Cashing In On Psychic Income
In our September 14 posting, Managing Your Emotional Investments In A Job Search, we talked about the gambler’s fallacy as it relates to job hunting and offered some tips on how to navigate the waves of emotion that arise as you look toward securing your next job. In this companion piece, we discuss psychic income, why it can sometimes be more valuable than any other currency, and how to know when to cash it in for opportunities.
In their book, Groundswell: Winning In a World Transformed By Social Technologies, Charlene Li* and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research discuss the phenomenon of psychic income–the intangible revenue or satisfaction that comes from participating in certain activities. An example could be the feeling you gain from making a certain purchase or working on a project that calls upon your creative ability. Because of my genuine interest in people, I derive psychic income from reading, writing, listening, and conversing on almost any topic. So if it were not for bills, I’d do almost any job for free if it allowed for authentic engagement of some kind. But because most of us do have bills, we’ll talk about the financial implications of psychic income.
In Groundswell, Jeff Stenski is attributed to have potentially saved Dell over $1 million simply by answering questions on Dell’s Community Forum. Why has Jeff spent the equivalent of over 123 workdays a year on this forum answering questions about optical drives for free? The answer of course is psychic income. Jeff loves to contribute and this forum gives him an opportunity to do so. As we mentioned in The Ultimate Interview Secret, there are rewards that come from seeking to contribute to your industry or area of expertise and these rewards can be cashed in.
For starters, as long as you are contributing, your skills will keep current. This has tremendous value. Added to this, in a depressed market, there is a definite value in engaging with people who have the ability to skillfully transfer their enthusiasm. This is known as salesmanship and believe it or not, the purchases that we usually feel the best about are usually laden with the psychic income we earned from engaging with the salesperson. In a world where we have global access to products and services, it is actually the psychic income embedded in those products and services that is the differentiator. What do you think this information can do for your interviewing skills?
So knowing this, doesn’t it make sense to keep track of your psychic income just as well as you do of your financial income? We think so. That’s exactly why this blog exists. As recruiters we know how taxing the job search can be for everyone involved. With so many things to consider when making a hire, disproportionate amounts of psychic income can be strewn about with many feeling like they didn’t get the ROI they were hoping for. Our goal with CareerAssist is to give back to the candidate pool for the time and energy they share with us when they talk to us about the opportunities with our clients. It may not be the job they were hoping for, but we hope that it contributes in some way.
So if you take anything from this post–whether you are on the job market or engaging with someone who is–let it be this. Psychic income is part and parcel of every relationship no matter how much time is involved. So be wise in your deposits and withdrawals.
*Charlene Li has since become an independent thought leader and Founder of Altimeter Group.