It’s not just us. It’s not just you. Choice overload, making work work, analysis paralysis — it’s everywhere you look. Just a few quick hits:
Surfing for Mr. Good Date? Technology Review reports a new study out of the Harvard Business School that suggests that, when it comes to online dating, you might still be better off letting your Auntie Marge set you up. Or, uh, going back to your local pub.
The study found that cyberdating, with it’s freakishly large supply of would-be beaus, leads to cognitive overload. In other words, bad decisions or no decisions at all. The study found that would-be daters spend about 12 hours a week searching for and emailing Mr. Right. The payoff? About two hours of awkward face-time. According to coauthor Michael Norton, date seekers
“evaluate each person only superficially, never investing the time and energy to explore whether a match might work.” Having too many options raises our expectations of potential matches too high, leading to an “often fruitless search for an ideal person who may not exist.” Incessant browsing for Mr. or Ms. Right may be exactly the wrong decision …
Back to the buzzkill of opportunity cost? Another study out of Taiwan also found that online dating often led to, well, bad dates. The reason? You guessed it: too much information. Pai-Lu Wu from Cheng Shiu University and Wen-Bin Chiou from the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan concluded that
“more search options lead to less selective processing by reducing users’ cognitive resources, distracting them with irrelevant information, and reducing their ability to screen out inferior options.” In other words, when faced with cognitive overload, date-seekers evaluated as many matches as possible, even ones that weren’t a good fit, and they were less able to distinguish a good option from a bad one.
In other words, choice overload strikes again. Which leads us to this comforting hit of validation from Wicked Local, a news site out of Dennis, a very cool town on Cape Cod. The story reported on an upcoming event at a local inn with three successful “chick lit” authors — Lynn Bonasia, Jane Green, and Jennifer Weiner, author of “In Her Shoes.” Weiner tells the Wicked that her stories are inspired by real life:
“I’m especially interested in the choices women of my generation face — we’re probably the first generation to have the relatively high-class problem of too many choices about career, family, marriage and timing — and I think that, in a way, my books are attempts to answer those questions for myself and for my readers,” she said.
Fiction follows fact, yet again.
And finally, again. MediaWeek reports that Candace Bushnell (In case you’ve just woken up from a ten-year nap, she wrote “Sex and the City”) has teamed up with More Magazine to produce a web series — Honestly, I have no idea what that might be. But I digress — on women’s work issues.
More editor Lesley Jane Seymour said she hopes the series will become the “next Lipstick Jungle.
“It’s funny, and a lot of women will recognize themselves,” she said. “There’s the Millennial and Boomer women, all representative of different crowds we see in business.”
Funny? Well, sometimes. Let’s scope our the series before it starts. Back in the real world, and on a slightly more serious note, what would top your list of those work issues? Tell us: anything from work-life balance to blowing that first paycheck.
And there you are. The Zeitgeist. It is us.