While I was neither surprised by my quiz results nor did I personally struggle with the dichotomous questions, I can certainly understand the frustration of my peers who did feel conflicted. Something that did frustrate me, however, was seeing the term “Social Safety Net” as a key issue. I don’t like the term because the social safety net that the United States currently has isn’t exactly saving people. I think that the term “Social Febreze” makes more sense. Consider the Febreze commercials, where supposedly random people are brought blindfolded into settings like a disgusting basement full of trash is, but don’t know that it’s so gross because Febreze covered the bad scents. Much like Febreze can make college students feel like their dorm rooms are less messy than they typically are, the Social Febreze system we have now is enough for people to assume that “poor people are receiving adequate help”.
This blog prompt begins with, “we dance around sensitive political issues in our class discussions to prevent student biases and promote open communication, but how can we avoid the conversation about politics when it is so strongly connected to the topics we study?”. This is very interesting to me because even when we try to skirt around these issues, they aren’t, in fact, avoided as much as we think. Because I feel that this topic as a subset of politics isn’t as much avoided as we first think, I have chosen to take a stance on Personal Efficacy in terms of managerial decisions. While we may not immediately associate the terms “personal efficacy” and “managerial decisions”, it is much more clearly intertwined when presented as a question of “does hard work really pay off?” I think back to United States history, and the first thing that comes to mind is Horatio Alger’s myriad “rags to riches” short stories from the Gilden Age that narrate how young men from humble beginnings are able to work up to middle-class security through hard work and dedication. While this “gilded” outlook on social structure may have been true in the 19th century, I don’t think that it necessarily stands today–something that is clear in the present managerial world. Consider a class that we have all taken: Management 101. Remember your contribution grade? I remember being frustrated because I worked in reports and put in so many hours of work but only got a B as my contribution grade, whereas people in other business divisions who put in less time than I received better grades. While MGMT 101 companies are pretty much fictitious, it holds true among real companies that it doesn’t necessarily matter how much effort you put in as much as the quality of your effort. When managers make decisions, say, on employee salaries, an employee’s salary is not going to be based on how hard they worked, rather the quality of what was actually done.