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How to Respond to Professional Disappointment and Setback

August 8, 2013

I’m currently in a revise and resubmit cycle with my dissertation committee. In brief the dissertation is written and will take some major work to complete to the satisfaction of all committee members. Mind you, I found this out 4 days prior to a scheduled defense date, so my body told me I needed to spend some time licking wounds before starting revisions. It’s amazing what a two week migraine cycle will teach you about self-care (hint: DO IT), friendship, and trust amid professional disappointment and setback. I can’t thank all my wonderful friends and colleagues  enough for their support and encouragement and laughter and love during this time.

Coincidentally, it seems that Stephen Colbert  also experienced his own work-related WTF this week.  Daft Punk was supposed to appear on his show:

Wouldn’t that have been amazing? MTV, however, had other plans.  Apparently MTV had exclusive performance rights for Daft Punk because they would be performing at the VMAs (side note, since when does MTV fight for music to be shown on MTV?!):

Here is Stephen’s pitch perfect response to the whole fiasco. LIKE A BOSS kids, watch and learn:

May Stephen Colbert and Bryan Cranston and Jon Stewart Charlie Rose and Jeff Bridges and the Rockettes turn any disappointment you encounter into a star-studded roller disco. Now go get lucky, punk.  :)

Dissertation Update & Stat Check

March 2, 2013

Update 3/22/13: Summer defense or bust!

It’s moving along. I’m writing and it’s moving along. A May graduation is still totally possible at this point but it means this week I’ll be writing when not eating, sleeping, or working to pay for it. So more of the same except in hyperdrive mode.

So here’s where it currently stands:

  • If I get a ton of writing to my advisor by Friday, and it’s in good shape, defending in April and graduating in May is a real possibility.
  • I’m adding to and refining the Findings section which is currently at 40 pages.
  • The entire dissertation, with many edits and revision to make before handing in, is currently 108 pages.

Here’s a sample from this morning’s writing in the Findings chapter:

Client outcomes: Real visibility and improvements for Charlestown residents and agencies

Five respondents discussed the positive changes they witnessed in Charlestown as a result of Charlestown Connects both as residents and as individual community agencies. These positive outcomes dealt with better relationships with city agencies and thus improved access to city services, as one respondent stated:

But the fact that we were able to create an environment of safety, because this building was perceived as not safe and it had every right to have that perception, the lights were not on in the front of the building, the field lights, the safety lights, were not being left on, like there were things that were wrong, and through NRT, so street lights were out, things like that, but through responding, okay, to things like that, we became visible.  So now first it became visible, right?

This sense of improved visibility cannot be understated. Also evident after the Charlestown Connects intervention was a palatable difference in a sense of neighborhood in terms of better communication, working together, and more pleasant experience living in Charlestown overall. One respondent expressed this as, “the entire community has been able to grow and work together in a way that would not have possible without Charlestown Connects.” Another without much exposure to Charlestown Connects expanded on this idea and stated:

See a sea change going on. Has seen a lot more people asking what can we do to make Charlestown stronger, from retail and residents, trying to push community pride and effort and funding into making Charlestown more pleasant for residents to live in. Charlestown is forgotten neighborhood in Boston. My grandmother was from Charlestown 100 years ago, was community of hard-working people. Affluence equals attention. I love where I live, don’t want to put words in the mouth of those townies who lived during hard times when neighborhood was difficult, but over 20 years neighborhood has really improved.

Coffee donations and random words of kindness and support welcome. Always.

The No Asshole Rule in Academia

February 13, 2013

Karen Zgoda:

Required reading for academics. Love the book “The No Asshole Rule” by Robert Sutton!

Originally posted on The Thesis Whisperer:

Two of my favourite people in the academic world are my friends Rachael Pitt (aka @thefellowette) and Nigel Palmer. Whenever we have a catch up, which is sadly rare, we have a fine old time talking shop over beer and chips (well lemonade in my case, but you get the picture).

Some time ago ago Rachael started calling us ‘The B Team’ because we were all appointed on a level B in the Australian university pay-scale system (academic Level B is not quite shit kicker entry level academia – that’s level A just in case you were wondering – but it’s pretty close). I always go home feeling a warm glow of collegiality after a B team talk, convinced that being an academic is the best job in the entire world. Rachael reckons that this positive glow is a result of the ‘circle of niceness’ we create just by being…

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January 23, 2013

Originally posted on Social Work/Social Care & Media:

karen_zgodaBarely a month has passed since 20 children aged 6 and 7 were killed in their classrooms at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It is also disturbing that for many children in the United States, such gun-related violence has long been a sad fact of life due to structural poverty, economic decline, and crime.

One of the most popular calls for action in the wake of this tragedy is for more gun control. In fact, President Obama has just released a plan to reduce gun violence.

According to a poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS, these shootings in particular have heavily swayed US public opinion towards stricter gun control laws. Other sources show similar support for gun control and the National Rifle Association has been upfront in their opposition.

Some facts on gun control:

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2012 in Review

January 3, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

What a year. Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 310,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

What’s in It For Me? Lessons Learned from Micro and Macro Systems in Action

November 3, 2012

I had the great pleasure of presenting at the Northeast Conference on Public Administration with Lynn Curran, a social worker at the Gretchen S. and Edward A. Fish Center for Women’s Health. Our presentation was titled: “What’s in It For Me? Lessons Learned from Micro and Macro Systems in Action.” Here’s the official description:

Many in the public and private health sectors are interested in the efficacy of the “medical home” model. Is this model worthy of the time and the money needed to create needed supporting infrastructure? How does a primary care clinic integrate mental health services effectively? Public service agencies are also looking for ways to streamline and integrate care more efficiently. Are there parallel practices on the micro and macro levels that can serve as “lessons learned?” What are the benefits and outcomes of such collaborations? What does this look like over the long-term?

This presentation discusses the facilitation of interagency collaboration among non-profit and government agencies on the macro level, which parallels interdisciplinary collaboration among primary care physicians and mental health clinicians on the micro level. Such efforts could streamline service delivery, leading to financially successful agencies while also addressing social problems.

You can view our presentation here – enjoy!

SXSW Voting Has Begun! Please Vote for 50 Shades of Social Media: Freeing Sadomasochists

August 17, 2012

UPDATE 8/22/12: One of the members of our panel has created an awesome video explaining what we are hoping to accomplish with our SXSW presentation. Check it out and don’t forget to vote here:

Original Post:

Is social media helping or hurting us? The standard argument against our current preoccupation with social media preaches that social media is an unhealthy compulsion. Checking Twitter is like eating that first delicious crunchy potato chip – it feels great until we’ve eaten the entire bag. After reading tweets all morning, desperately trolling the internet for that one last morsel of information, we feel bloated by information, tired, and overwhelmed. We beat ourselves up and yet our inner sadomasochist begs for more. In the era of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” light BDSM is very appealing. But there is another narrative: Social media is a healthy compulsion. In our desire to be connected we bring connection and information to people that make our community, profession, and the world a better place. Accessing our inner dominatrix becomes a gift to the world. Join us as we explore and discuss ways that mindfulness techniques can help you accept and enjoy your Fifty Shades of Social Media.

Questions Answered

  1. What indicates a serious problem?
  2. Why am I torturing myself and is that really a bad thing?
  3. Should we seek to limit exposure to technology, or should we seek to develop (new) ways of managing the vast amount of information at our fingertips?
  4. Are current approaches to managing stress appropriate to addressing this problem, or does it require a paradigmatic change?
  5. What strategies will allow me to achieve Net Freedom? What is it about mindfulness that can help set me free


Voting has begun and ENDS August 31. Voting is very competitive and accounts for 30% of a panel being selected.

Please VOTE NOW at this link -

You have to create an account to vote BUT I SWEAR it will only take 20 seconds. THANK YOU for your help and kindly share this link!!


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