Maximizers and Satisficers

This is going to be a quick short blurb (relatively speaking). I was by myself for lunch today and decided to stumble a little. I came across this article titled The pursuit of happiness. I almost flipped past it when something caught my attention and I decided to read. It's an article that talks about two types of people namely, Maximizers and Satisficers. Maximizers are people that want the very best, while Satisficers are people who look for something that is good enough.

The reason I decided to write the blurb is that instead of delving on psycho-babble, this article presents a study where researchers observed, over a period of one year, how being a Maximizer or Satisficer affected the job search of some candidates. Boy, if I were in that study, they would probably have removed me from the dataset too, since I would have definitely "skewed the mean" as well :)

Here are some teaser excerpts:

The study began during the fall 2001 semester, when the job market was particularly slim.

The researchers found that the maximizers’ strategy did, at least in one sense, pay off. Maximizers received more offers than satisficers received — the average maximizer received two or three options, compared to a range of zero to 1.5 for satisficers — and their starting salaries were about 20 percent higher. However, the maximizers were less satisfied with the job they accepted, and they were more likely to want to find another job within a year.

When it comes to the broader issue of whether maximizers or satisficers are better off, Iyengar offers no advice. "It’s a very hard call, because maximizers do better on a material level, but they are less happy," she says. "That brings up an ethical question: What should we seek to maximize — peoples’ material welfare or their psychological welfare?"

Deep stuff, huh?

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