Sunday, May 20, 2012

Preventing clutter: the parable of the job description

 There once was a human resource manager who was asked to find someone who could supervise the company’s workers.  The ideal candidate had to be able to communicate well and work along side the workers in the store.  The human resource manager, who we will call Zoe, interviewed three people for the job—Alice, Brittney, and Carol.
Zoe asked them what they could do.
Alice said, “I can communicate well, but I don’t like to get my hands dirty in the day-to-day business.”
Brittney said, “I work very hard.  But I’m not one for communicating.”
Carol said, “I can communicate well, and I will work along side the people I supervise.”

Who do you think should be chosen for the job-- a candidate that only filled part of the job description or a candidate that fulfilled all of the job description?

We are kind of like that human resource manager when we are going to buy something. (Hopefully we are "interviewing" the products and not just "impulsively pulling them off the street to work for us" because they look pretty. ;-))  We are happiest with our best buying decisions when we buy the product that fills all our needs, not just some of them. 

But what if we are forced to make tradeoffs?  Buying something cool-but-not-functional or functional-but-not-cool or only-partially-functional-and-cool pretty much guarantees that you’ll be back in the market looking for another one fairly soon and waste your money and space.  I speak from experience here. 

An example: Every so often my purse wears out, so I have to buy a new one. I remember one time I got a purse that was useful--lots of pockets--and nice-looking (at least to me).  The problem was, I had neglected to consider the factor of weight when I bought it; it was really heavy to carry around, and at the time I was a college student with a lot of books to lug, so my heavy purse was too much burden.  I hung onto it for a while, but eventually I decided I'd decided I had enough, so I broke down and got a different purse--one that was useful, nice-looking, and light to carry.  (It turned out to be half as heavy when full as my previous purse had been while empty!  Yeesh!)

Moral of the story--good buying decisions prevent future clutter.

Will you tell me about a time you found a product that met all your requirements when you refused to settle for half-best?  Or will you share a time when you had to buy something different because the first purchase didn't fully fit your needs?  We want to learn from you.

Do you need extra help with organizing and de-cluttering? Hire me! Go to for more information about my services! Did this article help you? Be sure to share it with your friends!

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