What the Market Requires

I’m actually getting to the point where I enjoy my job. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never not liked it, and from Day One I’ve appreciated the challenge it has been. But there were several weeks where I’d come home every day exhausted and wondering when the chaos and madness would end. And I’m happy to say it is improving. There’s still a very long way to go, but I feel better about what I do.

I worked full time for a couple weeks in order to straighten things out. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I can do everything absolutely necessary from noon to 5, instead of having to drop things or come in early because I don’t have enough time. That’s a really good feeling! While there’s a lot that I can yet improve in the conditions around me and the flow of work, I’ve improved my own efficiency so much that I truly believe I cannot accomplish any more work in the time that I’m given each day without changing processes, moving files, etc…

It occurred to  me this week, as I was talking to my boss about some issues that weren’t being taken care of, that the market is driving me to ultimate efficiency. Being super-good at shipping, for instance, isn’t good enough. I have to become super-good at processing orders. Or whatever the examples might be. The market demands that I be my absolute best at everything that is my responsibility.

For a few minutes this seemed like a discouraging idea, “no matter how much I work, I’ll have more to do…” but I eventually rose to the challenge. I love challenges. I live on challenges. Seriously. I get bored and restless when I don’t have several enormously large projects to conquer.

It is an exciting idea to me now. How good can I become? And more importantly, is my very best enough? This probably proves I’m an utter econ geek, but I really do stop during my work and think, “I wonder if my marginal utility is equal to or greater than my marginal cost to the company.” And that’s my goal. I want to contribute at least as much to the business as I’m being paid for. And I know that there are some things I could do my best at that my marginal utility simply wouldn’t equal the cost. So that’s why we have to find the position where we can offer the very best to society.

So as a young person, and as an economics student, I find the market demanding and exhilarating. As Jeffrey Tucker (I think) said in a recent article, the market is about the future. Today might be a bad day. But in business, we just get some sleep and wake up with plans to make tomorrow better. The past has little relevance, the market can shift and demand in change in a matter of hours, and your business can go from the bottom to the top, or the other way round, in the same amount of time. Combine this crazy, ever-hopeful, uncertain, infinitely optimistic outlook with the demand for only the very best, most efficient work and you get the free market. And it is a wonderful thing.

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