Friday, December 2, 2016


Heading into this class I didn’t know what to expect and what I would get out of it but to my surprise this class has not only developed my knowledge of the outside world and my problem solving skills in excel but it also expanded my knowledge about myself. The material that we went over in class will definitely help me out when I will have a full time job because unlike other classes we tied everything together and through the blogs we were able to link everything to the real world.

I have always wanted to open up my own business one day and become a leader to others and I feel that through this class it made me realize the many aspects of being a leader and working with others in a work environment. Throughout this class we looked at many aspects at what makes a worker stand out from the others and we had even written a paper on the different types of shirking and rewards. Even though I worked a lot before I never realized how much actually went in being a successful worker and how different managerial styles can change the outcome of the employees. The different methods to manage people will not only be useful in my work environment but it will also come in handy in my day-to-day life. I strongly believe that a key component to my understanding and learning in this class can be contributed to the blogging that we have to do on a weekly basis. Unlike other classes where we learn a lot of key components in class and then go home and do word problems and just brush off the material until exam time, in this class through blogging we are able to tie what we just learned in class to the real world and by doing it this way I was able to remember the material better.

Overall I think that this course was very helpful in the way that it was structured and because it offered a different element that truly helped my learning by a lot. I felt that the discussions and activities that we’ve had in class were interesting and challenging at times. One thing that I would do to improve is to incorporate more activities in during the class time. Also, I feel like the blogs should not be due on Friday because I always get sidetracked and forget to do them until Saturday morning or Sunday. I feel like if they had a due date during the week for example Wednesday or Thursday like how the excel homework is then it would be much easier for me to remember to submit them on time and wouldn’t make me want to procrastinate and then forget about it. At first when I learned that we would have to do blogs every week and we would have to write about different prompts I thought it would be a nuisance like one of my previous classes where we had to write reflections every week but this was different because the prompts we had to write about were related to what we were doing in class meanwhile in my other class all we had to do is write about what we thought about the material and most of the time it didn’t take much concentration to do the required work in order to get full points. I also appreciate reading the responses that I get on my posts from the professor and getting further challenged on what I wrote. I definitely like this interaction and this was one of the first classes that I’ve had here at the university where the professor was very engaged in what we write and challenging us to see the bigger point to what we learn in class and some of the things we learned I would’ve never thought of as being important until I saw the role they might play in my future. All in all, I really liked how the professor was more set on making sure that we learn something from this class instead of focusing on the grading system that much, I feel like this strategy definitely made it easier for me to be more open in my posts.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Personal Reputation

When I was six years old my grandpa taught me how to play chess. At the time I was still living in Romania and there weren’t any real competitions or tournaments for my age group where I could test my skills. Instead I would usually go to parks near my house with my grandpa and play chess against retired people. It was something I enjoyed doing and had fun whenever I would actually win. Even though later I would realize that the chess that I learned to play in the parks was very unconventional and not recommended for a beginner I came to realize that the eccentrics of it helped me see things different and from a different point of view when I learned how to play more professionally. When I came to America my parents quickly found some local chess tournaments and they took me to see how I would do. I played unconventional openings without much strategy that many kids my age had. Nonetheless I finished third in that tournament and won myself my first trophy. At the time my English wasn’t very good so playing chess was an easy way for me to interact with other kids without having to speak much. Pretty soon after I started participating in chess tournaments on a weekly basis and so my reputation started to increase amongst other players and the parents that were involved. The better I got the more I moved up to the point I would play against opponents that were on average five years older than me.

After a couple of years of playing chess professionally, filling my room up with trophies and medals and getting trained by an actual chess grandmaster I started to become confident and cocky knowing that most often I was better than anyone from my area. That year was also the first time I participated in a state tournament for all of the players from Illinois. The first couple of games from that tournament I quickly found out that for one I wasn’t as good as I thought I was and second I made a lot of critical errors because I didn’t focus enough and went into the games too confident and cocky. I did terrible that tournament and quickly became discouraged when I saw how many games I lost and that most of the games that I lost were to people younger than me. After that tournament I felt that my reputation degraded and my friends started to make fun of me because I lost to a seven-year-old kid at the state tournament. After that tournament I actually quit playing chess for a couple of months because I was too embarrassed at how badly I did at the state tournament and I felt like everything that I worked hard for crumbled down on me. I felt like none would see me as a real threat anymore and they wouldn’t be scared to play against me because they knew that if a seven-year-old could beat me then so could they.

I was disappointed in myself because I let my reputation be in control of me and make me lose my focus when I needed it most. After a couple of months of being absent from any chess competitions I finally decided I wanted to go back to playing but now for a different reason. Instead of me trying to rebuild my reputation within the chess community in my town I opted to just go and play for fun, play the same unconventional style of play that I was raised up to and had a lot of fun with. I no longer had an instructor to teach me different openings and strategies and I no longer wanted to get to the point I was at before because I realized just how stressful it was to stay at a high level.

Consequently, me starting to play for fun and becoming humbler made me realize that there was more to life and to this game than reputation and the more fun I had playing the better I did in games and inadvertently my reputation increased again. The national chess tournament was happening that year also and my mom persuaded me to give it a try since I have been doing so well in my recent local tournaments. This was when I was in eight grade and I was getting ready to go to high school and I no longer wanted to pursue a chess career instead I wanted to try to move away from chess for a while and try new things in high school so going to nationals that year was an end to my competitive chess career for a while. Going in to that tournament without any expectations and without being cocky made me get the 67th place nationwide for my age group out of 900 players. Even though I didn’t win first place I ended up making a name for myself throughout my friend group at school and outside of school. The lessons that I learned about how to handle reputation is an invaluable tool for me and it taught me how important it is to not let the confidence and cockiness that comes with reputation get to your head if you actually strive to maintain it at a high level. For me in the present day I prefer being an underdog and not let something that I did in the past influence the people around me, instead I want my actions in the present to build my reputation. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Principal Agent Problem

I have not had the opportunity to witness this principal-agent model too much because the jobs that I worked at never really had any of these issues worth talking about regardless of the lack of exposure to this issue I have witnessed this a couple of years ago when I visited my uncle in Scotland and worked part time at his amusement park. This park was divided in two parts; one part was filled with animals you could look at and even feed some and the other half was filled with a track for ATVs and some slides that little kids could go through. The main issue that took place there was with people complaining that the staff was being rude to them for not letting them either pet all of the animals or ride the ATVs faster than what the limit was set on them. These measures were set in place as a safety measure for everyone and the managers understood that the staff was just doing their jobs and took our side most often although in front of the customer they would side with them to show them that they cared. Although this relationship worked for many years one summer when I was working at the park there was an incident that happened. There was a change in managers over that summer and some of them wanted to start to make the rules less restrictive because they believe that those safety measures deterred a lot of people away from coming to the park but a group of the old managers still supported the old rules put in place. Well within two weeks there began to be a lot of confusion amongst the staff regarding what to do. One of the new rules was to make the ATVs less restricted and faster. That was a main issue for a lot of the staff because we realized that doing that would mean it becoming less safe for the visitors so no one really did anything with that until one day when one of the new managers went down to the ATV area and told us to take off the restrictions because the park was losing money since people wanted the ATVs to go faster. That day a kid came to go on the ATVs and although we instructed him to go slow at first in order to get a feel for the ATV and only after a while to ramp up the speed. Well he started alright but quickly panicked and instead of hitting the break he accidently hit the acceleration throttle making him accelerate off of the track and into a creek that was nearby. He ended up with a broken arm, broken leg, and some broken ribs. A helicopter had to come pick him up and take him to the hospital because the injuries were that serious. This incident caused a lot of stress for everyone working there because they didn’t know what to do and what to say when the parents threatened to sue the place for being unsafe for children. We were in trouble because we followed the orders of one of the managers but the written rules were still the same as before in regards to the restrictions of the ATVs. Gladly the other managers realized what had happened and the lack of communication that was going on lead to a life threatening incident. The manager that decided to change the rules without going through the process was quickly terminated and the park paid the family for the lawsuit. In this case the staff was also disciplined because it was also our fault for listening to one of the managers without receiving a physical change of rules or being briefed by everyone beforehand. Personally after this incident and all of the stress it has put me through I learned to always question things and to make sure that before I make a change to something that it is alright with everyone else as well and before I take orders that involve big changes such as this to make sure that I am protected by following these changes by seeing something written or being instructed to do so by a collective of managers.