Anyone who has searched for a job fresh out of college knows how difficult it is to get that first job. Sending out hundreds of resumes, only to get a few interviews in the end – if you’re lucky! — and if you’re VERY lucky, eventually there’s a job offer on the table.

Should you take it, or wait for something better to come along the way?

It depends on whether you are a “maximizer” or a “satisficer,”. Maximizers want to explore every possible option before buying a camera, settling on a television show, ordering takeout, choosing a job. They gather every stick of information in the hope of making the best possible decision, even if they exhaust themselves in the process—and drive themselves mad when they realize, inevitably, there’s more information they missed. If you are a satisficer, however, you make decisions based on the evidence at hand, not all the evidence that might possibly exist anywhere ever.

Simply put, satisficers are more likely to cut their job search short and take the first job offer. Maximizers are more likely to continue searching until a better job offer comes along.

Which type of approach yields the better payoff?

A maximizer.

Specifically, quoting the results of a study of the job search of 548 members of the Class of 2002 by Sheena Iyengar, Rachael Wells, and Barry Schwartz, the maximizers put themselves through more contortions in the job hunt. They applied to twenty jobs, on average, while satisficers applied to only ten, and they were significantly more likely to make use of outside sources of information and support. But it turned out to be worth it: the job offers they got were significantly better, in terms of salary, than what the satisficers got.

Satisficers were offered jobs with an average starting salary of $37,085; the average starting salary offered to maximizers was $44,515, more than 20 percent higher.
易于满足者找到的工作,平均起薪是37,085美元;完美主义者拿到的平均起薪则是44,515美元, 高出20%以上。

The trouble is, however, that higher pay doesn’t make maximizers a happier group than satisficers. In fact, maximizers were significantly more likely than satisficers to be unhappy with the offers they accepted.

Evidently, being a maximizer can help you earn more income, but that income doesn’t buy more happiness, as the maximizer’s likely to agonize over the prospect of a better job offer out there he or she missed. Maximizers may have objectively superior outcomes, but they’re so busy obsessing about all the things that they could have had, they tend to be less happy with the outcomes they do get.