Efficacy Reigns Supreme - The Jose Vilson

Efficacy Reigns Supreme

November 9, 2008

Barack Obama, Workin' on the Road

Barack Obama, Workin

A few links on this beautiful Sunday:

  • Problem Chylde parodies “Jack the Knife” after I tweeted: “@blogdiva Mr. [Rahm] Emanuel is really dedicated to his faith. But he def. believes in separation of church and state. And by state, we mean knife.”
  • Bam’s got a little venom for the Barack-haters.
  • JD does a good job of succinctly saying what many of us educator / skeptics felt about Barack.
  • NYC Educator debunks you center-right propagators. Good read.
  • Daily Intelligencer discusses the lesser-known stories of the election, including Palin coming out in a towel for official business. Whoops.
  • Deadspin premieres Smooth LeBron kickin’ it (in more ways than one) to Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls fame.
  • I really can’t believe Barack took Michelle to go see Do The Right Thing on their first date. (Props to the Telegraph, UK)

Efficacy: (n) the power or capacity to produce a desired effect.

A theme we can’t seem to escape as the buzz of the election has somewhat died down is the idea of efficacy, and how we need to focus on results and “GTD” rather on the emotional aspect of things. Facebook may anger people with its constant redesigns and weird downtimes, but does it keep people connected? Yep. Even in this past presidential election, we notice that Barack Obama had these soaring speeches that helped galvanize his believers into buying into his system, but he really started to show gains in the polls when he toned it down in favor of boring policy. That’s when conservatives also started believing in the president-elect. That’s the difference between a blue-state plan and a 50-state plan. Come to think of it, his appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff is perfect because, although he’s feared, he also gets the presidents’ work done.

So now, when I think about the jobs we have, and how cluttered they can be, encumbered by dumb stuff like favoritism and bureaucracy, isn’t this the perfect time to getting real results? And I don’t mean taking some numbers, putting them in an Excel spreadsheet, and changing the scales until it actually makes it say what you want, but real and authentic results. That’s the movement, and that’s what I’m trying to learn.

Question: in your place of employ right now, what would make you more effective in any of the roles you take on? Whether you’re a teacher teaching children or a human resource person trying to make the job easier, I’d like to know.

Just as an example of things that might make it simpler to work:

  • Better professional development
  • Supportive environment
  • Better time management
  • More efficient ways of data management

How about you? What would help you get better results at your job?

jose, who loves inspiring others to set up their own blogs …

This post was written by...

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

For more about me, read here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Massey November 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Thanks for posting the article, was certainly a great read!

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Bam November 9, 2008 at 6:45 pm

I probably could really respond to your question if
1. I actually thought of my job as a career.
2. I actually wasn’t getting emails about every other day about how many jobs they are planning on eliminating
3. I actually planned on staying at my place of employ beyond the next year.

So. with that.. I have no answer to your question. BUT – in terms of things that would make it simpler for me to focus on my personal endeavors.

A great reduction in the negativity and “I can’t because I am black” attitude.

B.

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Jose November 9, 2008 at 6:53 pm

I empathize with all of that to be honest with you. It’s insane. The job market’s getting crazier and a lot of things are so unstable, it’s making things within the workspace tense at the least.

Thus, the negativity certainly applies. We need less of that. Anything else, people?

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Sugarlips November 9, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Oh yes, there’s a long list of things, actually, but I won’t bore you with all of it. The biggest things that I could use to be more effective at my job would be:
1) More support staff. The company made a bad move in laying off more people than they should have, and now the people left behind are being taxed to a level that’s beyond unacceptable. People are having panic attacks, screaming matches with management & peers, threatening to quit and simply walk out in the middle of huge projects – not good. It’s not good when people are working 18 hour days and told “just hang in there, it’ll get better”, when reality shows no relief in sight, and a promise of no raises or bonuses despite all their hard work due to the economy.
2) Technology. Working for a Fortune-100 company you’d think they’d offer the most current tools available, yet our technology is outdated, and they won’t even offer cell phones to employees who travel for work – because we’re not high-level enough. Makes it very difficult when we have to tell our clients we can’t do something, or they can’t reach us when they need to due to our lack of resources.
3) A new career. This sounds like a joke, but during these stressful times I’ve come to realize that I’m not enjoying my current career path, and am not getting anything out of it but a paycheck. Colleagues all say, “times are tough, but we plow through them because in the end we love what we do”, and over the past few months, I haven’t been able to agree with them. So of course when you’re forcing yourself to do something, it’s a painful chore and even exhausts you mentally and physically. I need to find something I’m passionate about, so I can channel my energies into that.

Nice post btw. I’m off to finish my work so I can travel to Atlanta tomorrow…

Sugarlipss last blog post..sugarlips: @moearora congrats!

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Jose November 9, 2008 at 9:03 pm

See? That’s serious, and that’s the type of stuff that we can CREATE jobs off of, but instead people are losing jobs off of it. Especially when we look at technology, I can only imagine how many people could use their resources to make things much better at your job. Yet, you’re right: since there doesn’t seem to be an escape route, the stress at your current job must be that much harder. Woo!

And the fact that you could have kept going speaks volumes about the current state of things …

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pissedoffteacher November 9, 2008 at 9:20 pm

I added you to new blog weeks ago. I must have typed yoru e-mail incorrectly. Send it to me again and I will give it a second try.

Sorry. With you, I know where I stand.

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Tracy Rosen November 10, 2008 at 6:26 am

Material.

I teach 5 different courses. It’s 2 of them that challenge me the most since they are part of the ‘new’ program in Quebec. They are the most challenging because they are structured completely differently than traditional courses, yet the government has not provided us with course materials. They are not translated from the French yet, so the French schools have them, but we don’t. This one links up to the ‘not enough hours in the day’ statement I make further down because I need to make everything I teach.

In materials I include technology. I have 1 computer that works in my classroom. It runs Windows 2000. Part of the Quebec Education Program has to do with developing skills around technology. Also, I am drowning in paper. Just drowning. I would love to make as many of my assignments as possible paperless. Unfortunately, according to our school’s ‘electronic communication device’ policy, students are not allowed to bring in laptops from home to work on. So, we need to rely on our 1 rickety desktop when each of the kids could potentially have a computer to work on.

Hmmm. That last one is a subset of support as well – policy that makes sense, that is human.
So, I guess the bigger picture around Materials is support.

More hours in the day. We can’t do anything about that, but it would be nice :) Time management skills – I need to develop them in myself.

Tracy Rosens last blog post..How is this normal?

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