Decision making in a digital world

Am I on the right path in life? The Tinder generation in the workplace; swipe right and you might just find a better option…

Welcome to 2018, where freedom of choice is both a blessing and a curse. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that we make up to 35,000 conscious decisions a day (and approximately 226 of these will be food-related decisions). I struggle deciding what to have for dinner – a mere 0.6% of the daily decisions made – so it makes sense that thinking about where my career will be in 5 years’ time results in a little less shut eye. In a world with a never-ending list of options, the paradox of choice constantly leaves you thinking… “what if?” or “I’m happy, but could I be happier?”

So, what do you do? Well, I turn to social media in the hope of finding others with the same predicament, searching for consensus. The Internet has made it so simple and easy to connect like-minded individuals; geographically disparate but connected on a digital level, with access to more knowledge than ever before. I’ve started to think this might not be the best option.

Honestly, that wealth of information means that we’re constantly bombarded with opinions, marketing and ideas. Millennials are already renowned for having trouble with decision making. The world is very much our oyster, yet the sheer scope of choice is crippling. Technology has opened the door to infinite possibilities and inundated everyone’s brains with new influences – brand, personality, culture, appearance and so on.

Matt Haig accurately describes technology and the prevalence of social media in his recent publication: ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’. “When you get wrapped up in it, it can make you feel like…you – or your online personality – is stock [inside a stock exchange]. And when people start piling on, you feel your personal share price plummet”. You don’t even have to be active; even just observing, you subject yourself to the views on the World Wide Web. I’m able to check the location of a restaurant, reviews of a new movie or how well a former classmate’s career is going; all just at the click of a button. And whilst you might think you’re able to distance yourself from the opinion of others, when it is so immersive, when does ‘IRL’ start and digital stop?

Hertalis works in an industry where the traditional recruitment model places a price per head, a fee for placement. Whilst we’re trying our hand at ‘redefining resourcing’, societal pressure and the prevalence of social media means it’s easy to make comparisons. Perhaps the challenge lies in de-commoditising yourself; finding a degree of separation from a highly opinionated Internet matrix.

What do you do to switch off? – Melissa

 

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