Saturday, November 16, 2013

Massage Education & Sunk Cost Fallacy

Sunk Cost Fallacy:  the idea that a company or organization is more likely to continue with a project if they have already invested a lot of money, time, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do...

Science has proven that massage therapy cannot increase circulation, spread cancer, cause miscarriages, dehydrate you, or remove toxins.  When last I checked, these myths are still perpetuated in schools and practices.  Why?  Part of the problem is a lack of research literacy, so even with the evidence under one's nose, how do you make sense of the damn thing?  Another problem is that we don't want to admit that we're wrong, especially after investing two year's worth of time and money.

My BA gave me my first real experience with the sunk cost fallacy.  Three-quarters of the way through my studies, I realized, "There's no room for my interests in this economy," but with only a handful of credits standing between me and graduation, I put in the extra year.  Was it worth it?  That depends on what you consider to be a payoff.  I was looking for a career, but today's mantra is, "You're better off having a degree than not."

To be fair, some people understand the situation.

We experience this fallacy under menial circumstances, as well.  This past summer, a few friends and I decided to check out a festival.  A garlic festival, if you've ever heard of such a thing.  Under normal circumstances, the drive would have taken roughly half an hour.  With everyone in the valley heading the same way, it took well over an hour.

Twenty minutes in, a couple of us were nauseated from the congestion and stop-and-go traffic.  Forty minutes in, we wanted to turn around and go home, "But we've already come this far..." so we continued.  The sane thing to do would have been to turn around and go home, but after putting so much time in, we wanted to see a payoff*.

After you put all that time, energy, and especially money into anything, you don't want to turn around and say, "Well, that didn't work.  I think I'll put even more resources into something else, now."  You want to see a point and purpose.  You want some sort of validation for your effort.  Until I found myself elbow-deep in massage studies, I had not seen this desire expressed so strongly.

Rasmussen is a private college of various disciplines, but everyone had to take Human Biology, especially Health Sciences.  The course curriculum was the same for everyone, and for this reason, I'm fairly certain that everyone was required to find out why we don't need to drink 8 glasses of water every day.

As a general rule, just drink when you're thirsty.

Unfortunately, we grew up with this soggy "8 glasses per day" myth.  It stayed with us as we learned how Columbus alone knew that the world is round, brain cells never regenerate, and you'll need to know how to write in cursive for high school, college, your anyone using cursive?

When we spend so much time believing one thing, it takes a reckoning force to make us see and accept otherwise.  We seem to enjoy bashing Columbus, so most educated people know he did not "discover" the world to be round.  With the advent of computers, many are rejoicing over solid evidence that we actually don't need to use cursive.  I don't know of anything so righteous that debunks the 8 glasses myth.

My massage classes still discussed how very important it is to drink so much water (and it must be water) every day.  We were supposed to be able to assess someone's daily intake by the feel and color of their skin.  We were supposed to encourage clients to drink extra water after a massage to flush toxins, and we discussed the dangers of neglecting to do so.  After two years and tuition, how can anyone expect us to admit that this was all wrong?


Well, naturally, but that's another discussion.

*The driver insists it was worth it, because we had to try the garlic ice cream.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Off-Topic - National Adoption Month

In business classes, we're cautioned about mixing personal and professional interests.  We'll inevitably step on someone's toes, at some point, and that's bad for business.  My business is too new for me to say, "I don't care," but here it is:  I don't care.

November is National Adoption Month.  I come from a very blended family.  My paternal uncle is adopted, my grandparents helped raise me and my brother until my father remarried (it takes a village!), said marriage giving us a great step-family, and I can't count the number of "uncles" I had growing up in the military.  The holidays were a blast.

I had the opportunity to share this with a class while attending UW-Green Bay.  The assignment was to present our respective heritage.  I could sum it up with "military & geek culture", but that wouldn't fly.  I went over the usual stuff, proclaiming what a typical American mutt I am, but the two most important factors were my military and step family.  Nobody in either of these camps had any obligation in my upbringing, but they were there, they're part of who I am, and I can't imagine my life any other way.

Following my presentation, a classmate caught up with me after class.  Her boyfriend had two children from a previous relationship, and she wanted to hear more about what it's like being a step-child.  We chatted for a bit, and my answer to her final question sums up the experience for me.
Q:  Do you get along with her?
A:  She's my mom.  We have our ups & downs, but she's my mom.

I could have said, "Oh, yeah!  We're like this!" and done the little finger-linking thing, but that would have fallen short of the truth.  I wouldn't risk providing any false hope or horror, and the military provides a special form of strife to add to the teenage years.  And you know what?  My friends had similar issues with their own families; biological, military, or other.

I don't have the 1950's, white-picket fence, 2.5 (point five...?) children image of what makes a family.  That certainly isn't what my family ever looked like, and I won't tolerate any insult to my mom insisting that "it isn't the same" unless I bear the child myself.  I don't know if I'll have 2 children or 5, but I don't plan on taking 9 months out to make one.  If it happens, my husband and I will be happy, and we'll be especially curious as to what sort of creature our genetics will create, but this isn't a prerequisite for family.  For all we know, our first child might be waiting for us as I type this blog.

Learn about adoption and foster care:
- How to Foster (November 23rd)

Friday, November 1, 2013

LIKE me on Facebook!

Actually, no, don't do that.  You see, I'm not really on Facebook.  I am the Communications Officer for my AMTA-CA Unit, and I have a dummy account to play referee for our unit's page.  After enjoying 5 years of mayhem, I quit Facebook in 2010.  I regret disappearing without giving friends (real friends) much notice, but I don't regret leaving.

Like many others who've made this decision, it gets a little annoying when we see Facebook integration everywhere.  On Google+ (yes, I'm a user; yes, there's plenty to be said about Google integration, as well), I saw that Whole Foods was holding a pet photo contest.  You just needed a picture of your pet in, on, with, or mutilating one of their bags.  Like many pet owners, I knew I had the winning photograph.

I clicked on the link for the rules, and the first thing you have to do is log into Facebook and *Like* them.

"You have an account!  What's the problem?"

A couple of problems.  First of all, I like them in real life.  We can still be friends in real life without Facebook mediating.  Secondly, for all intents and purposes, I'm not on Facebook.  Thirdly, this was posted on G+.

"They're cross-posting.  So what?"

They've probably got some widget they punch information into that sends it to G+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, alike.  It's nothing personal.  It's very impersonal, now that you mention it.  But no matter which network you're using, Facebook is still god-emperor.  Everyone's on it, so we'll host everything through it, post everything to it, share everything with it, and if you're not in this walled garden (oh, yes...I went there), it's you're own fault.

It goes without saying that this isn't just Whole Foods.  A couple friends of mine are still circling some level of higher-education, be they undergrad, masters, or crazy PhD.  One of them has a professor who expressed an interest in posting assignment details in a Facebook group he created for the class.  This friend is not on Facebook.

If this were 2005, when Facebook didn't require DNA samples for verification, this might not be such an issue.  It would have been silly, since the university has its own network for assignments and forum discussions, but now?  Mutual friends and I encouraged this friend to go talk to the Dean.  This professor is essentially forcing everyone to use Facebook; a corporation that requires more information than some (not enough) are comfortable handing over.

"So, what's your point?"

My point, if I must have one, is that I won't ask you to *like me on Facebook*, +1 me on G+, or follow me on Twitter.  I understand that many people are using Facebook for their online presence and influence, but this is not for me.  It means more if you're on my table, talking to your friends about my business, or actually interacting with me in these social mediums.  I also have this little blog to say, "Hey!  Look at me!"