Beyond the Immediate Paycheck | The Long Tail

Graph for making decisons

The opportunity arises to be involved in a specific activity. The choice you have to make, then, is: should you or should you not engage in it? Unless it’s a dire situation where someone needs your help and you have to act now, people will generally think:

“What’s in it for me?”

It’s not a bad thing to look out for yourself, to make sure that whatever you are getting into will be in your best interests. The problem lies with the time frame some folks use to determine whether to say “yes” or “no.” Too often, the short-term time frame is the one given greater (or perhaps, sole) consideration; if there’s not a fairly rapid ROI, the answer is “no.”

How often is there a quick payout that has lasting results? Not often. If something is done to garner a big, fast win, it runs the risk of being a short-term gain, long-term loss; thus begins the vicious cycle of finding more short-term gains to offset the long-term losses.

And then there are those opportunities that have more of a “long tail.” They may require a great deal of work in the beginning with a small return, but, in time, those rewards becomes more and more evident. A few examples of putting in the time now to get the payout later include:

  • Getting a degree
  • Volunteering
  • Accepting a position that may not be your ideal, but there is room for advancement
  • Starting a business

Only you can determine which choices are worth the investment of your time and effort, but to make those decisions exclusively on the timing of the payout could set you up to miss out on some amazing opportunities.

What have you done when given the choice for a short-term or long-term payout? How has it worked out for you?

Image courtesy of TopRankBlog

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