We part with money all the time. When I plunk down my hard-earned (trust me, it is) change for that new pair of shoes I rarely experience buyer’s remorse. On the other hand, when I gingerly place my check in the envelope for this week’s YAP application uncertainty fills my being. During those “hobos live better than I do” grad-school years I opted to abstain from pricey applications in favor of keeping my money. Not that I did anything better or more productive with it. Without the promise of pleasurable purchasing experience it just felt better to save it rather than send it out into the ether.
Am I experiencing buyer’s remorse with my career?
The anxiety associated with buyer’s remorse has many causes. The buyer fears they purchased the wrong product. It could also be that the buyer believes they purchased for a bad price, purchased instead of waiting for a newer model, purchased in an ethically unsound way, purchased on credit, or purchased something that would not be acceptable to others.
I will not fully launch into my “opera is a pyramid scheme” diatribe at this moment. I will merely say that ripping that check out of my checkbook feels worse when I feel like the company might be duping me into a “bad price” or an “ethically unsound” application fee.
Application fees serve a specifically designed plan. Opera companies force you to concede your money so they can pay people to listen or play for your audition. The fee also compels you to think about your decision to apply for their prestigious program. What we write on the memo line of that check is the deciding factor in buyer’s remorse. I’m thinking, “Is this the right program for me? Am I ready for this level? Should I spend my money on other options?”
This brings me back to my shoe purchase. When I swipe my debit card I know that I get to take something with me. I get to parade those sexy red-soled shoes around town. When my app fee leaves my hands, I get an opportunity. I may just be paying to get a cursory glance at my materials and a nice email that says “Thanks, but no thanks.” I can’t parade that email around town.
So, how do I prevent buyer’s remorse in my career? Reconnaissance.
Before I buy those shoes I get to try them on and see other styles. I shop around. I resolve to shop for YAPs from now on. I know my style and the size of my voice. It is imperative that I know everything about my voice before shopping. This is where shopping with a friend might be very useful. Your friend will be a sounding board and a co-conspirator in your research missions. Remember, as a collaborator you need to return the favor.
Now, it is time to make the YAP fit. What kind of voices do they hire season after season? What is on the playbill this year? Am I perfect for most of the shows they are doing? What can I show them that will make them realize they need me?
I would hate to have this come across as some sort of “All Life is Like Sex and the City” essay. Alas, it kind of works in this situation. Armed with the same basic knowledge I use when I shop for shoes, season after season, I am ready to carve up the YAP world. And… so are you.
- Say Bye Bye To Buyer’s Remorse With These Nail Polish Samples (refinery29.com)
- Why Retail Therapy Feels So Darned Good (mint.com)