Thursday, November 19, 2009


This week I went to one of the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities meeting and I realized a fundemental problem. Well a few actually. One of the people I work with and I were talking about this and really what happens is that the meetings are at least two hours long and people feel like it is torture. No one actually enjoys going to the meeting s Also, because CCD is so big, there are so many different interests that come to the meetings and different member organizations. Next there are about fifteen meetings to decide anything which is really frustrating and from that one of the big systematic problems is that when dealing with an issue they skip what is in my opinion a fundamental step: agreeing on the main objective at the start. They don't come to initial consensus so they go through zillions of iterations where they are nitpicking over details when they don't even all agree on the overall message and how that is being approached. If they only started each issue/initiative by agreeing on the overarching idea, then the details and the rest of the process would go much smoother. Also it seems like the environment is such that different organizations are listened to better or worse than others and this does not create a very engaging atmosphere if some people or organizations simply know they will not be valued equally.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Week of November

This week I think I am running into a very typical frustration of an internship. I am lucky, in that I have been given a really cool project, the problem however is that because I am only here for a couple of more weeks, being able to finish this project is highly improbably. Basically what I am doing is continuing something that AFB began a couple of years ago where complaints were filed with the FCC on behalf of consumers experiencing accessibility problems. Currently the only accessible phone off the shelf is the iphone 3gS. Every other phone requires software that costs several hundred dollars to have things like voice over to make a phone accessible for blind people . The constraints of my work is similar to what anyone would experience in a people oriented job. I need to get responses from the people who made complaints in order to write to the FCC to continue work on their behalf which has a whole list of processes that take a long time. Also, I am doing the project primarily wit the Vice President of AFB, who is very busy so in terms of getting necessary direction, there are time parameters on that as well. I completely understand these constraints, but it is frustrating particularly because as an intern, my time with AFB is finite and the end of which is fast approaching which means that with all of these time constraints, as hard as I am trying, the project simply may not be finished. Further, with a project like this, there is never really an ending, simply an unending myriad of possibilities so I am trying to bring it to a point where it could be considered at least in part completed to then be taken on wen someone else at AFB has the time to do so.

I really am enjoying the work I am doing and I realize that it is very reminiscent of work that I did while interning with the constituent office of Senator Kennedy, which I absolutely loved. It is a very people oriented project where I can on behalf of the organization make a difference in these people's lives. In so doing, I am not only f assistance to them, but am learning a great deal about the issues and best approach to solving them. I really would like to continue working in this capacity and am grateful that I can have these kinds of experiences to help me understand what it is I would like to pursue in the future in a more permanent nature.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I had an enlightening experience wednesday morning on the metro. I was standing, annoyed that every time I wear four inch heels somehow turns out to be the time there is no seat open on the metro, when I hear this guy fairly loudly talking to what must have been his colleague about this instance with some people he worked with. The story went something like this: I wanted these people to get something done faster because I had a deadline. So I told them that if they got it done in four hours, I buy them a pizza and if they didn't they would have to buy me a pizza. They said they couldn't do it, but with the motivation of the possible pizza, they would try. Of course as expected, they found a way to get the task done in four hours. That friday, they got a pizza. One intelligent guy realized, wait now that we have shown you we can do it like this you're going to expect it. The boss goes, that's right. The other guys were not happy to hear this. The boss says well doesn't it make you feel great to know you are capable of that? The guys said begrudgingly well yes, but... The boss was the guy talking on the metro and he said to his colleague, I had just had to find what motivated them. They were hungry, so they did the work better than they had before because they had incentive that was personal.

I couldn't believe I heard this story. Even before my coffee, and in four inch heels I was getting an impromptu lesson about motivation. The guy on the train probably did't know it but he was giving me a lot to think about as I am studying motivation and learning about the theories behind it. This boss really got me thinking. Is motivation as simple as fining what people want and giving it to them in a way that is also conducive to the company's interests? That isn't necessarily simple to do but does al the theory we have been reading about in class boil down to this?