What the experts say
An end to the ratings game
The traditional performance review is on a “deathwatch,” said Lydia Dishman in FastCompany.com. Companies have coasted through performance reviews since the 1940s, and workers have hated them. No worker ever said, “‘Yay, it’s time for my annual performance review!’” In the 1970s they were used to scale back raises. Later, they became an endless time suck. At the accounting firm Deloitte reviews took 1.8 million work hours. Software company Adobe killed annual reviews after calculating that they took 80,000 hours from 2,000 managers. “Talk about a counterproductive way to spend the workday.” No matter what the result, the performance review wasn’t a good way to deliver it, One study showed that negative feedback didn’t improve work—neither did positive feedback, which got “misconstrued and failed to motivate.”
Grad school borrowers are struggling
“It’s time to start worrying about graduate school debt,” said Jillian Berman in MarketWatch.com. Most personal-finance experts haven’t bothered: Graduate education should help you get a better job, conventional wisdom goes, so the loans get paid off. “But a report released this week by the Brookings Institution calls that assumption into question.” When grad students start repayment today, they have an average of $65,000 in debt, compared with $19,400 in 1990. More people are struggling to repay grad school loans. Part of the problem: Of grad school debt, 17 percent now comes from for-profit schools, whose graduates are more likely to default. One idea: “tying a school’s loan eligibility to the repayment rates of its students.”
Bipartisan hope on medical bills
“Have some faith” that bipartisan compromise is possible on certain pocketbook issues, said Ron Lieber and Tara Siegel Bernard in The New York Times. There will be plenty of legislative gridlock in the 116th Congress, but some compromise is possible. Two issues that stand out: Legislation with bipartisan support aims to protect consumers from unexpected bills caused by “balance billing”—charges they thought their insurer would pay. Another proposal puts “curbs on black marks from medical debt.” A law to cull some medical debts from credit reports already passed with GOP support. There’s a chance that broader restrictions on the “toxic stew of error-prone” reports could pass in the next session.