There are a few different ways of saying it, but a popular business saying is “Price, Quality, and Service, Pick any two.” It’s generally known as a good rule of thumb that your product or service can not be best in all three. It’s not an exact science by any means, but the phrase definitely falls into the realm of a good generalization. Here are some examples:
Apple, Lexus, Disney, Crystal Cruises = Service + Quality – but the price leaves much to be desired. In fact if your an average wage earner you most likely can’t easily pay cash for these products.
Aldi, Trade Contractors, Community Colleges* = Quality + Price – but lacking high quality service. That flooring contractor does a great job.. when he shows up.
T-Mobile, Walmart, Aftermarket Earbuds = Service + Price – Nice and responsive, but they just can’t “hear me now”.
How does this affect the Professional Individual Contributor, specifically jobs.. Individual contributors are buying a product.. they are paying with their high quality professional skills, time, effort and focus. The key is what type of product do they want to buy? What is the mix? Usually this becomes a lifestyle question. Do I want to work 70 hours a week with the promise of getting rich.. do I want to work 40 hours a week, maybe 50 and have a more relaxed work environment.
FULL DISCLOSURE: *Disclaimer: I work for a community college. It’s filled with very nice people who bend over backwards every day to help the students.. what i’m talking about when I discuss ‘service’ is the delineation between the service at a community college or state university where the student is expected to be responsible for moving the process forward.. vs. the concierge level service you get from a private university. A community college is simply not set up to check in with students and assist them every step of the way – sometimes weekly – from initial contact through graduation. Many private universities do exactly this.