Millennials Don’t Have a Monopoly on Burnout

According to research psychologists, burnout has three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization (or cynicism), and the feeling of personal inefficacy. To measure it, they administer a questionnaire called the Maslach Burnout Inventory, named for Christina Maslach, a leading burnout researcher for four decades.

Maslach and her coauthor, Michael Leiter, identify six main causes of burnout that arise within organizations: too much work, lack of control, too little reward, unfairness, conflicting values, and the breakdown of community. If you experience these in your job for long enough, you’re likely to go home every day feeling empty, bitter, and useless.

The New Republic.

The Death of the Sick Day

“We call them personal emergency days,” Mr. Marsen said.

Broadening the definition gives employees greater privacy, Mr. Marsen said. It also takes into consideration mental health and whether a child or another family member who depends on the employee is sick and requires care.

No longer does the employee have to “sell” their sickness to their boss with a list of symptoms.

The New York Times.

Interesting Links

Below I share interesting links to stories that I find interesting. Topics cover technology, politics, society, culture, economics, and others. I may not always endorse opinions expressed in them.

How Fair Is American Society?

“For every $100 earned by an average white family, how much do you think was earned by an average black family in 2013?” The average respondent guessed $85.59, meaning they thought black families make $14.41 less than average white families. The real answer, based on the Current Population Survey, was $57.30, a gap of $42.70. Study participants were off by almost 30 points.

The gap between estimate and reality was largest for a question about household wealth. Participants guessed that the difference between white and black households would be about $100 to $85, when in reality it’s $100 to $5. In other words, study participants were off by almost 80 points.

Yale Insights.

What happened to U.S. economy since end of WWII?

That’s a lot to unpack in 5,000 words, but the short story of what happened over the last 73 years is simple: Things were very uncertain, then they were very good, then pretty bad, then really good, then really bad, and now here we are. And there is, I think, a narrative that links all those events together. Not a detailed account. But a story of how the details fit together.

How this all happened.

Exploring the Oregon Coast

Barring the Outer Banks, I’ve explored the eastern seaboard from Acadia National Park to Key West so now we’ve turned our attention westward. We’ve done the drive from San Francisco to Big Sur, hiked Yosemite Valley and Death Valley so, over the summer, we ventured north and visited the Oregon Coast. Here are some recommendations (I borrowed Sameer Vasta’s travelogue format).

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Switching to Solar Energy

Should you install solar panels if you’re living in Texas? The short answer​ is – it depends. For us, after doing our due diligence, we decided to go for it and​ at the end of the hottest month of the year (June-July 2018), we generated the following output:

Solar Production in June-July 2018

Continue reading if you too are interested in going solar and saving not only on your electric bill but also earning karma points from the environment.

Continue reading “Switching to Solar Energy”

Measuring College-Going Outcomes

The grant that I work on currently, GEAR UP, uses college enrollment as its primary outcome. Or rather it used to. In recent grant cycles, the shift in absolute priorities has​ indicated that primary outcomes have been moving toward persistence i.e. staying in college for eventual graduation. In measuring college-going outcomes, it can vary with increasing expectations:

  1. Enrolling in any postsecondary institution
  2. Enrolling in a 2-year college
  3. Enrolling in a 4-year college
  4. Enrolling in college without need for remediation
  5. Persisting in college for the second year on track to graduation
  6. Graduating from college in six years

GEAR UP, due to its nature of the grant cycle, can only measure the first five outcomes and predict with varying accuracy the sixth one. But it is increasingly obvious that the first two outcomes are met easily or even the third outcome but the other two are exponentially difficult.

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Visiting Death Valley National Park

We’re on a personal mission of visiting as many national parks as possible and thankfully, we are spoiled for choice in terms of what this country has to offer. We’ve now covered Acadia, Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. Since I had a work conference in Las Vegas in February, we decided to drive down to Death Valley National Park post-conference. It was the best time we could’ve visited it considering that the summer temperatures, true to its name, climb to nearly 120ºF.

IMG_1199

When they say, Death Valley is unlike any other place you’ve seen, you better believe them. It’s almost indescribable in words although that’s what I’m attempting to do. The drive to Death Valley is pleasant and if you start early from Vegas, you leave civilization behind quickly before entering the arid and desolate yet captivating countryside that is referred to as the American West. You stop for gas and sandwiches at the onomatopoeically-named Pahrump, a small junction town before you begin your final drive to Death Valley. It, where I realized later, also has a GEAR UP program. Ten miles from Pahrump, you take a left at the Amarposa Opera House. I bet you didn’t expect Siri to say that while driving in a desert. Unlike the Smokies or Yosemite where you drive through heavy traffic (and wildfire), it’s almost serene here. The size of the park is inversely proportional to the visitors it attracts. In spite of the lore, not many venture here and even fewer are aware of its proximity to one of America’s oft-visited cities.

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The Intangible Aspects of Our Job

I work in the field of college readiness. Currently, I’m the Project Director of a large GEAR UP grant under the auspices of The University of Texas at Austin. Last week, we conducted our first training for the school-based site Coordinators. The training was mostly intended to familiarize everyone with the goals and objectives of the project and equip them with tools and resources they would need to do a better job. In developing these tools and resources, we borrowed heavily from other grants since GEAR UP has been around for nearly 20 years and people have gotten better at implementing the grant.

However, I also wanted to include certain intangible aspects in doing our job that I often feel are neglected in the GEAR UP community. I included the following five concepts that I consider paramount and underline the very essence of GEAR UP.

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