Monday, December 7, 2015


Looking back at this course, I really enjoyed it.  The parts I enjoyed the most were being able to post weekly on blogs because you usually do not see this in a Economics courses.  I also really liked the excel spreadsheets because every time I went into doing one, I started off a little confused but by the end of the night I would figure them out by re-reading chapters in the book or reading what was written on the excel spreadsheet.

I learned a lot when it came to the type of graphs that were used in the excel spreadsheets, especially on the last couple excel spreadsheets (Principal-Agent Model from a State-Preference was one of them that really stumped me but eventually I figured out).

What I took away from the class being structured in a way of having blog posts due first and then talking about them the next Monday was that it gave us an idea of what was going to be talked about in class so that we could formulate our ideas before coming to class.  I like this way of learning a lot better than simply just reading a chapter in a book because it got us to apply our knowledge to the certain topic and then regurgitate it in class the following Monday.  This bridged the gap between just reading and then listening to an hour and half lecture.

When it came to approaching the blog posts, I usually sat down at my computer a day before or on the night that it was due and first gathered my ideas.  I would usually take the questions that were asked and copy and paste them into a OneNote and then answer all the questions with short sentences or bullet points.  After I had everything that I wanted to talk about, I would then go to blogger and start typing.  By this point the words would simply flow out of my fingertips because all my ideas were right there and ready.

For the excel homework's, I made the mistake of starting the very first excel homework the night it was due and barely got it in on time.  I did not realize how in depth/the amount of thinking the excel homework's took.  Now I always start the homework's the night before it is due so I am not crunched for time because when I am rushed, my brain likes to shut off which prolongs the process even further.

Aspects of the course that I would have liked to see in this class would be more visual notes during lecture.  I usually find myself to nod off when the professor is simply talking the entire time and there is nothing on a big bright screen to keep my focus on.  Other than that, I really liked the structure of this class and would consider taking another Econ 490 class next semester.

Thank you for a wonderful semester!

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Where my reputation has really come through and that I've noticeably worked on and retained would have to be at the restaurant I work at in downtown Champaign.  Me and my boyfriend actually work there and we have been known as the couple that gets things done and works really well together. We will always stay really late to make sure that the restaurant is in perfect condition and that our boss is happy.

My reputation was not always like that though.  It started off as me being the hardest working server on my own before I got my boyfriend a job there.  Some might say that he is "stealing my thunder" or whatever but I do not see it that way at all.  We are a team and we piggy back off each other when it comes to working.  He is more of the meticulous type, meaning he always needs everything to be perfect and takes his time.  I am the type that likes things done quickly and efficiently.  So as you might have guessed, this combination works perfectly.

When it comes to my reputation at work, at this point I like where it is and would like to keep it that way.  I have worked very hard to get where I am at that restaurant to create great personal relationships with all of my co-workers and my boss.  Which is good because a lot of people are let go due to the owner simply not liking them.  Politics of the restaurant play a huge role in keeping this job or being promoted.

I do not think there has ever been an instance where I strayed away from my reputation.  I am pretty much always aware of what I am doing and what image I am giving off because as a server, we are contently being judged by customers, the owner and managers of the restaurant, and other servers and chefs.  I have seen instances where other servers have abandoned their reputation or went in the wrong way with their reputation.  For instance, one of the servers has a very inappropriate relationship with the owner, so you can say she has a bad reputation amongst the rest of the restaurant.

All in all, I can say that I like where I fit at my job and wouldn't want to change anything.

Happy Thanksgiving!!  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Triangle Relationship

I know I keep going back to my work, being a waiter at a restaurant, but it is always the first thing that comes to mind.  There are many situations where I work that have a triangle-type dynamic.  The first example that comes to mind is my manager and how she has the dynamic between overseeing the kitchen and the servers in the front of the house. 

There are many times when the two principles (being the servers and the kitchen staff) do not see eye to eye and it is the agent's responsibility to resolve this issue.  For example, when the kitchen sends out a order that isn't necessarily correct, the servers usually get upset because they are the ones that have to deal with annoyed customers, usually resulting in a lower tip.  The manager's job is to check on both the kitchen and servers to see what was wrong and then go and talk to the table that had the wrong order sent out.  This usually resolves the issue because the customer then sees that it was just a minor mistake because it is from someone other than their server. 

Is there more than one way to solve this issue? Maybe.  Another way would be for the manager to talk to the customers first, and maybe offer a free dessert of comp something on their bill.  This is probably what I would do because this shows the customer that the restaurant really cares for the customer by giving something extra in return for a mistake. 

Other than just focusing on the customer and their needs, the manager also has to make sure that the kitchen staff and the serving staff are okay so that no further conflict arises.  Sometimes, one of the parties are not completely satisfied.  For example, like I said when the manager gives a free dessert, the kitchen suffers because on top of the orders that they already have, they need to make this free dessert.  On the other hand, this helps the server because it makes them look like they really cared because they are the messenger who brings out the free dessert.  

So I'd say, when it comes to running a restaurant, the manager has tons of decisions that need to be made and the results aren't always favorable to every party.  The difference between a good manager and a mediocre manager is that a good manager can apologize to the party that was hurt in the process and keep the operation moving along without any further confrontation. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Work Conflict

The conflict that comes to my mind was actually a recent one at work.  As you may already know from my older posts, I work as a server at a restaurant and with this job comes tons of different conflicts every shift.  These conflicts range from something as simple as servers arguing over who can take the next table or much larger conflicts such as arguments between my boss and some of the chefs.

I was actually not in this conflict but I was there the whole time to watch it unfold.  The sad part is that this conflict started with a computer glitch, which cause us humans to start getting mad at each other.  There are two restaurants where I work that share a kitchen and Dublin's, the restaurant next door, had a glitch in the POS (point of sale) system where all the tickets (orders of food) did not get sent to the kitchen for about ten minutes and after that ten minutes, they all came in at once.

This might've been okay on a slow weekday, but this was during the dinner rush on a Saturday night. As you might've already guessed, the servers were not very happy because now all this food was behind and their tables were starting to get antsy.  So when it came to the entire restaurant, it was the severs against the kitchen.  Aside from those conflicts, the main one that I remember was between my boss and the head chef.  Since everyone was stressing out, my boss went in the back to work the window (pretty much the guys who reads off the tickets and organizes everything so it is easier for the kitchen).  It was going good at the beginning, but once more tickets started to come in on top of all the tickets that had been backed up, my boss started to panic and get flustered.  Sadly, he took out his frustration on the head chef.  From my point of view, the head chef was doing a kick ass job (excuse my language) but apparently this was not fast enough for my boss.

He started yelling the orders to them, saying things like "Come on guys! We are at a 25 minute wait time for food to come out, we have to move faster!" From my point of view, it looked like they were going as fast as they possibly could.  It seemed like everyone was on the same page except my boss.  He has it in his head that the chefs just weren't moving fast enough and after a while of them getting screamed at, the head chef told me boss to calm down and that yelling isn't going to make them move any faster, it would actually stress them out more and cause more mistakes and delay, which I totally agreed with.

After he said that to my boss, he actually started to calm down.  But then the head chef got flustered and grabbed a hot pan out of the oven with no oven mitts.  He then dropped this pan full of some sort of sauce all over the kitchen floor.  That is when my boss lost it, he screamed, and excuse my language this is a direct quote, "Come on!! This is the bullshit I was talking about! We do not have time to for these stupid mistakes!!"

Mind you he was screaming this directly after the head chef burned his had from the hot pan and at this point, the head chef got pissed, said "piss off dude" and walked out of the kitchen because he did not appreciate being screamed at by his boss.

After a short while, the head chef came back and continued to work and finished all the orders with ease.  I thought it was a good idea that he walked out of the kitchen because it avoided any further conflict.  I actually also think that my boss knew it was a good idea too because he didn't get mad at the head chef for leaving.  By the end of the night, my boss apologized, saying he acted unethical and should not have gotten mad at the chefs because it only created more chaos.

The source of this conflict, I believe was the POS system but the way my boss handled it created another conflict that was unnecessary.  The reactions of everyone else, especially when my boss decided to scream at the head chef was mostly shocked and embarrassment because our customers could actually hear him screaming.

Could the situation been avoided? No, but the conflict could've definitely been avoided.  My boss was out of line for yelling at the head chef.  He could have handled the situation much better by not losing his cool and keeping the kitchen at a good pace.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Team Production

In my experience, team production undeniably creates an intangible bond amongst those who work for the reward, even if it’s not evenly distributed. As is echoed in the New York Times article, I’ve seen in my experience that there absolutely is an unspoken bond amongst the workers, a bond that prioritizes egalitarianism over materialistic gain. My belief is that this stems from a feeling that comes from achievement, a feeling that one gets when something is earned. While someone can recognize things that they earn themselves, it appears that it comes natural for someone to recognize things earned by others, as long as the struggle is mutual. I’m confident of this because of my experience as a camp counselor. Every day the counselors and I work hard to achieve fundamental tasks, like feeding children and making fires. The heavy effort we all put into this work compared with the little reward we got in return would suggest that everyone should be greedy to earn the as much as they could. In fact, the opposite was true. Our mutual struggle drove us to share what we earned and enjoy it together. For lack of better words, it simply felt right. At camp, we used our little rewards to pool together everything together and throw bonfires, dinners and other group events. In the NYT article, the balls given by the rope-bearing machine were pooled together and shared. This is a theme that I believe goes beyond the stigma of individual materialism and draws at the common principles and values that truly make us human.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Managing the Future

As a college student, “future” is a finite term with a vague definition- the variability of our future and the risk we associate to it is a subject that accounts for a significant portion of stress seen on campus. Whether it is income, respectability or relationship goals, there are standards everyone sets, strives to attain and dreads falling short of. Hedging this risk therefore is an important facet of the collegiate lifestyle and one that ultimately relies on each and every decision made, big or small, throughout the years spent on campus. Taking a look at managing risk, there are no benchmarks for an “acceptable” amount. Risk is only one half the equation. The other half, the justification and exigency for risk, is the reward one could achieve. To put risk in perspective, one needs to compare it to reward. Like altering a denominator and numerator in a fraction equating to a constant value, risk and reward share a direct relationship and must therefore be looked at through a relative mindset. The success and strategy in managing risk is contingent on the student who desires the reward. Personally, I have lofty visions of success and have a tendency to willingly accept considerable risk to achieve my goals. As a goal-oriented person, the risk I incur is high in sheer size but low relative to the trajectory I strive to put myself on. Mindful of the fact that every decision made on college affects this trajectory, there are methods I use to limit the risk incurred. 
First and foremost, nothing is truly achievable without effort. Effort is one of the reasons behind every accomplishment and is a term without bound: one can never try too much. Effort then is the old-fashioned way of hedging risk. The more someone works towards their goals, the greater the chance one has at success. It’s hard to deny that. The greater the chance someone has at success, the less is the risk incurred to achieve it. Simply walking away from each and every instance in life knowing that I tried-I truly tried- is success in and of itself. Following effort, each victory is a justified and steady step towards larger goals. Each defeat is a lesson. 
Most people’s success deals with materialistic gain: money, power, prestige, etc. It almost goes without saying that the easiest path to achieving these is through a good job. Good jobs are attained at difficulty (and at great risk), even if the utmost amount of effort is given. Therefore there are a few unique steps I have learned to take in order to reduce this risk and increase my chance of attaining a respectable job. Networking, gaining relevant experience and learning soft skills are three cornerstone facets of this. 
Networking, the construction and maintenance of a hopefully expansive web of people, is incredibly important in this day and age. Professionals who have the ability to offer jobs to others tend to do so for people who they trust will success. As a student, it’s crucial to convince the recruiter that you are the one who can fill those shoes. Networking doesn’t do the convincing, but it does put in contact with the people you have to convince. That’s half of the battle.
Gaining relevant experience is in many ways a byproduct of effort. I’ve learned that in order to make myself marketable to those who can put me in my dream job, I need to have the tools (and not just the talk) to succeed once I’m there. It’s important and recruiters know it. Internships, jobs, classes, extracurricular activities and more can suffice as a means of gaining relevant experience. 
Soft skills go hand in hand with relative experience and networking. Typically when someone is successful at two of these three facets, they’re successful at the third. The ability to lead, mentor, communicate and inspire is ultimately the bare bones of one’s potential. Technical skills can be learned but the best leaders are born and trained. I’ve learned to make myself marketable by training myself; I strive to involve myself with as many opportunities on campus as possible with the end-goal of interacting with as many people as I can. The ability to communicate is one that is relevant and important regardless of the job you dream of. 
Ultimately, these three intertwined skills make up a big picture of success and one’s ability to achieve it. The risk that is incurred in the strife every college student knows all-to-well is hedged by effort and is relative to the degree of success you know you deserve. 

Friday, October 2, 2015


I think this idea of having illinibucks is very interesting. I believe it would teach students a way of dealing with an amount of capital (illinibucks in this case) and allocating it towards what their top priorities are.

Aside from the obvious one of students using these illinibucks to get first pick when it comes to classes and certain professors (I myself have never had a problem getting into the classes I wanted, I feel that the university has a very wide variety of choices of classes), I think that these illinibucks could be used for things such as exam and final times.

Taking 18 credit hours and having a part time job as a waiter, this idea of illinibucks being used for scheduling of exams and finals would come in great handy.  No one likes being suck here at the end of fall semester because their exam is in the very last time slot while everyone else heads home or to some tropical destination halfway across the world.  Illinibucks would be used to get an earlier time slot when it came to exams and finals.  Aside from just wanting to leave school earlier, going back to this idea of using illinibucks to schedule exams, finals, or even homework, to be at different times to fit the schedules of many students who work and do not simply have only school to worry about.

Another area where this would come in great help would be when there is a family emergency, causing the student to have to go home abruptly.  Instead of going through the dean and getting it all sorted out that way, you could use your illinibucks to be excused.  Yes, there may not always be truth to these "family emergencies," but thats the beauty of this system, it gives students the freedom to allocate their illinibucks wherever that they feel is needed.  Is it ethical? Maybe? You tell me.

And not to say that a student would be able to use these illinibucks a lot to get out of exams or homework if there were to be an emergency, I'd imagine that these sorts of things would require a lot of illinibucks.  In my eyes, you would have enough illinibucks to spend on two major instances a semester, along with other things such as getting to the front of the line at the bookstore or maybe even using them on Jamba at the union.  But if a student were to spend their illinibucks on lots of little things, they obviously would not have the capital to get out of an exam or big homework assignment if there were to be an emergency.

I believe that this would teach students a little how to budget for things in the future when they are out of the house and on their own, having to pay for rent, bills, and the occasional emergency.  These illinibucks could be a "test" run for real life.  Not saying things like getting to the front of the line at the bookstore, switching exam times around or having to go home for family emergencies are not important, but certainly not as serious as real life situations.