On Watch: The Editor's Eye

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Pablo A. Sierra-Carmona


In economics, we have this pretty neat term called “opportunity cost.” Opportunity cost tells us the value of what we give up when we make decision X. Or, in other words, what we could have gained if we hadn’t made decision X.

So, let’s use my favorite example: Beyoncé tweets that she’ll be in Worcester signing autographs at 1:30 p.m. But there’s a problem: you have an exam that you’ve prepared for extensively, at that same time.

But, you decide to go see Queen Bey. (Duh.) [Just kidding.]

So, what was the opportunity cost of your decision? In other words, what could have you gained if you had gone to your exam? Well, a nice, dandy A. (If you studied, of course.)

But you didn’t.

Now the question is: was it worth it? That’s up to you to decide.

My driving point here is that we constantly have to make decisions, whether it’s in the club you’re involved in, your classes or your job. Decisions are non-stop. You’ll always have to make them, and some of them might be crucial to whatever you’re doing at the time. They are truly vital to the every-day functioning of your work.

For the Provoc, I’m constantly making decisions—big and small. From, should that comma go there? To, should I run this controversial article?

I’ve come to learn that decisiveness is an art, all thanks to Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour. (She’s the inspiration for Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada.)

In an interview with CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves, Anna said: “I think possibly what people working for one hate the most is indecision. Even if I’m completely unsure, I’ll pretend I know exactly what I’m talking about and make a decision. The most important thing I can do is try and make myself very clearly understood.”

I repeat these words in my head constantly—when I’m in the Provoc office and even when I’m at the Dunkin’ Donuts line deciding which donut to get. (I struggle greatly deciding between the Chocolate Frosted and the Vanilla Frosted.) I try to be decisive, but it doesn’t come easy. But I have truly come to realize that people react well to decisiveness. It’s “healthy,” as Anna said in a BBC documentary titled “Boss Women.” (Yay, feminism.) Sometimes a straight “Yes” or “No” answer is enough. Nice and concise.

Making decisions on a daily basis is what gets us through whatever we’re doing. If we sit there and ponder with indecision, we become stagnant and make no progress towards reaching our goal. Although many would probably disagree, I think Anna’s opinion on making a decision swiftly, even when she doesn’t know for sure, works in the best interest of all. And this, although I’m far from attaining it, is what I’m trying to achieve. Some of my decisions might work, others might not, but the important thing is learning from those experiences.

Most of the time, if not all, I rely on the thoughts and opinions of my editors and advisors. And that’s also how I constantly learn. Without them, I couldn’t do my job well and the Provoc itself wouldn’t function. Delegating work isn’t easy—it comes with trust and confidence that your staff will execute their duties well. And, as I sit here on a Friday Halloween Night, senior year of college with a 101° Fahrenheit fever and a sore throat writing my nerdy/questionable column, all I can be is but appreciative to my editors who have worked tirelessly this deadline weekend without me to get the paper out and running.

Thanks, guys.

Provoc and Prosper.

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