Saturday, September 1, 2012

Making the "Right Choice"

The start of September marks the end of my summer of respite, and as a result, the beginning of my job search in earnest. I have lots of potential roads ahead of me: moving back to the developing world and establishing myself as a technology expert there, joining a more conventional small tech company in Silicon Valley or New York, going back to one of the big hitters like Google, or something entirely different. And so, for the last few weeks, I've had the question on my mind: How will I know if the choice I make is the right one?

This question originally emerged in a conversation with a good friend who had also just finished her master's at Cambridge. She was in the predicament of having to choose between a job doing refugee work in Cairo, which I thought sounded pretty cool but apparently had a number of suboptimal components, and waiting in the UK a bit longer to see if she could figure something else out. "How do I know if I'm making the right choice?" she asked me. How do any of us know? How would I know when it came to be my turn?

After contemplating for a while, I concluded that, as far as I can tell, there are no right decisions. We're all navigating our lives with imperfect information. There is no universally optimal algorithm. We can only see what's in front of us and base our decisions on the experiences we've each had. And so, I've come to believe that much less depends on these "big" decisions than how we deal with them once they're made. There are countless decisions we make each day, and what makes them right or wrong is how we deal with the outcomes they bring. (In fact, looking back, it's often been the little, seemingly inconsequential decisions that have had the biggest impact in the long run.) With an upbeat attitude, enthusiasm, and intelligence, I'd bet you could make just about any well reasoned decision into the right one.

Am I right? We'll see as I begin this big process of decision making myself.


Bob Ryskamp said...

When you start with good options, it's hard to make a "wrong" decision. And you've got lots of good options!

Mikey said...

A positive attitude begets positive things.