Waiting on Perfection

by Tim Saumier, President of TYGES

I took both macro & micro economics in college and while I don’t remember much from the classes, as I think I got a C in one and a B in the other, the one thing that I do remember is the law of diminishing returns.  The law of diminishing returns (also law of diminishing marginal returns or law of increasing relative cost) states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production while holding all others constant will at some point yield lower per-unit returns.

200906_11_perfection-1While working in corporate America I remember working with design engineers who just wanted to keep designing for what they believed was best for the customer when in fact, it seemed to be for the pursuit of perfection.  We would constantly discuss when enough was enough.  I translate this to the world that I live in today – recruiting.  It’s a very interesting time sitting in my chair as a recruiter watching clients pursue perfection when hiring and watching individuals pursue perfection in their next opportunity.

Companies think that it is a client-centric market where they can have the pick of the litter and individuals think it’s an individual-centric market where they can have the pick of the jobs. 

Well they are both right.  If you’re a client and your specifications are truly wide open you can have your pick.  But if you have very tight specifications you will be pursing these people forever and not filling the hole in your bench.  If you’re an individual pursuing the ideal company with top tier pay and ultimate flexibility, you will also be looking for a long time.

Perfect JobReality is there is no such thing as perfection in this world.  Stop looking for it.

If you’re a client, find a talented athlete who fits your culture and meets 80% of your desires and hire them. If you’re an individual and you find a company that meets 80% of your desires go to work for them.  On the client side, the cost of not having a hole filled is very high while you pursue perfection.  Stop looking for the person who has “been there done that” because they don’t want to work for you.  They want more.  Focus on finding an athlete you can develop, teach, mentor, and mold in to your culture.  If you’re in a hiring capacity you have to act like a leader.

011f22cIf you’re an individual looking for a job, get real.

Stop listening to your friends or classmates telling you lies about their inflated salaries.

Stop reading about their ideal career they flaunt about in social media.  They just want to put on the facade for their friends and family.  Focus on what you need and desire, then plan on getting 80% of that.

The point of diminishing returns highlights the fact that it’s not worth it.  A time is a coming when 80 million baby boomers exit the work force and while you are pursuing perfection, your competition is going to pass you buy.  It may be time to rethink some things.

I welcome your feedback.  You can find me on LinkedIn and at Twitter you can find me at @timsaumierTI.  Also, you can learn more about TYGES at www.TYGES.com, on Twitter @TYGESInt, or here on our blog. Our mission is simple:

We’re here to make good things happen to other people.

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