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“Employees should keep their private lives and personal activities as separate as possible from the workplace.”

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

Should employees leave their personal lives entirely behind them when they enter the workplace, as the speaker suggests here? While I agree that employees should not allow their personal lives to interfere with their jobs, the speaker fails to consider that integrating personal life with work can foster a workplace ambiance that helps everyone do a better job, thereby promoting success for the organization.

Engaging coworkers in occasional conversation about personal interests and activities can help build collegiality among coworkers that adds to their sense of common purpose on the job. Managers would be well advised to participate in and perhaps even plan the sharing of personal information—as a leadership tool as well as a morale booster. An employee feels valued when the boss takes time to ask about the employee’s family or recent vacation. The employee, in turn, is likely to be more loyal to and cooperative with the boss. Company-sponsored social events—picnics, parties, excursions, and so forth—also help to produce greater cohesiveness in an organization, by providing opportunities for employees to bond with one another in ways that translate into better working relationships.

Admittedly, employees should guard against allowing their personal life to impinge upon their job performance or intrude on coworkers. Excessive chatting about non-business topics, frequent personal telephone calls, and the like, are always distracting. And romances between coworkers are best kept confidential, at least to the extent they disrupt work or demoralize or offend other employees. By the same token, however, employees who are too aloof—sharing nothing personal with others—may be resented by coworkers who perceive them as arrogant, unfriendly, or uncooperative. The ill-will and lack of communication that is likely to result may ultimately harm the organization.

In the final analysis, employees should strike a careful balance when they mix their personal lives with their jobs. Although there are some circumstances in which bringing one’s personal life to the job may be counterproductive, for many reasons it is a good idea to inject small doses of personal life into the workplace.

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“For hundreds of years, the monetary system of most countries has been based on the exchange of metal coins and printed pieces of paper. However, because of recent developments in technology, the international community should consider replacing the entire system of coins and paper with a system of electronic accounts of credits and debits.”

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

The prospect of converting the world’s monetary system of metal coins and printed paper into a computerized system of credits and debits is intriguing. Opponents of the idea regard a digital economy as a dangerous step toward a totalitarian society in which an elite class dominates an information-starved lower class. My view, however, is that conversion to a digital economy has far-reaching economic and social virtues that outweigh the potential risk of misuse by a political elite.

Supporters of the idea of “digital cash” view the move to a digital economy as the next logical step toward a global system of free trade and competition. Herein lies the main virtue of a digital economy. In facilitating trade among nations, consumers worldwide would enjoy a broader range of goods at more competitive prices.
In addition, a digital economy would afford customers added convenience, while at the same time saving money for businesses. Making purchases with electronic currency would be simple, fast, and secure. There would be no need to carry cash and no need for cashiers to collect it. A good example of the convenience and savings afforded by such a system is the “pay and go” gasoline pump used at many service stations today. Using these pumps saves time for the customer and saves money for the business.

A third benefit of such a system is its potential to eliminate illegal monetary transactions. Traffickers of illegal arms and drugs, dealers in black-market contraband, and counterfeiters all rely on tangible currency to conduct their activities. By eliminating hard currency, illegal transactions such as these would be much easier to track and record. As a result, illegal monetary transactions could be virtually eliminated. A related benefit would be the ability to thwart tax evasion by collecting tax revenues on transactions that otherwise would not be recorded.

To sum up, I think it would be a good idea to convert current monetary systems into a system of electronic accounts. The economic benefits, convenience and savings afforded by such a system, along with the potential to reduce crime, far outweigh the remote loss of a significant social or political shift toward totalitarianism.

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“The best way to give advice to other people is to find out what they want and then advise them how to attain it.”

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above. Support your point of view with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

Some people think that the best way to advise people is simply to find what they want and help them attain it? In my view, this method is generally not the best way to proceed in advising others; it ignores the plain truth that many people do not know what they want and do not know what is best for them.

My main reason for rejecting this technique is that people very rarely have any clear idea of what they want. This applies not only to consumer items such as clothing, cars and luxury items but also to what they want out of life in general. In fact, numerous studies have shown that most people cannot list the ten things they want most out of life, even if given considerable time to think about it.

My second reason for rejecting this method is that more often than not what people want is not what is best for them. Parents continually face this problem when advising their children. For example, suppose a child wants to quit school and get a job. Surely, the parents would be derelict in helping their child attain this want instead of convincing the child that continuing education would be in his or her best interest.

Admittedly, following the proposed advising method would result in a high rate of compliance, since the person being advised would act consistently with his or her own will by following the advice. However, as noted above, acting according to what one wants is not necessarily desirable. Proponents of this method might also point to college counselors as models of this technique. However, college counselors should not necessarily be held up as models for advising people generally, let alone as models for advising students.

In conclusion, I do not agree that the best way to advise people is to find what they desire and help them achieve it. In my estimation the pitfalls of such a technique outweigh any of its potential advantages.

Peer Review: on a scale of 1-6, how would you rate this essay? Please post your ratings in the comments below!

“There is only one definition of success — to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this definition of success? Support your position by using reasons and examples from your reading, your own experience, or your observation of others.

The speaker here defines success simply as the ability to choose how to spend one’s life. Under this definition, people who have the freedom to do whatever they want at any time they choose would presumably be the most successful ones, while those who have no such freedom would be the biggest failures. Viewing the definition in this light reveals three serious problems with it.

The chief problem with this definition of success is that by the definition nearly all people would be regarded as failures. The reason for this is simple. Most people have extremely limited choices in what they can do and when they can do it. In other words, unrestricted freedom of choice is a luxury only a few people—perhaps a handful of tyrannical dictators and ultra-wealthy individuals—can afford.

Secondly, people who have a high degree of freedom in choosing their lifestyle often acquire it through means that would not earn them the accolade of being successful. For example, lottery winners or people who inherit a great deal of money may be able to spend their life in any way they choose, but few people would regard them as successful merely due to their financial fortune.

A third reason this definition of success is unacceptable is that it repudiates some of our basic intuitions about success. For most people, success is related to achievement. The more you achieve, the more successful you are; conversely, the less you achieve the less successful you are. Defining success in terms of freedom of choice ignores this intuition.

In sum, the proposed definition of success is far too limiting, and it belies our intuition about the concept. I think that most people would agree with me that success is better defined in terms of the attainment of goals.

Peer Review: on a scale of 1-6, how would you rate this essay? Please post your ratings in the comments below!

“All groups and organizations should function as teams in which everyone makes decisions and shares responsibilities and duties. Giving one person central authority and responsibility for a project or task is not an effective way to get work done.”

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above? Support your views with reasons and/or specific examples drawn from your own work or school experiences, your observations, or your reading.

Which is a more productive method of performing a group task: allowing all group members to share in the decision making, duties and responsibilities, or appointing one member to make decisions, delegate duties and take responsibility? The speaker’s opinion is that the first method is always the best one. In my view, however, each of these alternatives is viable in certain circumstances, as illustrated by two very different examples.

A jury in a criminal trial is good example of a group in which shared decision-making, duties, and responsibility is the most appropriate and effective way to get the job done. Each member of the jury is on equal footing with the others. While one person is appointed to head the jury, his or her function is to act as facilitator, not as leader. To place ultimate authority and responsibility on the facilitator would essentially be to appoint a judge, and to thereby defeat the very purpose of the jury system.

By way of contrast, a trauma unit in a hospital is a case in which one individual should assume responsibility, delegate duties and make decisions. In trauma units, split-second decisions are inherently part of the daily routine, and it is generally easier for one person to make a quick decision than for a team to agree on how to proceed. One could argue that since decisions in trauma units are typically life-and-death ones, leaving these decisions to one person is too risky. However, this argument ignores the crucial point that only the most experienced individuals should be trusted with such a burden and with such power; leaving decisions to inexperienced group members can jeopardize a patient’s very life.

In conclusion, I agree that in some situations the best way to accomplish a task is through teamwork-sharing responsibility, duties and decision making. However, in other situations, especially those where quick decisions are necessary or where individual experience is critical, the most effective means is for one individual to serve as leader and assume ultimate responsibility for completing the job.

Peer Review: on a scale of 1-6, how would you rate this essay? Please post your ratings in the comments below!

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I really like the style of the guide. It's concise and provides clear examples. I only wish I had found it sooner since I'm taking the test in two weeks. Thanks guys for sharing this information.
- Chris A. Oestereich MBA, PMP
President - Metro St. Louis PMI