05 November 2009

Choices and Traps

I feel that many of us elude ourselves into "satisificing" choices, especially in this down-turned economy. The word satisfice is the invention of Herbert Simon combining the words satisfy and suffice. The concept of making a satisficing choice is when a set of criteria are met and thus (as the criteria has been met) a decision is made. That is not to say that this is the best solution.

Example: You have a job offer for your minimum required amount in a location that fits your commuting needs. It also has the 3 weeks of vacation time that you desire. Do you take the offer? As far as the model goes, your criteria have been met. But, is it the best solution? Does it maximize your earning potential? Will this be a good fit for you?

In my situation, I feel that it will be difficult to meet my criteria. I will, therefore, be more likely to be at the mercy of the satisficing choice. To some extent, this is why I chose to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), but I did not pass. The good news is that I was not caught in the "obscure trap" where I may have been strung along for months and then not make it to a job offer. This may have resulted in months of wasted time. (As a side note, I wasn't planning to only pursue the Foreign Service as a career option. That would be ridiculous.)

What about you? Do you take the "easy way"?

I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm in the midst of making my list of priorities. I am stepping back, deciding what I really want, strategizing, and executing my plan.

I am reading What Next? The Complete Guide to Taking Control of Your Working Life by Barbara Moses, PhD. The exercises are helpful in uncovering where I should be looking and how I should be prioritize my needs and desires. I thought I knew what I wanted in the MBA, but perhaps didn't take enough time to really understand my wishes.

Now, I'm taking my time because I can and the job market is less than desirable. I have endless choices and need to avoid those persnickety pitfalls. When I know what I want, I'll be targeting for it, and it will be mine.


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