Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good Enough is Not Good Enough

So it's been a while...more interesting stuff coming up, really.

For now:

1.  If you have contacts in the fashion industry (any aspect) who would not mind talking to me, please let me know!  I am specifically looking for opportunities in Fashion Public Relations - agency or in-house for high fashion brands, but I would love to talk to anyone in any aspect of the field.  Spanks!

2.  Two weeks after I quit my job, I began interning at a fashion PR firm (one of the top 3 agencies I want to work for!) that represents high fashion and luxury contemporary designers/labels, and I love love love it!  God, it's weird to love going to work...not like, love.  And even weirder to leave work before 7pm...slackers

Among the other interns I have met:
-3 career changers (a former management consultant, a former auditor w/a Big 4 firm, a former investment banker)
-several people who graduated with degrees from reputable schools (many ivy leagues) that have nothing to do with fashion (Political Science, Art History, Economics, Finance)
-90% of interns have already graduated from college

What is significant about this is that the internship is unpaid - ubiquitous in many creative industries, but still mind-boggling to me.  Working.  For free.  Crazy.  Summer finance internships are usually paid starting salary (pro-rated) with perks like housing stipends, excessively lavish dinners, box seats at sports events, etc.  But in fashion, there are A LOT of well-educated, well-spoken, personable, well-dressed kids in NYC who are willing and able to work unpaid, full-time, indefinitely, until they land the dream job.  WTH?!?! That's my competition?!?!  Oh, I forgot to point out that there is zero correlation between interning and getting a full-time offer.  Ok, maybe like 2%, but that's it.  

3.  Just something interesting I came across:
Satisficers (yes, satisfice is a word, I checked) are those who make a decision or take action once their criteria are met. That doesn’t mean they’ll settle for mediocrity; their criteria can be very high; but as soon as they find the car, the hotel, or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied.

Maximizers want to make the optimal decision. So even if they see a bicycle or a photographer that would seem to meet their requirements, they can’t make a decision until after they’ve examined every option, so they know they’re making the best possible choice.

Most people are a mix of both approaches. For example, one friend was a satisficer about renting an apartment, but a maximizer about buying an apartment. As a consequence, he and his wife are renting an apartment now, because they had to move, and they're still searching for the perfect apartment to buy.

In a fascinating book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz argues that satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers must spend a lot more time and energy to reach a decision, and they’re often anxious about whether they are, in fact, making the best choice.

My mother is a good example of what I’d call a “happy limited maximizer.” In certain distinct categories, she’s a maximizer, and she loves the very process of investigating every possibility. My sister is getting married next year, and I know that my mother would love nothing more than to see her try on practically every possible wedding dress, just for the fun of it. But
too often maximizers find the research process exhausting—yet can’t let themselves “settle” for anything but the best.

The difference between the two approaches may be one reason some people find a big city like New York overwhelming. I
f you’re a maximizer, and you live in New York, you could spend months surveying your options for bedroom furniture or even wooden hangers. In a smaller city, like Kansas City, even the most zealous maximizer can size up the available options pretty quickly.

I'm a satisficer when it comes to trivial things (buying hangers), but with long term goals, I am the ultimate maximizer.  Simply "good enough" is never good enough for me.  So yes, this means that I too am determined to remain unemployed indefinitely until the perfect job at one of the top firms comes along.  Um...again, email me if you have fashion industry contacts!

What are you, a satisficer or a maximizer?

And yes, I am writing this before 6AM.  And no, I didn't go to 1OAK last night.