April Bimonthly Meeting Focuses on Records Management and the Pursuit of Happiness

The April 24 TSABAA bimonthly meeting introduced attendees to the benefits of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and a presentation on how life factors affect happiness.

tslWhat the Library and Archives Commission can do for you

Sarah Jacobson, Manager of the Records Management Assistance (RMA) Unit of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, said her agency provides several programs of interest to state employees:

  • Library Development and Networking
  • Talking Book Program
  • Archives and Information Services Division (ARIS)
  • State and Local Records Management Division (SLRM)

Many employees are already familiar with the need to keep or destroy records based on records retention schedules. Jacobson told the group that her agency:

  • Reviews and approves records retention schedules
  • Operates the State Records Center for temporary storage of inactive records
  • Provides records management support

Jacobson defined records management as “The application of management techniques to the creation, use, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of records for the purposes of reducing the costs and improving the efficiency of recordkeeping.”

Retention rules are needed because of the Public Information Act, the Open Meetings Act and Records Management Laws.

Jacobson said records should not be kept indefinitely because there are consequences such as storage costs and legal risk, not to mention the time it would take to retrieve requested records.

On the flip side, agencies cannot indiscriminately destroy records because criminal penalties exist for early destruction or tampering with these records.

Jacobson said the RMA can assist state agencies with information on records retention, disposition, electronic records, laws and rules, emergency preparedness and schedule reviews.

Each agency has a Records Management Officer (RMO) responsible for:

  • Administering a records management program
  • Disseminating information to and training employees
  • Surveying/Inventorying agency’s records
  • Preparing and submitting retention schedule to TSLAC

All current state agency retention schedules (and amendments) are digitized and available on the TSLAC website.

Employees seeking training can find training at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Library and Archives Building or use the convenience of Webinars or Online Classes. An annual e-Records conference will be held on Nov. 18, 2014.

For more information on the TSLAC and the services it provides, see Jacobson’s presentation or email the staff.

happyHow life factors affect happiness

Raj Raghunathan, Professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business, the University of Texas at Austin, spoke to the group on the seven deadly happiness sins and the seven habits of highly happy people.

He said the seven deadly happiness sins are:

  • Sin #1: Not defining happiness in concrete terms
  • Sin #2: Harboring negative misconceptions about happiness
  • Sin #3: De-prioritizing happiness
  • Sin #4: Seeking importance over absorption
  • Sin #5: Being needy/going it alone
  • Sin #6: The need to control others (and life)
  • Sin #7: Distrust of people and life

Raghunathan provided a list of habits that would help people have a more positive outlook on their lives:

  • Habit #1: Practice gratitude
  • Habit #2: Reflect on functionality of happiness
  • Habit #3: Prioritize but don’t chase happiness
  • Habit #4: Get lost (in intrinsically motivating activities)!
  • Habit #5: Perform small acts of kindness
  • Habit #6: Own your emotions (and live healthy)
  • Habit #7: Trust others and life

He said the happiest people find a sense of contentment in any situation – it does not depend on others or a particular status. Raghunathan said the “keeping up with the Jones” mentality leads to stress rather than happiness.

He explained an attachment theory from an experiment with rhesus monkeys. Given a choice of a wire-framed doll that freely provided milk and a cloth-covered one, the monkeys spent considerably more time with the cloth-covered one. Although it appeared to provide nothing, the cloth-covered doll gave comfort and perhaps happiness to the primates.

For more information, see Raghunathan’s  presentation.

About the Author

Ann Fowler

Ann is a writer with the Comptroller’s Fiscal Management Division.

Ann Fowler can be contacted at: ann.fowler@cpa.texas.gov.