It took Clare Trapasso nine months of scouring the market in three states, touring dozens of homes, losing multiple bidding wars, and rescinding another offer on a fixer-upper that would need more work than they could afford to put in, before she and her partner finally closed on a cute, renovated Cape Cod outside of New York City last year.
Along the way, Trepasso, who is a writer for Realtor.com, learned a few things that no amount of writing about the housing market could teach. If you’re on the hunt for a house, her article could be valuable to shortcut what has become a very complex system.
Like home buying, finding a job can take an emotional toll. You get your heart set for a company, the job’s specs seem tailored to you, and then… nothing. Human attitudes for big decisions like buying a house and finding a new job range from deep despair to “it wasn’t meant to be.”
On the employers’ side, attitudes range from “no compromises,” which could reveal inability to prioritize, to letting the chips fall where they may with radical resume filtering machines and personality-attitudinal tests, which at best reveal risk aversion.
At worst they signal a desire to have a “chip to choke” in case the best test takers turn out to be not so good for the business.
Technocrats won’t hesitate to point out that tech makes operations easier. A coordinated series of techniques for reducing the amount of information that requires processing, technology is a method of control that supports efficiency.
Bureaucracy is also a technology. Think about that for a moment, nobody is responsible.
But is this a problem of the individual facing the decision, or is it one of the system? A little bit of both.
The paradox of choice
We’re immersed in a culture of more. In neoclassical economic terms, the incentive is to acquire, accumulate, buy, consume, and get bigger. There’s an infinite amount of choices goes the narrative.
But more choices don’t translate into better outcomes.
In fact, the opposite is the case: they may make you less satisfied with your choice. Greater choice paralyzes us and makes us poor strategists. When we’re called to make decisions of consequence, more creates confusion, it buries signal under a mountain of noise.
Options become a distraction.
More options become a delaying tactic that prevents us from doing the work of making clarity around who and what creates value.
Choice is good up to a point.