What matters more, the process or the goal?

Hacking employment, improving work, professional development
TopHatFox
Posts: 1989
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:07 pm
Location: FL; 25

What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by TopHatFox » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:37 pm

What matters more, the process or the goal? Does picking job A over B matter less than the process of keeping expenses low and income high? The reason I ask is that the number of choices right now are high, and I need to way to filter them.

Jumping back and forth between positions can be stressful. I'm trying to figure out whether the position or even industry itself really matter as long as it's in the ballpark and I stick to it.

daylen
Posts: 1199
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by daylen » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:45 pm

I think you should do what you feel as an INFJ, :P .

From a logical standpoint, perhaps you need a better system for making decisions.

Scott 2
Posts: 1343
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by Scott 2 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:13 pm

The goal establishes a metric to guide the process. As the metric grows stale (ceases to drive positive adaption), it needs to change. It may be you can tie a new metric back to that over-reaching goal, it may be you've learned enough that the goal itself must change.

On easy mode, your process consists of a set of complementary behaviors, which produce a positive feedback loop, ultimately creating a self sustaining system.

That's how I read the web of goals Jacob describes.


Early on, I made the mistake of fixating on the arbitrary goal at all costs. It's effective until you burn out, and for me anyway, the lifestyle was shitty.

User avatar
Dream of Freedom
Posts: 415
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: Nebraska, US

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by Dream of Freedom » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:06 pm

I'm not sure you can separate it so easily outside of your own head. You need to go through the process to reach the goal. So you can either go through the process and get the fringe benefits of learning new things, meeting interesting people, and having a real purpose or you can suffer through it, doing nothing meaningful for 8+ hours per day.

The_Bowme
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:59 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by The_Bowme » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:28 pm

I think the connection of the process to the goal is not under your control, and something you have imperfect information about. Even the attractiveness of the goal from your own perspective is something you have imperfect information about (see Dan Gilbert's Stumbling On Happiness).

So maybe it's a false dichotomy, given that the process is the only thing you control regardless of whether you frame it as focusing on the goal or the process. Just like in a poker game, all you have is process, regardless of results. But maybe life is a poker game where you don't know the probability distributions, or which hand wins.

But I don't have much career history, so take this with a huge grain of salt. Maybe just how I rationalize my choices in retrospect. I did like Cal Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You on this subject, which I know Dragline mentioned a lot.

BRUTE
Posts: 3803
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by BRUTE » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:49 pm

which is more important, food or shelter? depends on the context. the question is meaningless without context.

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by ZAFCorrection » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:57 pm

Assign utils to every point in time under various scenarios, determine your discount rate, and npv it. :D

BRUTE
Posts: 3803
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by BRUTE » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:15 pm

as an Austrian, brute prefers listing all possible options in a preference-ordered list, but without assigning a specific value of "utils" or whatever to them.

plantingourpennies
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:11 am
Contact:

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by plantingourpennies » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:29 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:37 pm
Does picking job A over B matter less than the process of keeping expenses low and income high?

I'm trying to figure out whether the position or even industry itself really matter as long as it's in the ballpark and I stick to it.
Assuming you're in "the ballpark" for income, the process of:

1. Keeping expenses low
2. Keeping income high
3. Learning how to stick with something hard and succeed

is critical.

No need to optimize the industry/job for FI. You're not there to climb the corporate ladder or make a life as a white collar worker; you're just there to make as much money per year for 4-5 years while making sure they don't fire you for being an oddball.

Simple.

Campitor
Posts: 872
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:49 am

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by Campitor » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:33 pm

@THF

Perhaps this may help:
  1. Define your goal (ERE target amount)
  2. Define the most efficient means/mechanisms to achieve your goal; make a list of several options.
  3. Review each option in step# 2 and determine which is the most efficient and the least expensive in terms of desirability.
  4. Once you've determined what your best choice is (step# 3), determine the walk away cost of your selection: bad boss, too much overtime, short lunch breaks, etc.
  5. Commit to your choice 100% and throw all other options away - burn the boat.
  6. Look for a job that conforms to your list and walk away from the job only if it exceeds the walk away cost defined in step# 4.
  7. Rinse and repeat after leaving a job; its important to keep redefining your list as you learn more about your tolerances and preferences.
The importance of the process or the goal is irrelevant because both are important and both are vulnerable to change in accordance with one's growth and/or circumstances beyond one's control.

Seppia
Posts: 1090
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by Seppia » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:47 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:37 pm
What matters more, the process or the goal? Does picking job A over B matter less than the process of keeping expenses low and income high? The reason I ask is that the number of choices right now are high, and I need to way to filter them.

Jumping back and forth between positions can be stressful. I'm trying to figure out whether the position or even industry itself really matter as long as it's in the ballpark and I stick to it.
I personally think you're looking at it wrong.
You are young and just starting your career. Assuming you will keep expenses low, almost any job will get you to the goal within a certain timeframe.
Whether you will feel that time frame to be excruciatingly long or relatively short will depend more on how good a fit you are with your career than the actual time length itself.
2 years in accounting or logistics would feel much longer to me VS 5 years in sales, for example.
Also consider that if you do something you like (or dislike less) you are significantly more likely to do it well, which will mean a faster career path.

IlliniDave
Posts: 2606
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:01 pm

If I'm understanding correctly the job choice is independent of the "process" as you define it assuming the jobs are comparable and you are not talking part-time Walmart greeter versus a full-time professional gig.

In the general sense the answer is "it depends". Depending on the person the goal might be the ultimate desire and the process then would be subservient to the goal. But if goals are more vague and lifestyle is the more important consideration, then the process takes primacy of place and results fall where they may. In my case it is a mixed bag. I have some goals I am willing to adjust my lifestyle to attain, others I am not. I wind up striking a balance. For example, in the lifestyle spending domain I'm far from the most frugal here, but IRL I'm probably a 90-percenter when it comes to frugality in my demographic. I think that's what you'll have to do--strike a balance unique to you. Often there are not objectively right versus objectively wrong choices in our decisions.

TopHatFox
Posts: 1989
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:07 pm
Location: FL; 25

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by TopHatFox » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:33 pm

plantingourpennies wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:29 pm
TopHatFox wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:37 pm
Does picking job A over B matter less than the process of keeping expenses low and income high?

I'm trying to figure out whether the position or even industry itself really matter as long as it's in the ballpark and I stick to it.
Assuming you're in "the ballpark" for income, the process of:

1. Keeping expenses low
2. Keeping income high
3. Learning how to stick with something hard and succeed

is critical.

No need to optimize the industry/job for FI. You're not there to climb the corporate ladder or make a life as a white collar worker; you're just there to make as much money per year for 4-5 years while making sure they don't fire you for being an oddball.

Simple.
I like this. It's simple and easy to keep track of. You're right that I'm not there to climb the corporate ladder or make a living as a white collar worker. I'm not there to make the perfect LinkedIn resume. I'm just there to make 60-150k/yr by being a good salesperson. The good news is, I like my co-workers and boss at this new executive recruiting job. It's just that a few other recruiters have reached out to me to be a financial planner, a junior analyst at a hedge fund, and to work as a bilingual analyst at a multinational bank. #humblebrag apparently...

Anyway, I think I like sales more than being a number person. Your framework will help a ton with doing good work and wanting to improve. From my journal, my base number is 200K, now I just have to learn to stick to something hard and succeed! And burn the boat. While having a submersible in case if I get canned~

EdithKeeler
Posts: 985
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:43 pm

Does picking job A over B matter less than the process of keeping expenses low and income high?

Too many variables, IMHO.

Look: if you could make $50K a year shoveling horse poop in the hot sun for 8 hours a day, or sitting in an air conditioned office for the same amount of time and the same amount of money, which would you do? Most people are going to take the AC and the chair... but there are some people who hate being indoors, love being around horses, and don't mind the heat.

To me, ERE is about establishing the process and the system inside a lifestyle you can live with. Maybe it's about picking a point on the continuum that works for you. You COULD, theoretically, find a job that you HATE but that will pay you $200k a year and keep your expenses super low by couch surfing at friends and dumpster diving for food and sourcing free clothes and other needs and save 99% of your income and retire in 2 years to do whatever that amount of money will afford you. You COULD also, theoretically, work at a job that you enjoy 70% of the time that pays $25K a year in a small town where it's really cheap to live, and save on expenses by living with a compatible roommate, growing your own food, and shearing your pet llamas and weaving cloth for your clothing. You are able to save only 50% of your income this way, but in 6 years have sufficient income to support your lifestyle and can retire.

Is choice A worth it if every night you hunker down lonely on a pallet in the corner of some acquaintance's living room and cry yourself to sleep because you're alone and also have a stomach ache from eating scavenged food and you're depressed because you have to go tomorrow to spend another day at that shitty job? Or is choice B more attractive, where you live a pretty minimal life, but eat lovely salad from your garden every night with a nice companion and can go to bed looking forward to a decent day at a job you mostly don't hate? I know I'd pick something closer on the continuum to Choice B than Choice A. (The trick is sometimes you don't recognize Choice A until it's too late...).

I'm repeating my advice from another post here, but do a job, any job for a year or so. See what you like, see what you hate. Fill your life with lots of experiences--see what you like, see what you hate. When you have a negative experience (like the date you wrote about on the other thread), instead of complaining about it, learn from it. "Next time I'll suggest coffee instead of a meal, and if the conversation turns to politics, I'll politely say I'd rather not talk politics and change the subject." Hey, another life tool in the toolbox. Remember, too, that having a recruiter "reach out to you about a job" is NOT the same thing as being offered a job, is not the same thing as being able to do the job, and doesn't mean you'd LIKE the job. Do any of those jobs sound like anything you'd really LIKE to do? if so, explore them. If not, don't.

Here's a secret: very few people end up with their dream job, dream life, dream income, dream partner. Some do, and it's certainly worth seeking. But there are times that you end up having to make a choice between two crappy options--you just pick the best one and make the most of it. So maybe you take the job shoveling horse poop, or the other job you hate. You learn something and then use it to eventually move on and find something better, and while you're doing that, you use your ERE skills to sock money away so that one day, when faced with 2 crappy choices: "Hey, I can either move to Topeka and keep this job I'm not crazy about or take the buyout and quit," you check your bank balance and realize "Hey, I can take the buyout and quit for good!"

TopHatFox
Posts: 1989
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:07 pm
Location: FL; 25

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:17 pm

@Edith, good points. Whenever I'm complaining about something, I'm almost always learning something and using that information going forward. Call it venting with a purpose.

Most of the recruiters are reaching out for junior finance people. Like people with an Ivy League education and a finance internship. There's a commodities trading firm that I have a second round interview with this Tuesday. I'd get to use Spanish and put together deals with an international crew. I think it's worth exploring, but I've also grown to like the people I'm working with now and my boss. Of course, I could also end up liking the folks at the trading firm. Stability would be nice to have.

James_0011
Posts: 393
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:00 am

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by James_0011 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:41 pm

I'm going to share my process of analyzing jobs. You can take it or leave it, but here it is>

1. Write down a list for every job you've had of the things you didn't like about it
2. Note whether the things you didn't like were universal across all jobs (example: sitting at a computer for 8+ hours), or problems that were specific to the job's context (example: a shitty boss).
3. Compare all your lists, and see if the things you don't like about working are mostly universal, or specific to a particular job
4. If the majority of the things you don't like are universal, then take the highest paying job you can as you cant escape the problems
5. If the majority of things you don't like are specific to a certain job, then don't take the highest paying position and consider other factors

conwy
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:06 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by conwy » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:45 pm

It's just that a few other recruiters have reached out to me to be a financial planner, a junior analyst at a hedge fund, and to work as a bilingual analyst at a multinational bank. #humblebrag apparently...
Not sure if this crossed your mind already but... be careful about getting "dragged into" other people's agendas! Lots of people, especially recruiters (!), will look at a very successful profile such as yours and have all kinds of ideas of where your next move should be. These ideas are often connected to their agendas, and may or may not actually be the best move for you.

Take some time on a regular basis to envision your ideal job. Include everything - the work itself, location/commute, day-to-day work conditions, salary, long-term goals. Get out a pen and paper if it helps. Or find a friend or counsellor to talk it out with. Also, frequently compare your "ideal" with what's actually out there on the job market, especially if salary matters a lot to you.

The clearer you are on what you want, the more easily you'll spot the diamonds in the rough. Remember, 9/10 of everything is shit. :)

Don't be too analytical. Trust gut feelings and intuitions a lot. Especially when judging potential employers/co-workers after an interview.

If you find yourself extremely uncertain or seeking a challenge, don't be afraid to try something a bit new, different or outside your comfort zone.

Otherwise go for the job that you do well, you know you love, you know you can sustain over long periods of time, and (hopefully) isn't easy to automate or offshore!

EdithKeeler
Posts: 985
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:28 am


Most of the recruiters are reaching out for junior finance people. Like people with an Ivy League education and a finance internship. There's a commodities trading firm that I have a second round interview with this Tuesday. I'd get to use Spanish and put together deals with an international crew. I think it's worth exploring, but I've also grown to like the people I'm working with now and my boss. Of course, I could also end up liking the folks at the trading firm. Stability would be nice to have.
You know, it’s interesting to me that the thread currently below this one is one started by you on December 1, and it’s about how you are thinking about going back to school to get a masters in social work. Less than 30 days later you’re thinking about a career in international finance or commodities trading. To me I can’t think of two careers more different from one another. Have you thought about talking to a career counselor to help you focus your thinking on this a bit?

7Wannabe5
Posts: 5193
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:11 am

@James_011:

Excellent suggestion for analysis. I have found that it also works when choosing which old man to date. They're all grouchy, so you might as well pick the one who takes you to the best restaurants ;)

Jason
Posts: 2321
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: What matters more, the process or the goal?

Post by Jason » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:04 am

I look at it in terms of a painting. You have a conception and you are trying to create the actual rendering. This way there's no bifurcation between goal and process, and there is a constant persistence of meaning, which is the engine for a constant vitality. I guess I'm talking basic synergy. You are not moving back and forth between the two, and avoid a Machiavellian dichotomy i.e. doing sucks, but achieving is great. For instance, it is a well known fact that many Olympic medal winners find themselves in therapy after winning because the joy in winning doesn't ultimately satisfy soon after they end up back home sitting on their bed, staring at a gold object in a box. Warren Buffet looks at his job in similar terms. He refers to his portfolio as a work of art, like he's staring at his own Sistine Chapel. I guess that's why he's always calling me up for advice, being that we are philosophically on the same page.

It's like great athletes, who spend time practicing in order to perform. The ones that integrate at the highest level are artists. That's why Phil Jackson tried to convince Michael Jordan not to retire by saying he would be depriving the world in the same way Michelangelo would have deprived the world if he didn't paint.

Now the issue becomes my job sucks. Well, I would say this is historically conditioned sentiment. Finding fulfillment in jobs is really a luxury. Most people used to work with the idea that the basic act of providing for one's family was what brought one satisfaction. I don't see the cavemen after a long day of work sitting around the fire and saying to each other "I can't wait until this clubbing dinosaur phase of my life is over in order I can dedicate myself to that idea I had of making something that actually rolls." I mean I wasn't there so maybe I'm wrong. But even if I am who fuckin cares because no one was there and I'll just insist I'm right being that no one else was there either.

However, I had dental surgery yesterday so this could be the oxycontin talking. I'm sure if I read what I just wrote I wouldn't even state it in terms of a question.

Post Reply