Good afternoon! (That’s me, trying to wake myself up as a small food coma combines with a dreary weather day.)
I’ve got some exciting spreadsheets to make today (cost benefit analyses! travel planning!), so will dive right into the links:
- I ate up this essay on the historical significance of the secretary role, a position of privilege and power once accorded great importance. Some of the observations on recordkeeping and filing are relevant well beyond the “secretary to important person” context: “we use computers, everyone can file their own things, look at the cost savings!” entirely misses the huge productivity costs of self-filing, which is very rarely done well.
- Speaking of recordkeeping and archiving, two Canadian historians (rightly) call out Canada’s absurd process to access historical government records (where little is made open by default, instead requiring an access request and manual review of every file before release), comparing it to the UK’s, which regularly announces new tranches of 20-year-old files automatically opened to the public. We accept such mediocrity.
- An excellent explanation of administrative burdens meant to expand access, by Jordan Kyle. It’s a great explanation of administrative burden generally, where people have to do a bunch to access some benefit or service they’re eligible for, adding a huge (often hidden) cost for (often vulnerable) people to access (often necessary) services.
- Ben Werdmuller gathers a host of research on how ineffective layoffs are—how they give the appearance of doing something economically smart, while devastating workers and hurting the company or organization itself in the long-run.
- Dan Sinker’s experience of not feeling up to trying for the last few years really rings true. Here’s to a year of trying?
All the best for the week ahead!