A Catch-22 in the Business World

UGA’s First Year Odyssey Program offers more than 300 seminar courses for new freshmen. Some examples include “The History of Horseracing”, “Einstein and the Theories of Relativity” and “The Zombie Plague”. If you could create your own seminar course at UGA in any subject area that interested you, what would it be? What would the course be named and what would you hope to learn? Please write your response in the style of the UGA First Year Odyssey descriptions as seen on their website. (150-200 words)


Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 has been revered since its 1961 release, serving as a landmark of American literature. The infamous phrase “catch-22” -- indicating a paradoxical, irresolvable situation -- has traditionally held a negative connotation. However, when applied to the business world, it can exist as just the opposite -- an innovative practice that ensures a running company. One example, here, is The Empowerment Plan. This organization produces a waterproof and self-heating jacket for the homeless, which can also double as a sleeping bag or an over-the-shoulder bag. The catch, and unprecedented touch, is that the employees are all themselves homeless.

This embodiment of the catch-22 not only aids in the alleviation of unemployment, but brings eager, dedicated workers to the company’s doorstep -- resulting in an endless cycle of prosperity and benevolence. In line with these ideals, the objectives of my proposed course are (1) to analyze and educate others regarding the practice of a catch-22 in a business setting, (2) discuss and compose applications in which this concept will be successful, and (3) apply it in the workforce. Through discussion, students will gain an appreciation for initiating a practice that provides a...

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