When we reach young adulthood and begin managing money we’ve earned, one of the first lessons we learn is the difference between needs and wants, the benefits of living within our means, and the risks of failing to do so. We learn to sacrifice what we want: luxuries or higher-quality goods and experiences in order to afford the things we really need. For example, if we have to travel by air somewhere two to three hours away, most business people would typically choose to buy a seat in the economy section rather than in business class or first class. While the more expensive seats may provide a more comfortable and pleasant experience than the seats in the economy section, the reality is that we will get where we are going regardless of which seat we sit in, and most people would find that the difference in price does not provide sufficient benefits to make the investment worthwhile.
However, when you’re in business, the difference between a want and a need is not as readily apparent, and sacrifice isn’t always the sensible choice. Sometimes, what may seem to be a luxury may actually be a smart choice for your business. For example, if you have to take a flight across multiple time zones and then work when you arrive at your destination, a person who chooses to sit in the economy seat may not be able to sleep, may arrive at their destination sore, hungry, grumpy, and generally requiring more time to recover and perform at their best. However, a person who invested in the “luxury” of a business or first-class seat that enabled them to sleep comfortably may be fresh and ready to provide service at peak performance without requiring the time to recover from the flight.
You must judge the return you’ll get on your investment when you have a choice between paying for quality vs. making do with less. When it comes to your business, “good enough” isn’t always the best value. Measure the benefits against the cost, and sometimes you will find that what seems like a “luxury” is far more practical and rewarding than getting by with that which seems less expensive.
This is especially true when you think about the equipment you use on a daily basis to perform your job. For example, think about your writer. With the exception of your wrists, fingers, and brain, this piece of equipment is the most vital component of your job. Without it, you cannot be a reporter or captioner or CART provider. If there is a writer available that offers a better touch that will reduce wear and tear on your body, that’s not a luxury – it’s a good investment. If that new writer gives you greater peace of mind and confidence because it enables you to write more accurately, that’s not a luxury either; it’s just a sensible business purchase. Perhaps you are doubting whether you need a new writer because your current writer is less than two or three years old and you hadn’t considered purchasing another quite so soon, but you recognize that while your current writer is “good enough,” your back-up doesn’t have a similar touch, and if you need it, you would be unhappy to have to use it because the difference in writing experience will cause more stress and potentially more inaccurate results. It would be sensible to have a primary writer and a backup with a very similar feel.
So, as you fall in love with the Luminex II, as many people already have, remember that having the best available writer is not a luxury – it’s a significant benefit to your business and your longevity in the profession. Thriftiness makes sense for other areas of your life, but not for your writer. This is your livelihood, and your opportunity for success. You genuinely need the best quality you can get. If a little voice in your head tries to lecture you about “needs” vs. “wants,” remind it that your business deserves “good,” and should not have to make do with “good enough.”
Cindi Lynch is the Training Program Manager at Stenograph. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.