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跟着爱好走?

(2008-05-20 11:24:33)
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杂谈

分类: 动态关注
作者:英国《金融时报》专栏作家提姆•哈福德(Tim Harford)
2008年5月20日 星期二

较优势理论告诉我们,人们应该充分利用自己的才能。但我们也听人说,要“做你喜欢做的事情”。如果我在自己喜欢做的事情上毫无才华,又该怎么办?我是否值得花时间和精力去追求一份梦寐以求却又不擅长的职业?

乔伊(Joy)

亲爱的乔伊:

你的信写得很有才华,但它也有些含混不清:你没有透露你梦寐以求的职业是什么。不过,缺乏事实向来不是经济分析的障碍,因此不必在方法论上计较太多。比较优势理论说,你应该专注于你做得最好的事情——相对于别人设立的标准。你可以去做会计,然后花钱请厨师;或是做厨师,然后花钱请一位会计师。一项正确的选择,不仅取决于你擅长炒菜而不善于算术,还取决于这个世界是否充满了更好的厨师和更糟糕的会计师。

这个理论与“做你喜欢做的事情”之间并没有任何冲突。工作做得好,意味着你可以挣更多的钱;享受工作,意味着你不介意自己挣钱不多。选择钱,还是选择开心,你自己来决定。

但是,如果没能力做自己喜欢做的事情,你又该怎么办?其实,你的职业并非你的全部。经济学家安德鲁•奥斯瓦尔德(Andrew Oswald)深信,我们工作得太卖力,但在友谊方面却投入不足。因此,如果我的职业建议让你沮丧,那就忘了它吧。不妨去和你的朋友聊一聊。

The

law of comparative advantage suggests people should use their talent, but we're also told "do what you love". What if I have no talent for what I love? Is it worth time and effort pursuing a dream career I'm no good at?

Joy

Dear Joy,

Your letter is intelligent, but it is also opaque: you do not reveal what your dream career is. Still, a lack of facts has never been an obstacle to economic analysis, so this is no time for methodological scruples. The principle of comparative advantage states that you should focus on what you do best, relative to the standard set by everybody else. You can do accounts and use the money to hire a cook, or do cooking and use the money to hire an accountant; the correct choice depends not just on whether you are a good bean-sheller and a poor bean-counter, but on whether the world is full of better cooks and worse accountants.

There is no conflict between this principle and the idea that you should "do what you love". Being good at a job means you will earn more; enjoying a job means you will not mind earning less. Decide whether you prefer money or fun.

But what if you are incapable of doing any job you enjoy? Well, your career is not the be all and end all. Economist Andrew Oswald believes we work too hard and under-invest in friendships. So if my career advice is depressing, ignore it and talk to your friends instead.

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