Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

As any mi­cro-econ­o­mist will tell you, there is no surer path to bad out­comes than in­cor­po­rat­ing ret­ro­spec­tive ex­penses that can­not be re­cov­ered into your de­ci­sion-mak­ing. But as the cost of ac­cred­i­ta­tion rises, the temp­ta­tion to use our de­grees and cer­tifi­cates to land high­pay­ing (but ul­ti­mately dis­sat­is­fy­ing) jobs has never been greater. The more cre­den­tials you have, the worse the prob­lem gets. One in­ter­vie­wee re­marked: “I’ve done a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in ac­count­ing, a master’s in ac­count­ing and a cer­tifi­cate of pub­lic ac­count­ing. I can’t just leave ac­count­ing.” An­other said: “I think of my de­gree first as a cash-gen­er­at­ing de­vice.” By force-fit­ting your past ed­u­ca­tion into your cur­rent vo­ca­tion, you’re in­cor­rectly count­ing sunk costs and might be clos­ing doors to ex­cit­ing pro­fes­sional paths as a re­sult.

If any of th­ese traps sound fa­mil­iar, you

Daniel Gu­lati is a tech en­tre­pre­neur based in New York. He is co-au­thor of the book Pas­sion & Pur­pose: Sto­ries from the Best and Bright­est Young Busi­ness Lead­ers ‘and a con­trib­u­tor to Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view’s Guide to Get­ting the Right Job.

© 2013 Har­vard Busi­ness School Pub­lish­ing Corp. Dis­trib­uted by The New York Times Syn­di­cate.

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