Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Coming into this class I had not realized how extensive the study of the economy of organizations can be. I had an interest in the topic so I had high hopes that it would be an interesting course. I definitely feel that this project we are working on has helped make this class what I expecting coming in. I enjoy learning new terms and the different approaches that organizations take to advance themselves, so I feel like incorporating more of that into the class would have made it more effective for me.

I mostly enjoyed the online and offline structure of the class but sometimes I feel like it had some flaws. For example, I never felt that I really learned about excel homeworks, which made it very difficult to do on my own with the occasional video to help guide me. I wish we would have spent more time reviewing excel homework on Wednesdays like we do on Mondays with our blog posts. The blog posts were a fun part of the class. I never had the opportunity to do something like this in a college course and to be able to write on my own experiences was pleasurable. I also frequently would read my classmates posts and seeing all these different perspectives was a really cool way to see how different people react to different things. I appreciate that blog posts are a large part of our grade because I feel that it reflects what the class was built around. Blog posts seemed to always play a large part in our discussions and relate to our topics.

I sometimes had difficulty completing the blogs before the due date because I am really only able to write quality posts when I am alone with little distractions. I like to be able to put a lot of thought into my posts so I make sure that I cover everything I need to. The commenting aspect of the blogging process is nice because I often forget to include things in my initial post and am able to include it in my response to other comments. The blogs usually take me about 30 to 45 minutes once I start writing. Excel homework takes much longer as I usually do not really know what steps I should be taking, and with my busy schedule this semester I sometimes can't complete it by the deadline. I have been able to complete some within an hour, while others I spend a couple hours on and never figure it out.

Some improvements I would suggest were outlined above, such as spending time in class on excel homework. I also think it can be hard to pay attention for a full 1hr 20min lecture without any visuals or interactive lessons. While listening to somebody speak is a lot more effective to me than simply reading, a combination of the two allows the audience to take better notes and stay more attentive. I would also suggest implementing a hard deadline. Having a flexible deadline was very nice, but sometimes I would feel like I could slack off for a night and then I ended up stressed out on a Saturday morning making sure I get my blog post in before they were considered late.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Ever since about middle school I have had a reputation as being quiet and laid back, which is often misconstrued as being shy. People like to assume that since I would rather listen to others than hear myself talk, I must be a extremely introverted. This can get a bit annoying but people are usually quick to realize that I just don't care to be involved in everything that is going on.

While this reputation exists in basically every aspect of my life (friends, work, school, etc.), I will focus on it in a work environment. I once had a job that included a lot of driving and people usually did not want to take their cars even though we got paid a fair amount per mile. While I never made an effort to drive, as it is occasionally nice to just sit in the passenger seat and relax, I would always volunteer myself if nobody else wanted to. I feel that there is no reason to make a big deal out of something so small, and arguing over something so unimportant does not lead to anything worth while. Basically every time I am asked to do something on the job, even if it is from somebody that has no authority over me, I go ahead an accept it because I find it easy to say yes, which I feel reflects my laid back attitude.

Just today I was at work and my supervisor complimented my ability to stay calm and collected, especially when faced with a high volume of work. While this is an example of one of the benefits of being laid back, having a reputation can yield a mixture of results. For example, the fact that I say yes to a lot of small tasks makes it easy for people to approach me with new tasks, which can lead to more work than I can handle.

I am sure that if everyone in an organization had the same attitude and reputation as I have then things wouldn't run very smoothly. An organization needs people of many different reputations in order to achieve things efficiently in my opinion.

There are definitely points in my life where I would like to stray away from my reputation in order to have a bit more control of situations, but my reputation mimics my true personality so it is often hard for me to actually go through with such actions. I feel that I will someday begin to transform my reputation in a way that helps my career goals be met, but for now I am very content with my reputation and its influence in my life.

I can not think of a situation where I would have the opportunity to cash in on my reputation in favor of some immediate game. I would be very interested to hear of any possible was that one could cash in on a laid back reputation.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Triangle Principal Agent

One summer I didn't do very well in my job search and ended up getting a job as a delivery driver for a local pizza place. Not a great job but with tips and a car with decent mileage I was about to make a pretty good amount of money. It was very easy but every once in a while I would encounter a principal agent problem that was rough to deal with because it was not my fault and not always easy to resolve.

The process was basically an assembly line. The cashier would get a call and take the order, then the cooks would make the pizza and put it in the oven. When it was ready somebody cut it up, put it in the box and called the name of the driver who was to deliver the order. Easy process, generally very efficient. However, every now and then I would get to the house and hand the person their order and they would take a look to make sure it is right. A lot of times if it was wrong, the person would just accept it if it was basically the same thing. There was this one time that I was given the wrong thing and when I arrived at the customer's house to deliver it, they were very angry to see that it was wrong and since they were paying in cash, they refused payment. With the position I held I had no ability to offer the customer anything to make up for the mistake. The company did not like to waste money so they were very hard to talk with on the phone when things like this go wrong. Therefor, I was usually just stuck in the middle of this, trying to satisfy the customer who I have to deal in the present, and also satisfy my employer who I have to make sure if fine with everything I do so that I do not suffer any consequences in the future. I am not entirely sure if this qualifies as a principal agent problem, but it at least has similar qualities in that I am working to satisfy two parties at the same time.

The whole tip situation is another example, and this one is probably experienced by every worker who relies on tips. If customers do not tip I do not receive any money other that the very low hourly wage. It is an issue because the employer doesn't make up for that by throwing a little extra money your way, so I just feel like I wasted gas by driving there because I would have made the same amount of money by staying at the store. I think it would be fair for the company to give me a couple bucks in that situation, because they wouldn't have made any money in that situation if they did not have anybody to deliver it. This is a principal agent problem because I am getting treated unfairly by both sides when this happens.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


One year over the summer I worked for a party services company where we supplied all kinds of party goods to customers, from popcorn machines to bounce houses. It was not a very good job. Management was poor, schedules often did not come out as quickly as they promised they would, and pay was not anything special. Employees who had been working there for years were still making low pay, but most were students who intended on moving on to better things after graduation, so they did not care all that much. However, there was at least one person who was not pursuing higher education and was getting very frustrated with her pay and was awaiting her next opportunity for a raise.

I worked with her the following day and she was furious. Apparently she got a 10 cent raise when she was expecting 50 because she had been there for years and never got a raise she thought she deserved. It ended up being a pretty high salience issue around the office and a handful of people took sides, which made some relationships that were formerly very healthy into negative ones. Both people were generally not very well liked, so I am not very sure how the sides were formed. I had only been there for two months at this point, so I cannot say for certain if past occurrences impacted peoples decisions. Since I really hate working in a workplace with that kind of tension and full of negativity, I could not wait until summer was over because I had no intentions on returning ever again.

I did not publicly take a side because I hate confrontation and I thought the way that the employee handled the situation was very immature and naive. However, I definitely agreed with the employer and his decision to only up her pay by a small amount. It was clear that she was not deserving of a substantial raise given the way she reacted. The job was heavily based on customer service and I have witnessed her get in arguments with customers, which just goes to show that she is always as hot tempered as she was when she didn't get the raise she wanted.

While our boss was not very good at what he did in my opinion, he was fairly accommodating. I feel that if my coworker took the proper steps to seek out a compromise instead of being so assertive, she could have argued her way up to a higher pay in a civilized manner. For example, she could have emphasized common goals by saying something like "I feel that the raise I received has negatively impacted my motivation because my years of experience in this job merits an increased wage." Both parties would benefit from this because her motivation to perform well would build a better relationship with customers and bring more money in to the business. I have never had to negotiate like this so my approach may not be perfect, but knowing how my employer operates, I feel that it would be effective.

By reacting the way she did, she broke off the ability to have healthy conversations and if I was the boss, I would already be looking to find somebody to replace her.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Individual vs Team Production

I found the beginning half of this reading to be extremely interesting. As more changes were made to the experiment, I was able to start connecting these experiments to real life. I was not surprised at all by the results, as I would have expected things to go similarly. The chimpanzee experiment was an interesting addition to the article, but I feel that it was not very applicable to what they were looking for. Once they started relating it to what Obama and Palin were saying, I kind of got lost. Relating the kids to big companies being in cahoots with the government was illogical, as they did not mention anything about the kids and the experimenter colluding. However, their point was not lost as it is clear that corporations do buy laws from the government.

Anyway, individual production and team production are displayed very well in the article. When kids pulled the individual ropes on their own, they took what they got because they did not feel that the other kid helped them get what they received, which is a reasonable argument. However, when they helped one another by each pulling on a connected rope, they generally shared, which is expected and should be the case in most scenarios. At first glance into real life situations that this experiment applies to, it doesn't look like marbles are being traded. Through gift exchange, marbles can be shared from one person to the other. For example, every once in awhile an NFL kick returner will bring a kickoff all the way back to the end zone for a touchdown. This results in praise for the man who ran it back. However, often times if you look at the tape of the play, the blockers on the return team all just made their blocks and the runner was able to run through a straight path, but that goes unnoticed to the public, so he is getting the endorsements and fame. This fills their hypothetical cup with a handful of marbles. In contrast to that, NFL teams' staff is very talented and can notice the players making the big blocks, and they get big money for their role on the team, so they get a couple marbles thrown in their cup.

It may seem like the star player is far better off, which realistically he probably is, but his blockers are being taken care of too. There are many instances where players buy things for their supporting cast. A couple years ago NFL running back Arian Foster broke out to be one of the best players in the league. While the public thinks he is just a god, he knows that he wouldn't be as good as he is without his linemen. To thank them for their effort and helping him earn his big money contract, Foster bought all of his offensive linement segways (

An example of the disconnected rope where each person pulls their rope and gets a random amount of marbles is slot machines. Slot machines are individual production and most people, upon winning money from a slot machine, are not going to share with the person at the machine next to them. Even though it was complete luck, they are not going to say "hey, let's split this." On rare occassions a jackpot winner will share with the people around them, but that is generally only when they either know the people from before, have just met them and have been talking while playing, or sometimes people consider the people around them good luck charms. However, those cases do not relate to the experiment because the kids just walked into a room and had no connections to the other children.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Managing Income Risk

Managing income risk is something that has been a priority of mine since the start of high school. I began trying to figure out what markets had more demand for employment and based classes I took off that. Though I used to want to do Engineering and didn't give that up until Freshman year of college, I believe I have still been able to manage my income risk pretty well even with the change of plans. I wish I could have managed to get a double major, but things did not work out for me in that respect.

I chose to major in Economic because there is always a use for an economist. It is also a very flexible degree that can be applied in many different business related fields. I plan on exploring the job market quite a bit when I graduate. I am very interested in working in a major city outside of the Midwest. I also would like to have a job in business but outside of economics, but I realize that I will need to prove that I can be useful in other fields through internships or taking sufficient classes on the same topic. In order to manage income risk in that perspective, I am taking classes in other fields to figure out what I want to do beyond economics. I am also studying abroad in Belgium next semester and taking classes in economics, which I believe will be incredibly helpful in my job search. Having knowledge of different systems of economics could make me a much more intriguing candidate for positions.

The job market is and will always be incredibly competitive, which is a very good thing in my opinion because people will always be working their hardest to get or keep a job. One thing I do is take classes that I believe will not only work towards credits for graduation, but will also teach me a lot and show employers that I am diversified in my education. That is one of the main reasons I took this class. I am going to work for an organization in the future, so having knowledge about how things work from the outside could prove to be very interesting when I am inside of one.

I have two older brothers who both majored in engineering fields here at the University of Illinois. They both managed income risk extremely well by getting involved in the campus community, working internships that have good reputations, and studying abroad. They are both working very steady jobs and have already began working their way up the ranks of big name engineering firms. Neither of them has encountered any big surprises, which I believe is because they managed income risk perfectly. They both had many job offers right out of college and had their choice of employment. My big take away from their experience is that college is the critical time in your life to build your resume and that your first job could be crucial to how your entire career plays out.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


The idea of Illinibucks here at the University of Illinois is a very interesting concept that if implemented, would have a lot of possible issues. It would be a great way to introduce students to a real life application of economics as it relates to scarcity. In a scenario where students are allocated a specified amount of Illinibucks, they would have to manage their capital wisely and plan where and when to use them.

There are not many functions of Illinibucks I can think of. The obvious one is choosing classes. The issue I have with this is that if we give everybody enough Illinibucks to afford whatever cost it is to skip the wait for choosing classes, I personally believe that almost everybody would use it on that. A way to make it more effective may be to allow people who use their Illinibucks for scheduling classes to skip ahead a day or two, making it valuable but not quite as much as skipping to the front of the line, which would surely crash the Enterprise website. Also the University clearly has reasons for why they give some students priority. If people used Illinibucks to cut in front of other people, older students may not be able to take classes they need because an underclassmen who doesn't necessarily need to take the course has a seat since he bought his way to an earlier registration spot.

I know other schools have programs where they are allocated an amount of credits, similar to meal plan credits that people get in the dorms here, but they can use it at restaurants around campus. However, I highly doubt Illinibucks could be used for that purpose since a deal would have to be made with participating restaurants where the University covers all or some of the cost in exchange for the Illinibucks they are receiving from students. I could definitely see that being a program that students here would be very interested, especially if Chipotle and other Green Street restaurants got involved.

I saw in another student's post the idea of spending Illinibucks on scheduling finals. This is something I could see being useful as long as faculty could find a way to prevent cheating between students in the same class with different exam dates. Final weeks is obviously the most stressful period of the semester, and sometimes people just get completely screwed on final exam dates and times. I have friends in Engineering, taking the hardest classes on campus, that have 4 exams in 2 days, but since there aren't conflicting times or there is a small gap in between exam 2 and 3, the University does not allow them to move any exams. In my opinion this is a huge issue and it can really hurt people's grade point averages.

Also, as a quick note on registering for classes and not getting into desired/required courses. This semester I was trying to get into Econ 303 but it was full. Knowing there were students that were just pointlessly holding onto the course and waiting until the deadline to drop, I checked every day hoping to snag a spot. I emailed the professor and she said that she couldn't make any exceptions to the class size limit. Luckily on the last day to register for classes a spot opened up and I got in the course, but I was already weeks behind so I had to catch up on a lot of work and missed out on a handful of graded assignments. I just checked what the current enrollment is and there are 11 spots remaining, which could have gone to students that need it. I think there should be a wait list for classes, because right now it is basically just luck, hoping that you're the first one who checked for an opening since somebody dropped.