Blue Meridian Partners, whose donor partners include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ballmer Group and the Sergey Brin Family Foundation.

Others contributing to the fund are the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Schmidt Futures, led by Eric Schmidt, former chief executive of Google.

For Social Finance and its backers, the career impact bonds are not traditional investments. For them, breaking even or a small return would be winning — proof the concept is working, which should attract more public and private money.

“We need to move toward evidence-based funding,” said Jim Shelton, chief investment and impact officer for Blue Meridian Partners and a deputy secretary of education in the Obama administration. “And Social Finance is supporting programs that show it can be done.”

The Social Finance income-share agreement with students ranges from about 5 percent to 9 percent depending on their earnings — less from $30,000 to $40,000, and generally more above $40,000. The monthly payments last four years. If you lose your job, the payment obligation stops.

“Our investors aren’t after high returns. They’re primarily after social impact,” Ms. Palandjian said.

When screening programs, Social Finance looks for those that offer training for specific skills linked to local demand, and have data to show that its students graduate and get good-paying jobs. In selecting a skilled-trade school, Social Finance, working with Burning Glass Technologies, which analyzes job-market data, sought a program for an occupation in demand with potential for the worker to move up the career ladder.

American Diesel Training, based in Columbus, Ohio, met the requirements. The for-profit company’s program is designed as a short, intensive course to train entry-level diesel technicians, mostly for trucking companies and dealerships.

Demand for diesel technicians is robust as more goods are shipped by truck, often delivering products ordered online, and baby-boom mechanics are retiring. There is an accessible career path to become a senior mechanic or into administration as a service, distribution or shop manager.

American Diesel Training, founded in 2017, succeeded in placing students in jobs in its first few years, but remained small.

Before Social Finance arrived, Tim Spurlock, co-founder and chief executive of American Diesel Training, looked into financing through income-share agreements offered by venture-backed start-ups. The terms, he said, were far less favorable for students.

“Social Finance comes at it from a completely different angle,” he said.

The first group of Social Finance-funded students started the five-week course last September. There are now about 70 students in each course. That is about four times as many as a year ago.

Social Finance pays American Diesel Training just over 60 percent of its fee initially. The rest comes later, after a student lands and keeps a job.

“I’m fine with that,” Mr. Spurlock said. “We’ve completely proven our educational model. The problem was the funding mechanism.”

A total of 229 students supported by Social Finance have been enrolled. The graduation rate is nearly 100 percent, and 89 percent have jobs. Their average annual income is $36,500, and the average gain from income before the program is $12,400.

Today, Mr. Barber, who saw an ad for the program on Facebook, works in Ohio for U.S. Xpress, a national freight-hauling trucker. As an entry-level diesel technician, he is mostly doing preventive maintenance on trucks. With diesel mechanics in demand, the company paid him a $2,000 signing bonus and a relocation fee.

Jordan Battle earns about $43,000 a year as a diesel mechanic for a large trucking company in Atlanta, far more than she did as a contractor for a civic education organization.

That job ended with the pandemic, so she decided to go for “something essential and to have a real skill others don’t.” She was accepted in the American Diesel Training program, and she was offered a job after three weeks, before she graduated. Practice interviews, résumé building and introductions to employers were part of the curriculum.

“That’s where the program really stands out,” she said. “They fight for you.”

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Sorry, Sometimes You Do Have to Be Uncomfortable

That said, you can do only so much and, frankly, you have done enough. You may well be surrounded by people who are unwilling or uninterested in living in the real world where diversity exists. If that’s the case, it could be that you need to move to an organization whose values are more aligned with yours.

I work for a nonprofit, where I’ve been employed for most of the past 30-plus years. I’m a bit of a workaholic. A few weeks ago, my manager asked everyone at a meeting to say what our stress level is, on a one to 10 scale. I said the truth: 10. One week later, the manager’s theme for her morning email was time management: Basically, anyone who says she is busy or has too much work actually has poor time management skills. I considered this to be a public shaming of me and one colleague who also self-reported a high level of stress. The email is not the only thing I don’t like about the manager, but it feels like the proverbial straw, the latest in a stream of disrespectful actions. Do all bosses do this? If I decide to stick it out until I’m eligible for Social Security, what’s the best approach?

— Anonymous, Madison, Wis.

Your manager is passive aggressive and has some toxic ideas about work culture. I don’t know that she was shaming you as much as she was judging you, which isn’t much better. But who cares what she thinks? You’re stressed out. Most people are. Your manager is just being petty. Ignore her silly provocations. You’ve been at your organization for more than 30 years. You can see the light at the end of the employment tunnel. You can and will get through this. If you have the energy for it, you can certainly look for new employment. Or you can just stick it out. You didn’t share how much longer you have to work to qualify for Social Security benefits, but I am guessing it’s fewer than 10 years. It’s time to figure out who you are beyond your work. You can be great at your job without being a workaholic. Keep doing your best, but find other things outside of work to put some of that intensity into. As I’ve written before in this column, the job will never love you. Do not invest the whole of your identity in what you do for a living because when the job refuses to love you back, when it lets you down, you’re left with nothing and you deserve much better.

I’m in the process of hiring a new writer. She impressed us all in the interview process. We made her an offer and she verbally accepted. Then she sent us some questions about details of the offer. We sent some benefit details and vague info on our growth numbers, given the nondisclosure agreement she signed.

The day her acceptance was due back, she phoned human resources — not me, the hiring manager — to say she had another offer at a startlingly high salary. She said she’d take our offer for an additional $10,000. I really doubt the level of the second offer. But others wanted to push forward and gave her a $5,000 bump. When I phoned with the counteroffer, I mentioned her competing offer and she brushed it off — ‘Oh, that, I wouldn’t take that. I’d like to work for you.’

I feel like we’ve been played. I can’t shake the feeling that she lied to us and went around me. What do I do with this feeling?

— Anonymous

Your new employee is not taking money out of your bank account. Why are you so pressed about her negotiating tactics or how much she is being paid? You don’t know for certain that she is lying about the competing offer but, if she is, she is not the first nor will she be the last person to manifest an imaginary job offer to negotiate higher compensation. It sounds as if she was savvy, did her homework and shot her shot. Let go of the feeling that she lied and circumvented your authority. She has hustle. She will, hopefully, bring that hustle to the job every day and be a great employee. If not, you will handle the matter accordingly. I understand why you are irked about the way she went about this, but that’s your bruised ego talking. Nurse the bruise and move on. You’re still the boss.

Roxane Gay is the author, most recently, of “Hunger” and a contributing opinion writer. Write to her at workfriend@nytimes.com.

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How Wall Street Deals with Banker Burnout

A former Citigroup analyst in New York who left investment banking last summer said that in normal times managers would often be busy traveling, or would leave the office at night, which allowed analysts periods to focus on their existing work without being assigned new tasks. Those breaks disappeared during the pandemic.

“They were always available and working late,” he said of his managers during the pandemic. “They knew we were stuck working late. We couldn’t do anything else. So there was no separation from work and home.”

The analyst, who worked at Citi for three years, said virtual work was particularly hard on the first-year employees. “They weren’t able to learn how to be a banker in the office. They learned it virtually, and it’s so much harder,” he said. Working virtually, he believes, has also made it more difficult for new analysts to support each other. “They just get the downside to banking,” he said. “They don’t get the upside, the relationships.”

JPMorgan and Citigroup declined to comment.

As the work has become more isolating, the amount of it has exploded. At this point in the year, according to Dealogic, the value of debt issues are running a third higher than the previous 10-year average, acquisitions are more than double, and initial public offerings are some 15 times higher, propelled by the surge in blank-check shell companies known as SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies.

“We recognize that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement in response to the first-year analysts’ presentation. “A year into Covid, people are understandably quite stretched, and that’s why we are listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.”

On Sunday, Goldman’s chief executive, David Solomon, sent a memo to employees in which he promised to enforce the firm’s policy against working on Saturdays, to shift bankers to the busiest desks and to hire more entry-level employees. A day later, Citi’s C.E.O., Jane Fraser, introduced “Zoom-free Fridays” and said that most employees could work from home for two days per week when the firm reopens its offices.

Other banks decided to work in the medium they know best: Money. Credit Suisse on Wednesday said that it would give lower-ranking employees a $20,000 bonus to acknowledge their work during a period of “unprecedented deal volume.”

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It’s My Idea. She’s Taking Credit.

She may very well be thrilled by her behavior. She may not even realize she’s doing it. You could just let this go because you actually have ideas and a sense of humor. That’s why this bothers you — you want credit for who you are and how you think. I understand. But at some point, your magpie colleague will have to figure out who she is and how to express original ideas, or she will back herself into a corner of her own making. You can only hide behind the words of others for so long.

I am a bide-my-time kind of person, which isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with this sort of thing. You have to decide how much of this behavior you can tolerate. It may be petty to correct your co-worker, but at some point, something’s gotta give! Pull her aside, privately, to voice your concerns. Frame it as: “You have a tendency to repeat my ideas and jokes. I am flattered, but would prefer you not do this.” Or you could gently ask her why she does this maddening thing. If all else fails, the next time this happens, simply ask, “Girl, what are you doing?”

Recently, the director of my department left. A co-worker and I both applied for the job. I got it, and now my co-worker radiates animosity toward me. We are complete opposites, so some of my decisions have irked her. I’ve mostly been able to deal with her anger, but I’ve also assumed she wasn’t angry at me but at the situation. However, her attitude is starting to affect the entire team.

Other employees feel silenced by her, and in trying to help them feel safe and that their voices are being heard, I’m aggravating her even more. Yet she acts like everything is normal. What do I do here? Her attitude is negatively affecting everyone. We’re also hiring new people, and I do not want new employees coming into this environment. I don’t have any kind of disciplinary power, nor am I sure that is the right decision.

— Anonymous, South Carolina

Everything is not normal, and it’s time to stop pretending that it is. Your co-worker is jealous and resentful; it happens in competitive environments. But her behavior is unprofessional. It is affecting your staff. She needs to process her negative feelings and, at least at work, move forward. I am not clear on why you don’t have any disciplinary power as a director or why it is acceptable for one person’s resentment to affect an entire team. It isn’t. I have all the empathy in the world for someone who doesn’t get a professional opportunity she covets. She is entitled to her feelings, but she is not entitled to act on those feelings in ways that create a toxic work environment. Disciplinary action may, at some point, be necessary, but there is a lot of distance between here and there.

Try and talk this out with her. Think Festivus — allow her an airing of grievances. Ask her what her ideal path forward looks like under the current circumstances. If that clears the air, consider ways you can give her more responsibility without diminishing your authority or exploiting her labor. I will assume she is good at her job because you did not speak to her abilities. Can you incorporate some of her ideas in your decision making? Or allow her to take the lead on a project? We all want to feel valued at work, and when we don’t get a promotion, it can feel like a rebuke. She just needs a reminder that she is valued. But if after these attempts her attitude has not improved, it will absolutely be time for disciplinary action of some kind. I wish you and your entire team the best as you navigate this thorny situation.

Roxane Gay is the author, most recently, of “Hunger” and a contributing opinion writer. Write to her at workfriend@nytimes.com.

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Black women were half as likely to be hired for state or local jobs than white men, a report says.

Government workers have been particularly hit hard by the pandemic. Nearly 1.4 million of the 9.5 million jobs that have disappeared over the past year came from state and local work forces.

State and local government positions account for about 13 percent of the nation’s jobs, and the sector has historically been more welcoming for women and African-Americans, offering an entryway into the middle class.

But a report from GovernmentJobs.com, a recruiting site for public sector jobs, suggests that even in this corner of the economy, applicants who are not white males can be at a disadvantage.

The study, which analyzed more than 16 million applicants by race, ethnicity and gender in 2018 and 2019, found that among candidates deemed qualified for a job in city, county or state government, Black women were 58 percent less likely to be hired than white men. Over all, qualified women were 27 percent less likely to be hired than qualified men.

The disparity was surprising. In a survey of 2,700 applicants, nearly a third said they thought they were more likely to be discriminated against in the private sector than in the public. Black Americans, who make up 13 percent of the population, rely disproportionately on state and local government jobs, making up 28 percent of the applicants for positions.

There are steps that could mitigate bias. The study found that many more Black women were called in for interviews when all personally identifying information was withheld during the application screening process — so recruiters did not know a candidate’s name, race and gender. Using a standardized rubric with specific guidelines for each score also sizably increased the number of Black women called in.

Penisha Richardson, who is 35 and lives in Newport News, Va., is a specialist in technical support at a company making printers and copiers. She remembers that when she was looking for jobs — in the public and private sectors — she got many more responses when she listed her name as Penny instead of Penisha.

“I had one person tell me I should go by Penny because it’s easier to pronounce,” Ms. Richardson said.

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