my life have taught me this, and so I’m sorry. To just interject this and we can edit all of this out if you’d like me to. No,
[00:14:18] John: Eric, I appreciate you saying it. Um, I think, um, one of the things I’d, I’d say is that I, I honestly believe, you know, in relation to how we learn and when we, when we get momentum, I think for me, I was late and, and so, so I was, I got better as time went on.
[00:14:42] John: Of course we all do, but I also got better at learning and I got in a bit more interested and I think, um, oftentimes, um, I always remember Malcolm Knowles’s work around education and, and he would say that readiness to learn and I think, I think, you know, [00:15:00] part of my lack of advancement was, was. I wasn’t ready, you know?
[00:15:06] John: Yeah. And so it took me, took me time. So when I reflect back on it, you know, I go, Gee, it was a slow start. But then, you know, with good mentorship, it kind of took off and, and it was, and it was great in that way. But, but yeah. I take your, I take your point. You know, it’s, um, uh, you, you should celebrate the wins and, uh, Yeah.
[00:15:27] John: And that has occurred on occasion, you know, where we, where we do that. But
[00:15:30] Eric: yeah, I appreciate you for, I’ve heard very famous psychologists say, uh, I was just lucky. And I, I’ve tried to gently correct them on the podcast saying if, if, if, if all the rest of us just wait for luck, right? That’s not a good career strategy.
[00:15:47] Eric: It, it’s the hard wor hard work and collaborating like I know you value. Yeah. Those are good strategies. I’m sorry, I’ll get off my bandwagon and my soapbox and step back down now.
[00:15:59] John: No,
[00:15:59] Matt: that’s a, [00:16:00] that’s a, that is definitely a theme for psych sessions. It
[00:16:02] Eric: is indeed. Absolutely. Sorry,
[00:16:05] Matt: I was wondering, you, you were talking about, you know, you were the, you were the first person in your family, I think.
[00:16:12] Matt: Mm-hmm. , you said to, to go to university. Mm-hmm. or have like training after. Is it high? You say high school, What would that like? Or Yeah. In Australia, what would that be
[00:16:23] John: like? Um, It’s like year 12. You’ve had, you’ve had seven years at primary school and five years at high school. School. Okay. And then, you know, your mark would determine whether, whether you could get into a university and, and what course you could do within the university.
[00:16:38] John: Okay. And
[00:16:39] Eric: so you’re, you, you had one of three buckets and you didn’t get the bucket that went to university.
[00:16:44] John: Right. I didn’t. Gotcha. But I did pass that last year just to say I snuck in by 16 points and, um, which was great. All my mates failed . We had a bit of a party and, and, and, you know, and we all went into [00:17:00] jobs.
[00:17:00] John: Okay. Yeah. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t. Something that was on our radar and we weren’t being coached into, There’s something after this, it was a job. You would, you would go to a job and, and, um, yeah. And the, and the only person that beat me in the family was my sister, cuz she was a couple years ahead of me.
[00:17:18] John: Okay. Couple years older. And she, she did go to university. Okay. But she took a year in a job as well to work out that she really wanted to go, but she had the marks Okay. To get accepted and just defer. I didn’t , I had no offers. I was, Yeah. I was undrafted, but that’s okay. You’re right. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:17:38] Matt: I heard you, you were mentioning yesterday kind of with that, that what it was like to tell your, your folks that you were gonna go.
[00:17:47] Matt: Nursing or be a nurse. Yeah. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that, what it was like to tell your parents. Australian
[00:17:52] John: culture is pretty, uh, you know, we have a relationship to, you know, how men are and, and you know, our, [00:18:00] our tropes around masculinity that we’re pretty silent. We don’t mind a drink.
[00:18:03] John: And, and, uh, and we really, you know, we take the piss. We just tease each other. That’s what we do. And, and it’s kind of, that’s our, that’s our cultural back. I’m very familiar with it. I kind of like it, but of course, if you break code with what guys typically do, which is what I did, you know, then it’s, it’s gonna attract a certain amount of what’s going on here.
[00:18:27] John: Yeah. Like what are we doing here? Um, and I, cuz a, a bank job was kind of, which I had was well, it’s a job for life. Yeah. What’s wrong with that? You know, it’ll be okay. Um, that’s what guys do. Plenty of guys in the bank and the course to transition into nursing. Just, you know, it was kind. Not really sure where this is going.
[00:18:48] John: And, and will he be okay with this? Yeah. Like, does he know what he’s getting into, like shift work? Um, it’s not what guys do. Um, you know, so it took a, you [00:19:00] know, it just took a little bit of adjustment for everyone, including me, right? Like, cuz I went in and, and you don’t know really what you’re going into.
[00:19:08] John: Um, just happened to be lucky enough to love it. Just thought it was great. Like it was a lot of fun.
[00:19:14] Matt: Yeah, I remember you talking, talking about that yesterday. It seemed like nursing was kind of like, you’re getting outta your lane
[00:19:20] John: a little bit. Well, you are. And there was a certain cla, you know, when I went in, in the eighties, there was a certain class element to it as well.
[00:19:26] John: Okay. That probably wasn’t considered, you know, in a hierarchy of healthcare provision, it probably wasn’t quite where it is now. Um, so it was kind of seen as, you know, um, probably that, that kind of menial work in the healthcare system as well. Like no autonomy, no decision making, no route for advancement.
[00:19:48] John: You know, you stayed on the floor until you couldn’t do the floor, and that was it. But, but the world changed a little bit in terms of progression. You see nurses, you know, um, as presidents of [00:20:00] universities, as heading up hospitals, CEOs, you see them everywhere with a nursing background. So it’s, you know, those, those 40 years, it’s, it’s kind of, it’s kind of shifted, I think, which is great, you know, Terrific thing.
[00:20:14] John: Yeah. Yeah. So
[00:20:17] Matt: how did you get through that? You’re kind of taking us through like your, your nursing degree and then in the university, your masters, your doctorate. Where in that journey did you get interested? I, I think I stepped, I stepped pretty far away from my mic there. Sorry. Yeah. Like doing my like psychologist, you know, in the room thing.
[00:20:36] Matt: Where in that journey did you get interested in men’s health
[00:20:40] John: work? Right, so I think part of, part of it was if you are in a female dominated area, you’re gonna start thinking about gender a little bit. And so nursing, you know, you can’t not interrogate gender if you’re in a, in a female dominated [00:21:00] or I was, I was just like, so I started thinking about gender and I had worked in the emergency room and I could see guys coming in.
[00:21:08] John: and they’d be clutching middle chest and they’d be diora and they’d be denying chest pain. And I’d be watching this and I’d be like, Oh, so you’d always triage ’em in cuz you knew what was happening. For him, it was probably a cardiac event so you could see things, but I didn’t understand, you know, around the behaviors, the denial, pain or pain as a cardinal sign that would bring you into an emergency room.
[00:21:29] John: So it sort of started to think about it. I had a, I also had a grandfather who died of prostate cancer and he’s, he had a, he was a lovely bloke, well intentioned, but had some substance use issues and probably we didn’t see the best of him and he didn’t see the best of himself and you know, so one of the things he said to my dad before he died was that you.
[00:21:51] John: He didn’t wanna be the way he was. And I, and so again, he didn’t die. He did die of prostate cancer and the metastases, [00:22:00] but I think there was a lot of things that went on for him in and around that experience. So, and I had shared a bedroom with him as an adolescent, um, you know, and he taught me how to fold my trousers.
[00:22:13] John: He did all of those things and he was, he is quite a complex character, and I was just cued to the gender dimensions that had gone on for him. And I was just intrigued, you know, about that generation and what that meant for me and my dad, trying to understand my dad and working through that. So I had a real interest in gender and then the health side of it.
[00:22:37] John: I could also see an angle that, that there were things that were relational and disparate guys. You know, if you paid attention to, you might be able to think about behaviors and then think about, you know, lofty remedies that might alter the course. So, yeah, long answer to a, to your question, but [00:23:00] yeah, just kind of got intrigued just and still am just deeply interested in discovery, trying to make sense of it.
[00:23:06] John: And I think, you know, in your own life you try to make sense of things too. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:23:12] Matt: Yeah. I mean, that makes me think of my, my own experience, like as a, you know, as, as a kid, like growing up in, you’re kind of a rural masculine, right. Culture, right? Like seeing how that works and you know, watching how guys communicate and, and being part of it, right.
[00:23:29] Matt: Kind of being immersed in it and also kind of seeing how it works, but then kind of not having a good, a good name for it, right? And so I remember, you know, the first time that I was able to kind of say, Look, this is. This is this masculine culture and this is how it works. And, and to be able to kind of label it and see it and understand it, that was really
[00:23:50] John: important for me.
[00:23:51] John: Yeah. And it took, it took me a long time to see it. Yeah. So I bought in, so I did all the sports stuff, you know, [00:24:00] and, and I did Okay. Um, with that. I did, I did the drinking culture with friends growing up. I did it, you know, I, I bought in because it was a normative frame and I do think in breaking code and going nursing, I just started to see things differently.
[00:24:19] John: So it was, my epiphany was probably a bit later. Like I, when I was in it, I couldn’t see it. It’s like culture. Sometimes you’re in it and you just don’t see it. I think I was, I think I was quite wedded to the idea of that’s how it is. Yeah. Um, but was able to pivot. With different exposures, and nursing was an exposure, like exposure to female dominated workplace, but also an exposure to vulnerabilities.
[00:24:48] John: Yeah. I would see folks coming in that were just in need, needed support. Like they weren’t, there was nothing stoic about it. A lot of times they were, they were [00:25:00] articulating concerns and worries, and you were working with that. So it just shifted. It was a bit of a reality check for me, and so it spilled into the gender side of it to think, Oh, hang on, like this is, this is a prop, or this is in part facade, or this is idealized and romanticized, but it ain’t, it ain’t it, You know?
[00:25:20] John: Yeah. Like it, there’s a, there’s a bit more to this. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like the, the,
[00:25:26] Matt: the fish in the water metaphor, it’s like for culture, right? You don’t realize you’re swimming in the water. Mm-hmm. Because you’re surrounded by the water. So it sounds like for you there was an opportunity to be in some different water Right.
[00:25:38] Matt: And kind of realize it and point it out. Yeah. And it’s very different. Yeah. Yeah. So that was your, your, where you became like interested in and began to like see this, this masculine culture and in your own life and how it was affecting these guys and the, it sounds like in the hospital. Um, [00:26:00] how did you become interested in kind of the work you do now, like around suicidality, depression, things like that?
[00:26:08] John: How’d you get started with that? Um, I guess, um, I reckon everyone gets touched by depressive symptoms and anxiety. Mm-hmm. . And so I could see it and oftentimes I could feel it, you know, so I had a sense of it. I had a few mates who suicide and that was. You know, complicated grief. And so the idea of better understanding it was just, you know, so persuasive.
[00:26:44] John: Yeah. To just to try and get into that frame and, and think about what it is and why it is and, and then what elements could we undo? What elements could we make a difference in, you know? [00:27:00] Um, just became interested in that. And of course, in the emergency room, you know, you never really, Well, I never, I was so focused on how to, how to save a life.
[00:27:13] John: That, that the, the mental health bits you might have even, you might have been cued, you might have even seen, but you probably. Do a great job of managing it. Yeah. Because the focus was on triage, mean on a physical space, and then let’s, let’s work with what’s there. Um, the mental health, we didn’t do a great job of.
[00:27:33] John: I, I think there’s improvements there, just to say, but, but yeah, I, you know, like just became, just became interested in it like, you know, personal experiences and watching folks and like I say, I, I’d give a normative frame that, that we, we all, to some degree get some depressive symptoms sometimes. Yeah. And we all experience anxiety, Right.
[00:27:54] John: And so it’s like tonic, like to understand how other folks are, go on [00:28:00] with it and what, what matters to them and how it manifests. And that can, it’s tonic for me as well to understand that. Yeah. So
[00:28:09] Matt: a significant piece of that was motivated by your own, own personal experiences with.
[00:28:15] John: Yeah. Yeah. Because we, you know, if you’re jobs, you know, um, working strange hours.
[00:28:23] John: Yeah. All those sorts of things, all the things it touches, you know, um, yeah, their personal experiences for sure. So to try and make sense of it, and to try and to try and remedy, you know, So, yeah, the self-management stuff, I firmly believe in, you know, in, in, in terms of thinking about how you can be the best you can be.
[00:28:44] John: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:28:46] Matt: So maybe take us through a little bit. What are, what are some of the things that you’ve, like, that you’ve worked on in those areas? Some of the, the work that you’ve done, some of the, some of those problems you’ve tried to understand in, in those areas around [00:29:00] men’s health, around suicide, depression.
[00:29:02] John: Yeah. In terms of the research side. Yeah. So, so we’ve done a lot of work with guys where we, we’ve been. We’ve really enjoyed this, this method called photo voice, where we’ve asked guys to take pictures of their experience of something. And so we did it with suicidality, we did it with depression. And these photographs are, are lovely because they’ll, they’ll have the photograph and then we’ll interview them around the photographs so it stops that direct q and a kind of thing where guys can get a bit weirded out because I want to give you the right answer and I dunno what that is, you know, so if they’re talking to a photograph, it kind of just spills out and the narrative builds.
[00:29:42] John: And then I’ll say something like, But can you tell me a little bit more about, you know, you said something about X, could you tell me a bit more about that? And they talk to the photograph and we’re sort of shoulder to shoulder. There’s nothing, you know, direct. And they’ll just be able to talk and work their way through it.
[00:29:59] John: And [00:30:00] I’ve learned so much. from their experiences. Yeah. And um, you know, one part that I talked to tonight, you know, just that notion of injury, interiority and isolation even. And you can see it in the photographs and how they, they map injury and sometimes they’re cumulative injuries, the things that happen along our lives or things that we think guys should get past and they just don’t.
[00:30:27] John: And that interiority of looking inside and looking for resource at a time when you’re ki kind of depleted. Uh, and that isolation that comes with the concealment of what you are experiencing cause of the stigma and, and those sorts of things. So it gets beautifully laid out and it helps tell a story that you can think about multiple intervention points where you mightn’t be able to make a difference and step into the space.
[00:30:52] John: Yeah. And or just give them room to unpack the stuff that they’re concealing, you know, um, those opportunities. So, Yeah, [00:31:00] I, I’ve probably gone off on a tangent map, but, but yeah. Learnt so much because guys are great at teaching. They’re just wonderful at teach. They’ll, they’ll under the pretense of teaching you something, they will disclose.
[00:31:16] John: They will, they will go there. And I love that. You know, so a lot of times, even in the early work, I’d go to prostate cancer support groups. Like, you know, um, back in the day they’d, they’d say, What are you doing here? You know, Cause I was too young to be there. Now they say, What’s your psa, ? But, um, you know, it’s like, but, but you know, again, they took on a teaching role and guys are great at that.
[00:31:40] John: They, you know, we don’t tap that enough. Um, cuz they’ll, I’ll share experience in the right, if you can create your right environment.
[00:31:49] Matt: And a and a, a big part of your work has been looking at those opportunities for guys to. Tell their stories, you know?
[00:31:57] John: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I, I mean, [00:32:00] I love narratives. I actually, I, I like, um, I like the idea of narrative therapy a bit.
[00:32:09] John: Um, I interviewed these guys that got dumped and, you know, partners left them mm-hmm. and, um, there was 25 of ’em. And, you know, there was the guys who were bystanders like just withdrew from the relationship and stayed in it. It was distressed and their narrative just kept going around and around. And there was another group where they were the victims, you know, of circumstance, not the victim of bad partner necessarily, but just a victim of circumstance.
[00:32:40] John: And that would go round and round. And five of them got to a point of getting out of those narratives and getting to a point where they started to go, Oh, I could have shown up better. I could have done some other stuff. I might, I might make some adjustments. I might just be, you know, sit [00:33:00] with me rather than we, and, and start to start to work some of that stuff out.
[00:33:06] John: I thought it was very, very cool. But we do get caught in our narratives, so the stories I hear are super interesting. Um, and I do, you know, I, I idealize the notion that we might be able to help change the storyline for guys to help them think about, you know, maybe progressing it to a place where it’s, you know, it’s not the Pollyanna, like I’m, you know, I’ve got closure.
[00:33:31] John: It’s more like, I got some growth here. Like I, I, I got something from this that’s not just, you know, um, caught in a narrative of victim or bystander, withdrawn, you know, I got something else. So yeah, the stories are, they’re important because they don’t always get told. Yeah. We, we try to create an environment where it happens.
[00:33:56] John: Um, and they’re to be valued, you [00:34:00] know, because they’re not, they’re not easily told. Um, and they’re not easily analyzed either. Yeah. Um, we spend a lot of time with the stories, um, and you feel like, you know, the folks and it’s kind of Yeah. It’s sweet. It’s good. Yeah.
[00:34:15] Matt: You know, I, there’s a, there’s a threat here, so I’m, I’m, I’m connecting.
[00:34:19] Matt: I’ll, I’ll talk for just a second, but I’m, I’m with you. So as you’re talking about the narratives, right? Of these guys that you’ve worked with and all the work that you’ve done, Right. And, and all the different studies you’ve done. You know, what I do with my students is we look at, you know, like a lot of quantitative work on like guys in depression, and then we look at qualitative work, a lot of your work.
[00:34:43] Matt: And then we, we talk about they both have this place of helping us understand. Uh, these guys and the struggles they’re experiencing and the pain they’re experiencing and how they, they’re kind, it’s kind of two sides of the coin, how they fit together. Right. Um, it’s not qualitative versus [00:35:00] quantitative, but they each have their place.
[00:35:02] Matt: Um, and I’m thinking of the, this is a podcast we can’t see, right. I’m thinking of this image that you showed yesterday, Right. You talk where you kind of showed this picture demonstrating this kind of tension between Yeah. Quantitative and qualitative research. And, um, you know, I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about, you know, that your experience of being a qualitative researcher and, and you know, the, the value of these narratives that you have, and maybe a little bit about, I don’t know, your experience, I think you’re kind of noting some of the, the tension between qualitative and quantitative
[00:35:37] John: research.
[00:35:37] John: Yes. Um, you know, uh, I’ve been fortunate enough to get educated in quantitative, um, but peers, , you know, like, so I have a real appreciation of how it works and how you think about it. You literally have to think differently, and I love that. I think that’s so, it’s [00:36:00] so interesting. Even the book ends on those papers.
[00:36:03] John: They are just written differently to our, you know, more, um, expressive, quite a qualitative world. But I really appreciate, that’s not easy work. I, I appreciate the craft and I agree with you, Matt. We say things, uh, that are very similar. You know, like our findings, they’re not discordant most of the time.
[00:36:25] John: They’re like, bang on. Yeah. And I’m like, Oh, I love that qu stuff. Um, it’s not my expertise. Um, you know, uh, I’ve been well educated by great people who have worked with, you know, Simon Rice is very, is a real talent. Jonah gran check’s very patient with me, helps me through things so I understand things and then I help ride around the edges for those papers.
[00:36:48] John: And it’s so, it’s so great. And then the qualitative piece, they have a deep appreciation that I’m the guy who’s bringing the qualitative stuff to it. So it’s a co-op, It works [00:37:00] really well. And so, yeah, my reaction to the, to that going out on Twitter is, you know, to say something’s fanciful is qualitative.
[00:37:08] John: It’s just, it’s just hard on people because we convince guys that it’s gonna be good to talk to us because we, we will, we will look after their narratives. We will care for their narratives. Um, you know, and do the work of that. And it just, I know it was the, the image was meant to sort of say, to research as, Oh yeah, a bit tongue in cheek, have a bit of a joke about it, and that’s okay.
[00:37:31] John: I can take a joke. I’m fine thick skin, I’ve been around long enough, but it sends a bad message to the guys , who sign up for those studies and, and someone says to them in the house, What are you doing? And the guy will go, I’m talking to someone about my depression. And they’ll be like, Why would you do that?
[00:37:49] John: Yeah. And, and so it just, you know, to cheapen it is just, I don’t think is, I don’t think is wise. And I think we survive on stories, you know, [00:38:00] Um, this is so important. All our movies, uh, you know, our. There’s stories and, and it’s not to say that, that the, the quant world doesn’t do an amazing job, It’s just to say, um, we’re both fighting the same war.
[00:38:15] John: Yeah. So, uh, you know, so it’s well intentioned. And I, and I think one of the things that happens for qualitative is we tend to say super great at describing the problems in qualitative. Like that’s what it does, but that’s 90% of the feed. Of research, we describe the problems. It’s 10% that get to interventions and qualitative work can and does get to interventions.
[00:38:42] John: And I showed it yesterdays, like those interventions were, they’re informed by men’s stories about what the problems are and what might work. So we can get to it and we can do evaluations that are qualitative as well. So we tend to tend to have this kinda ask descriptive. It’s just, that’s all it’ll ever be.[00:39:00]
[00:39:00] John: It, it can be better than that. You gotta push it, you gotta, you know, gotta stay in there for a while. But, um, you can advance a program of research on qualitative so it’s, you know, as you can with quant. But, um, yeah, I like the idea that they maybe. That they compliment each other and, you know, and I’m, and like I say, I’m not gifted with numbers, I have trouble with the, with the check account.
[00:39:23] John: You know, I can’t balance that. So when people are talking to me about regression mediator, mo you know, mediator, moderator, I’m like, Oh, okay. Yeah. And I’m sort of working through it, but I’ve had guys who have been super patient with me and, and I, I do have a good understanding and I have a deep respect for the qu Yeah, yeah.
[00:39:41] Matt: Yeah. Thank you for those, appreciate your ability to, to speak to that. Right. And how they each have their, their roles and how they work together. And I, I love the way that you talk to how important that is to respect those stories. Right, Right. Um, and what that means to those stories [00:40:00] of, of these participants that are part of that research.
[00:40:02] Matt: Yeah. So thank you for that. Uh, something that I’m, I’m struck by too, not just like you, you’ve mentioned some of these folks that you work with, your colleagues, John, and you and I have been hanging out the past couple days, days too. And, and you talk about these people that, that you work closely with, uh, um, UBC people that you work with in Australia.
[00:40:26] Matt: It, it seems like you have a lot of really close colleagues that support you or some really close colleagues that support you in this, this research. I, I was wondering maybe if you could talk a little bit about how you’ve cultivated such a, a good network of the people to work with. Like it seems like it’s, that’s really important.
[00:40:46] Matt: Yeah. That’s part of what’s helped you to be a, a, a really successful researcher and, and academic. Maybe you can talk a little bit about how you’ve done
[00:40:54] John: that. How Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, so I was [00:41:00] in an Australian system. And we were quite competitive and I was teaching intensive and I was told that I would never be anything but teaching intensive.
[00:41:08] John: And I was like, Okay, that’s okay. And then at the same time they said, Oh, we need you to do a PhD. And I’m like, Okay, all right. Um, so I wanted to go part-time. They said, No, you can’t go part-time. I said like, Alright. So it was just, there can be some really competitive pockets and I think it’s a bit like when you walk into a shop, you can usually tell the culture by the person who serves you.
[00:41:35] John: You can usually tell whether they’re happy, whether they’re into it, whether there’s a good vibe in the shop or whether it’s some duty just hates what they’re doing and can’t wait to get outta there. And the whole place is about to stink down. Right? Yeah. And I think I was in that shop for a little while, you know, um, and got a, just wasn’t where I wanted to be.
[00:41:54] John: And so one of the great things that happened with UBC is they recruited [00:42:00] me. I was a rookie, I was rough as like, I was just three chapters into a PhD. I really, I had the data, had the first three chapters sitting still, but had to write it up really? And, and they brought me in, but they didn’t just bring me in.
[00:42:16] John: They mentored me so they, they could see things I couldn’t see career wise, research program wise. And not only could they see it, they were generous enough to coach me and, you know, so I had to work hard. And they were pretty tough. They were , they were tough, but I, but they knew I would respond to that too.
[00:42:39] John: Okay. So they, they read me and so they understood that I would be okay with the hard knocks and they pushed. And so my progression was about their mentorship. Like, I had things where I hadn’t written, I’d written once to ethics. And so they, [00:43:00] They worked me with getting the ethics through quicker, you know, because they would, they would coach me.
[00:43:06] John: Um, all, all of my blind spots, like I had massive blind spots. I’d never published an article I’d published, I published a couple, but they weren’t, you know, like high end journals or anything like that. But I, I thought I could write and then they tidied me up that way as well. So it was all this, it was kind of tough love.
[00:43:24] John: Um, and I talk about Joy Johnson, who’s now president of a university, and Joan Beto, who’s now about to, she’s kind of retiring and working away, but they were just gold for me. So I would just wanted to, as you get towards the end, I’ll probably run another five or 10 years. And, and you just want the best for other people.
[00:43:45] John: You know, You want to be able to help them progress because you don’t want things to finish with you. You know, you want, you want it all to just to be a good citizen. Yeah. Um, and they really taught me that. So my. Connections [00:44:00] with Simon Rice, John Graner, Chuck, Dave Keely, Zach Sidley, You’ll see, see our names on papers together.
[00:44:09] John: We actually, we’ve got early career researchers in that. We’ve got mid-career researchers in that. John and I are the elder statesmen, uh, you know, who are with Legacy Effect, you know, you know, idealized and all that sort of stuff, and wanna leave the world with something that’s not just, you know, sitting on Google Scholar.
[00:44:29] John: We want the field to progress. And so, yeah, so we work with those guys and, and it just works. Um, everyone, the egos left at the door. We just, we just help each other. We work our way through. I learn so much from them. Um, they might learn some things from me. Um, we share our experiences of the academy. We agree on most things.
[00:44:55] John: There’s some things that we, we don’t, and we learn from that. Just, it’s [00:45:00] just a great ride because so much of it is competitive. Like, we’ll write a grant, we’ll put it in 85% of the time we don’t get up. You know, it’s 15% of the time we go Harrah. Mm-hmm. and the rest is, and it’s com You’re competing against everybody else, you know, So you tend to just drive and drive really hard and, you know, so the academy can be really tough that way.
[00:45:24] John: So this is it, The collaboration. I’m just, I’m wedded to the idea that we can do it, it that it works and that it’s important. Um, and it’s a way, it’s a way better way to be. And I kind of like people, like I, I do, I do enjoy people helps. Right? Helps. So I’m like, ah, when good. When you’re around, good people.
[00:45:46] John: Yeah, life’s a hell of a lot easier, like in terms of just shooting the breeze and think, you don’t feel like you’re the only one going through it. So it’s, it’s been great that way too. So the mentorship, you know, [00:46:00] is just so, so important. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:46:03] Matt: So it seems like that you, you learned this when you had mentors, right?
[00:46:08] Matt: That saw you and kind of supported you. They, they pushed you, you said tough love, right? They pushed you some, but that was really important in progressing your career. And then you’ve incorporated that into some of these other folks that you brought into this team at different stages, that mentoring is important.
[00:46:27] John: Exactly. Get a sense of them. Cause they could have, they could have brought me eight and a half thousand miles. They could have sat me there and said, You’re lucky to be here. And they could have watched me write. You know, for 20 years and not get any funding. Yeah. You know, but no, they, they were like, they tidied up things and, and not in track changes where you go accept changes.
[00:46:49] John: Yeah. They tidied them up in Inc. Where you kinda like looking at it going, Oh, I gotta make sense of this. They were rewrites. Yeah. Like they was solid rewrites, like all of it. Manuscripts, [00:47:00] um, grants. Um, but, but then I’m helping people do exactly that now because of that experience and also that process.
[00:47:10] John: You start to know where people are at. So you, I know I can kind of gauge where someone’s blind spots are now, and I can read their work and I can really, I can help. I, like, I genuinely can help. Um, and I often say like, Joan Beto, in the early days, she used to write my endings. I, cause I get tired, I’d write the, I’d write the papers.
[00:47:32] John: And I get to the discussion and conclusion. I go hands up in the air. I’m out. You know, I’m tapping out here. I just, I can’t quite bridge it in a way that they’re gonna believe me and I can’t, I can’t quite not repeat myself from the findings. I had enormous trouble with that. And, um, Joan would like, she would write the ends and, uh, you know, and I’d have to chime in and, and work it and all the rest of it.
[00:47:56] John: But I learned how to write the ends and I finish papers for people now. [00:48:00] So again, it’s just those things along the way, I just, they’re like craft. But I love it. I love the idea that you can model it, that you can mentor, that you might make a bit of a difference. And, and sometimes people, I can, I can be a bit hard on people, um, you know, uh, and the lesson that I’m trying to teach them, they might not recognize for a decade, but that’s okay too.
[00:48:25] John: You know? It’s all right. Yeah. No. At least for me, .
[00:48:30] Matt: Yeah. I could use somebody like that to help me with, I still struggle with my endings. Oh, they’re hard. That part, like, that’s the sometimes the
[00:48:38] John: hardest part of the paper. Yeah. I still, I still find it a challenge because I’m either two 35,000 foot and I’ve just blow on the, you know, I’ve said too much about the, the findings or, or, you know, I’m off on a tangent or else I’m just Yeah.
[00:48:53] John: I’ve just repeated myself. Yeah. So it’s such a tough spot, but I, but I, yeah, it’s a, it’s a, [00:49:00] it’s the bit for me that I have to spend the most time on. Yeah. Chris Bend. Yeah. What, what
[00:49:05] Matt: does the mentorship look like for you on the, the teaching side, John, and your work with students? Like what is, what kind of classes or do you teach classes, graduate students, um, do you carry a load of students that you supervise dissertations?
[00:49:23] Matt: Maybe you can talk a little bit about that as well. Yep,
[00:49:25] John: sure. So we, I teach one course a year and I teach it, and it’s health promotion and they’re graduates. And, um, I take drafts of assignments because I believe that we should be able to help people learn to write, you know, so it’s not really fair if they send me their final assignment and I mark and I go, you know, this is, this is not holding up.
[00:49:48] John: I want to help them in the craft of writing as well as the content. So I, I kind of like, enjoy that, you know, it’s kind of fun. And when, when I mark it, it’s not the first time I read it. Yeah, yeah. But the small [00:50:00] classes, um, and then with graduates, we have masters, PhDs, and posts. Um, the masters do a great job.
[00:50:09] John: A lot of them will do scoping reviews, so I help them scoping reviews are nice and manageable or they might go a thesis option where they do some primary research or I’ve got some data that they can do a secondary analysis of. So it works quite nice. Um, and then PhDs, people, gen. Tend to come to me with their own ideas.
[00:50:27] John: Hopefully they’re in the men’s health space, which helps because then I can help them. But sometimes they might come to me and it might be, Oh, I want to do photo voice. So we’ll have John as you know, Okay. As a co supervisor because he’s got some, some background in that. So, um, but for the most part, you know that it is men’s health and often these really great ideas that I never would’ve thought of.
[00:50:49] John: And they, they want to do them. So you just help them along the way with the craft of it. Support them with money wherever we can, because clinicians, when they drop outta clinical [00:51:00] work, they lose money. Would, you know, want to try and help them a little bit. You know, to offset the amount of time they need to spend on this stuff.
[00:51:08] John: Cuz it does take time and we work reasonably close. I’m not, I’m not a big meetings person. It tends to be, you know, um, they’ll send me written product, they’ll let me know when it is. I’ll protect the time and get a, get a quick turnaround so they can get back onto it and, and those sorts of things. So, And try to, the ones that know where they’re going, if they’re going to a tenure track position, we try to, I certainly try to, you know, orientate them to some of the demands of the job that they might.
[00:51:37] John: Necessarily No. That might help them think about how they’re gonna make the case for a job. Okay. Um, and some who aren’t headed in that direction, then you, you start to ask about what it is they’re hoping to get and how I might be able to help in different directions, you know? So some people want to be more an administrator, like do a [00:52:00] Master’s or PhD, but, and then administer grants after, but not be, um, a person who’s on the hook for writing grants and a tenure track position.
[00:52:09] John: And it’s great when they tell you, because then you can adjust your mentorship, you know, for exactly that.
[00:52:17] Matt: Absolutely. And are, are these students all nursing students or are they from different areas?
[00:52:22] John: Masters are typically nurses. Okay. Um, we have nurse practitioner program that’s a masters and. They tend to be really, really solid in their writing.
[00:52:32] John: Um, and then PhDs and post docs from all over. Yeah. So I kind of straddle psychology, sociology, um, Yeah, health sciences, so I get them from everywhere. Population, public health medicine, I all over like it’s so, so it’s great because you learn a lot from the different disciplines and so they’ll come to you and you know, kind of want to, um, spend some time with you, [00:53:00] do the PhD with you, some postal work where we really focus on publications and grants and getting that sort of aspect Right.
[00:53:08] John: But yeah, they’re from all over. Yeah. Yeah. Which is good.
[00:53:12] Matt: Yeah, that sounds interesting to have students from all different backgrounds and areas, but maybe it presents maybe some challenges too when there’s not necessarily the. Disciplinary consistency where you’re in nursing or psychology and your students are all from nursing or psychology.
[00:53:30] Matt: But yeah, also you have different
[00:53:32] John: perspectives too. Definitely. Definitely. And we have outta town as we have a lot of internationals who hit me up and want to do something about masculinities and something, or rather. Yeah. And um, you know, we sort of, we get a bit of a sense of them, get a sense of how they write.
[00:53:47] John: Okay. Their thinking. And then we, we can bring them in, um, if we think, you know, we can help them apply at least. Yeah. Um, and they usually come in through population public health. Interdisciplinary is an interesting [00:54:00] one at UBC because you can, you might come from a psychology background or a kinesiology background, but do something that’s disciplinary.
[00:54:10] John: That is broad and open. And then I can supervise you, even though I’m from nursing, we might name nursing as your home department. Mm-hmm. , but it won’t be a PhD in nursing. Okay. Um, which will keep your job prospects open. Okay. If you are looking for tenure tracks. So we, we do all that kind of staff and we, we sort of work with folks.
[00:54:30] John: Um, so yeah, we’ve had some internationals as well that have done really well. Just, you know, a different context and you learn a lot from them because their cultures and the way they think about gender and things are different. Yeah. Um, which just helps us, you know, just gives us out of our own, our own backyard, you know, Which is great.
[00:54:50] John: Yeah.
[00:54:53] Matt: It’s been great. I don’t have other, like, questions I want to jump in with right now. So you have what questions? [00:55:00]
[00:55:01] Eric: This interview got dramatically better when I shut up . So I just wanna, I just wanted to mention that it really did, it got way better when I just piped it, piped down and started listening.
[00:55:14] Eric: Uh, that’s, that’s number one. John, it’s really clear from just sitting back and listening that you’re so genuine about it strikes me, and please do correct me, you, you take experiences from your life and things you’ve thought about and they have sparked your interests in your lab, in your interventions.
[00:55:42] Eric: So the, the thoughts about masculinity that you got from your uncle and from your first profession. Those help shape your thoughts about men and masculinities? Is that in that you [00:56:00] now for a living implement interventions around the world? Is that, am I anywhere near the ballpark of truth or
[00:56:09] John: correctness?
[00:56:10] John: Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and what a privilege, right? Because, you know, it’s, um, you know, being paid to think is is pretty Yes. Is pretty privileged. That’s right. And it is, you know, people say, you know, What’d you do today? And I’ll go off, thought about some stuff. Got a little bit of ink on the page and thought about, you know, remedy.
[00:56:28] John: So yeah, it’s, um, it’s been, it’s been incredible. It’s an incredible privilege and, and honor to be able to just think through the stuff. But I would say with the, with the masculinity stuff, um, one of the epiphanies outside of like personal experience, one of the epiphanies was, was Connell’s work. Rav and Connell’s work in masculinities, the plurality of it, um, in which she talked to these ideals and whether we’re subordinate, marginalized, complicit, or we’re protesting those [00:57:00] ideals.
[00:57:00] John: And I read the book and I’m not a big reader, I’m a big writer, not a great reader. And, um, anyhow, I read that book in a day and I was like, Oh my God, I the world just see the world a bit differently cuz it’s a frame that just helps you see things, you know. And make sense of them never left me. And so just opened it up.
[00:57:24] John: But I, but yeah, so, so I do work with that frame and I do think about things, you know, in that frame, which just helps. Um, it’s not like you pour your life into the framework, you know, a lot poor data into the framework. It’s, it’s like, it just helps you contextualize it. So I’ve loved that, you know, I love that opportunity.
[00:57:45] John: But yeah, it’s, it’s pretty, um, it’s pretty lucky or not lucky or just, you know, hard work. No, no. But, but, but in terms of enjoying. That space, Like the days go really quick.
[00:57:58] Eric: But your program of research is [00:58:00] meaningful to you. It, it, it it’s personally and professionally, meaning, Yeah. It’s not like you looked at the roster of possible things you could do research on in your life and you spun the wheel and, uh, Oh, I’m gonna study frogs.
[00:58:20] Eric: Yeah. And frog reproduction. Nope. I mean, what you do means something to you. I, I can hear it in your voice. I can watch it. When you’re giving a presentation yesterday, and this is a weird time thing when people listen to this and the presentation you made tonight. Yeah. Right, Right. I mean, you, you can just tell that this, this is something that you’re genuine and passionate about and it means something to you as opposed to other people who.
[00:58:49] Eric: Or publish something in a developmental psychology journal because that’s their j o b, Right?
[00:58:55] John: Yeah. Yeah. And again, you know, I encourage, um, [00:59:00] students, uh, in early career folks to, to find their passion. Cause I, um, it makes, it just makes it easier. Like, there’s some days I go in and I’ll be like, it’ll be like eight o’clock and I’ll put my head up and it’s eight o’clock again.
[00:59:16] John: And it’s not a bad day. It’s not like a grind. It’s like I’m enjoying it. And, and I just think, you know, it’s that old thing if you, if you find something you really enjoy than it’s so much easier to do. Um, and yeah, it’s great to be authentically in the space, um, because I see people who do battle and I’ve also seen.
[00:59:38] John: Some careers where people chase the money. Like, so we’re, we are funding this this year and we’re funding this this year, and, and they chase. Yeah. And they Conor themselves. And one of the wisest pieces of advice I got early on was like, stick with your passion. It’ll come around. They might not be funding it this year, but it’s okay.
[00:59:58] John: You just keep working. [01:00:00] Like they told me to keep circling your wagons. And, um, and I kind of like, it, it, it’s such sage advice because I would not want to, I would not want to contort and I don’t think I’d, the imposter piece, I think that’s when I’d feel like the true imposter is like I, yeah, I’m doing this up for money, so as I can continue research.
[01:00:21] John: Yeah. It’s not in my real passion area, but I’m gonna do it because it’ll sati. You know, my evaluation of my performance this year. So we’ve always stuck with that. It’s, and it’s, you know, it’s done us well because it’s great to be doing something in enjoy. Right. There’s not much else
[01:00:39] Eric: is there. The other, the other piece that struck me, you were telling the story about, um, you started your PhD in Australia and um, you got, um, cherry picked, I don’t know what verb you would use, but you got plucked, um, by ubc.
[01:00:58] Eric: Somebody recognized your talent [01:01:00] right. At ubc even though you were three chapters into your dissertation. Yeah. So somewhat someone recognized talent and took a risk on a doctoral student. Yes. And I’m assuming, funded you to move from Australia to Canada.
[01:01:20] John: Yeah. Yeah, it was a, it was a split vote. It was a 9 1 1 vote.
[01:01:26] John: So it was was, I’m sorry, what does that mean? 9, 9, 4 1 against and one abstention in, in family. Should we hire John Olive,
[01:01:34] Eric: Uh, mean hire as a dissertation student
[01:01:37] John: hire into it? So they brought me into an instructor role. Oh, okay. Three chapters in. And so, yeah, I did have a faculty position, so I was a split vote.
[01:01:45] John: Wow. And, um, that’s not very
[01:01:47] Eric: split. I mean, split would’ve been 5, 4, 1. I mean, we all do respect, sir. See,
[01:01:56] John: I’m quantitative. Right. I’m battling with these numbers, [01:02:00] but do
[01:02:00] Eric: you want me to describe the qualitative split ? Do you want me to get a pen and paper? Read this
[01:02:05] John: up. But like, so, so, yeah. So it was interesting in, in that, in that respect.
[01:02:11] John: Um, but again, they, yeah, I went, I did the two day, you know, interview. I flew myself over. Um, for it. I, I said, Look, would you interview me? You know, ? And they said yes. So I, I bankrolled it went in and I, um, did present cuz I had data and it was kind of new. It had the photos, which was, you know, back then in the early twos was kind of like, this is a bit different.
[01:02:43] John: And you could, I could feel it in the room that there were people that were like, this is, this is a bit new, this is good. I could, I could work with him. And yeah, there were some people that that could see it before I could see, and those folks were the mentors that when I got [01:03:00] there, did that work. But, but, so yeah, I got drafted for sure.
[01:03:03] John: But it was, it was, they could, they were generous and they had vision cuz I, you know, I follow the NFL a lot and I think the way we draft people in the nfl, it’s certain criteria, right? Mm-hmm. . We missed the Tom Brady’s, like the, the UN drafts right. Seventh drum. Right. You know, so Mr. Irrelevant isn’t always Mr.
[01:03:27] John: Irrelevant, so sometimes you can see a rough edge that would be all right. That you could work with. That would be malleable. And I, I would think that’s probably what happened.
[01:03:40] Eric: Yeah. I, I really appreciated, You know, you, I think you’re in the part of your career, I think you’ve mentioned this with the people that you work with, that you recognize talent that you, and you can, you can help a person get better in their strengths, Right.
[01:03:53] Eric: When you were talking about you can help someone get better at something and they may not appreciate it for 10 [01:04:00] years. I, the thought, the thought I had was Simon Cowell, if you watch any Yeah. I mean, he gives actually very honest feedback of which some people don’t appreciate, Right. But it’s normally motivated to help someone become a better singer, better performer.
[01:04:16] Eric: It’s not normally mean spirited, at least if you watch, I don’t watch a lot, but I watch clips on YouTube from time to time. Yeah. And so, I mean, most educators are giving constructive feedback for people to get better at what they’re doing, even if the person takes it in a negative manner. So, um, all of that is a long winded way of saying I I think that’s over time, that’s the skill.
[01:04:41] Eric: One of the skills you’ve obtained. Obtained, which is the ability to recognize talent and help people get better in places where they can get
[01:04:50] John: better. Yeah, and I, and I think it’s on all of us, and I think you can do it from anywhere. It doesn’t have to be end career stuff. You can see rookies and, [01:05:00] and people who come into the field and graduates and, and, and you can see ways in which you can help them.
[01:05:07] John: And yeah, I, I enjoy that part of it. Um, just because it’s, it’s just being a good citizen. But also, um, the ones where I, they probably don’t recognize the lesson until 10 years later, oftentimes will be, um, they’re not doing the work and you can’t, And mentorship is one of the things I’ve learned about mentorship is you can’t make the difference.
[01:05:31] John: You can provide the opportunity and the, and the coaching, but you, there’s very little point in writing them from second. And that’s where I run into a, a little bit of, you know, uh, it’s not much point me writing it for you. It’s gonna be better if, if you do the hard, the hard yards of it. So, you know, again, just trying to the Simon Cow piece absolutely.
[01:05:52] John: You know, um, honest feedback, not to be disparaging and not to hurt, but just honest feedback just to [01:06:00] where you’re at, where you want to be, how I can help. But, but it’s on ultimately gonna be on you and effort and stuff. And one of my favorite Simon Cow quotes is, um, Never stay too long at the fair. . I really like, I really like that.
[01:06:15] John: I still think about that a lot. Yeah. John,
[01:06:19] Eric: thinking back about your career, and I’m glad to hear that you have five to 10 years left. That’s a longer time frame than I have left , but is this and about me? It’s about you. What it again, I’m, I’m glad to hear that you have five to 10 years left. . I said it again Matt.
[01:06:34] Eric: Um, if, what advice would you give if you had to do it all over again? Is there any, any advice you would offer? Um, any words of wisdom? Um,
[01:06:45] John: oh, um, you know, I think, um, gee, that’s, that’s interesting. I dunno that I’ve thoughtfully about that. Um, you know, Yeah. Just for the [01:07:00] things that I probably didn’t do well, you know, I, I, I’d just say it’s, it’s really important to keep balance.
[01:07:09] John: you know, there’s some things that I probably should have paid attention to along the way that, that, you know, that, that maybe, you know, it was a bit too work focused at times. And so I just, you know, just a shout out that I, I know people, you know, are queued to that idea of work balance. Um, but just to say, you know, for the, the end for me would be a little bit of retrospection would be, you know, probably could have selt the roses a bit more along the way.
[01:07:36] John: So I’d just, I’d just say celebrate the milestones. Um, always look for the opportunity to have a break cuz you’ll come back a bit cleaner. I often times went the second shift and the third shift because it was the grind and I was, I, I felt like it was gonna make the difference and maybe it did, but, you know, there’s other things you give up along the way.
[01:07:55] John: So j just a, just a shout out about balance. That would be the, the [01:08:00] retrospective. But, um, but yeah, just. You know, the advice of the elder statesmen stepping out, you know, in the next five to 10 years would just be, do what you enjoy. You know, like, make it your passion, cuz it’s, it’s such a, such a privileged position to be able to think for a living.
[01:08:18] John: I mean, that’s, that’s pretty, that’s way loftier than I ever thought was gonna get.
[01:08:22] Eric: Yeah, Absolutely. Matt, anything, anything else you wanna add or
[01:08:26] John: ask? No, I don’t have
[01:08:28] Matt: anything else to add or ask.
[01:08:29] John: This has been
[01:08:30] Eric: delightful. Yeah. You know, the, the one thing I regret here is I wish I would’ve pressed record. I really do.
[01:08:37] Eric: this has been a great warmup and, uh, I, this is the first tape I, I’m now ready to press record. This has been an excellent rehearsal. . I’m sorry, John. Matt, thanks for, thanks for your time today. I’m glad you laughed and didn’t cry at that . It’s been awesome. Thanks for being a guest on Psych [01:09:00] Sessions. Yeah, thanks sir.
[01:09:00] John: Thanks.
[01:09:01] Matt: Thanks for that.
[01:09:02] John: That’s.