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Getting a Good Job is a Matter of Luck? 1

Getting a Good Job is a Matter of Luck?

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It always pains me to see good people stuck in jobs that are obviously well under their capabilities. On the opposite end, how some people ended up with their great jobs occasionally surprise me. This made me think about my own career, and wondered if luck has anything to do with getting a good job?

At first, I thought the answer was “yes, luck is a big factor.” But as I write this post and reflect on several instances where I thought I was lucky, I concluded that luck is overrated. Here are the 5 factors I felt helped my career the most:

  1. Always giving it my best — Whatever the job is, I always try my best. May be it’s pride, or may be it’s my competitive nature, but whatever it is, I like my work to stand out as great work. As a result, I have notable accomplishments to show for every one of my jobs.
  2. Managing my brand — Whether we like it or not, we are all labeled — e.g., techno wiz, smart, logical, lazy, dumb, brown noser, etc. These are the images that pop up when people think of us; it’s our reputation. Our brands can hurt, or help our career. Personally, I have established a good brand, but there are also flaws that I have to work on.
  3. Hunger for Knowledge — Constantly learning new skills and gaining knowledge is really important to me. Every time I am in a new job, I feel incredibly excited, rejuvenated, and motivated. I found that I am at my best when I am in a new job. This feeling slowly wanes once I mastered my job, things become routine, and the SSDD feeling starts to kick in. As a result, I am quite versatile and able to succeed in many capacities.
  4. Breaking the Comfort Zone — Whether it’s the desire to learn more, or the desire to earn more, I have always been willing to step out of my comfort zone and experiment. This means that I am less likely to settle into a job and let a promotional opportunity pass by — a great way to keep my skills current and salary competitive.
  5. Networking — It’s a good thing to make friends, and keep in touch with them periodically. I personally don’t mix my personal and professional lives, but I do maintain good relationships with people inside and outside the company. I also like to help matching people to opportunities. My motto is never burn bridges, and build as many as you can.

I don’t know which one helped me the most. At first, I was tempted to say it’s the networking. But I had to laugh because I am an introvert, and normally feel uncomfortable in social events. May be it’s my brand, my accomplishments, or my knowledge. In the end, I think all of these factors are essential. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if a great position opens up, and you are the most qualified candidate.

So, what do you think getting a good job is a matter of luck?

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Bill
Bill
13 years ago

Personally I think that most people who get great jobs are because of “networking”. Unfortunately, it’s very important who you know. Sometimes (and probably USUALLY) more important than how much you know. Look at Bush.

Minimum Wage
Minimum Wage
13 years ago

How do you keep your skills current if you have a menial dead-end job?

plonkee
plonkee
13 years ago

I think people tend to underestimate the role of luck, probably because it tends to average out. It makes more of a difference if you are already at the margins, as it’s difficult to climb back up if you’ve fallen off.

Raymond
13 years ago

A “good job” depends on how you look at it. If I’m working a job that pays me in excess of 6 figures, is that considered a good job? What if I hate what I do? On the flip side, what about a low paying job that is very rewarding?
-Raymond

Mrs. Micah
13 years ago

I’m thinking about trading a “good” job that pays our bills at least but makes me kind of miserable for a couple of part-time jobs and some freelance work which all are things I value and have enjoyed when I’ve done them. Hopefully ends will meet up ok. If I have to, I can always look for another full-time job… For some, getting a good job seems to be a combination of excellent timing and then doing well at the interview (their own contribution). For others, they get the timing wrong and the rest doesn’t seem to fall in place.… Read more »

Patrick
13 years ago

I need a constant challenge as well, or I get bored. I’ve got a serious case of SSDD right now. I’ve been talking to my manager about expanding my tasks and it looks like that will happen soon. Thank goodness! I’ve been going crazy!

Mark
Mark
13 years ago

It is funny to read this right now because I am about to meet with an international company in three weeks out of state. I have worked in CT, GA, AK, UT, CO, and MA for all kinds of companies, ranging from contract work to permanent employement. Some of my jobs were a matter of who you know, including the company I am meeting with soon. Other jobs were a matter of timing, especially seasonal jobs, which is more of meeting a demand than a skill. However, breaking the comfort zone, and managing my brand is the key to “moving… Read more »

Eric
13 years ago

Pinyo this was a great post, and it really spoke to me. I’ve wondered about the exact same things. I feel like I’ve been “lucky” in my jobs, but that’s really not it. I work very hard, and I go out of my way (sometimes too far) to help people when they need help. I’ve also made it a point to never say anything about anyone to another person that I wouldn’t say to their face. I work to try and bring those around me up with me, rather than step on top of them to move up. I always… Read more »

sjean
12 years ago

Hi, i visited your blog quite some time ago, and now am back. It is obvious that you have put quite a bit time, effort, and thought into it since it first started. I just wanted to compliment you on that and let you know that i think you are doing a great job and very well could become one of the top pf blogs. (Or maybe you already are! I don’t keep 100% up to date on the blogsosphere!)

sjean
12 years ago

Oh and i forgot to mention, i just subscribed to your RSS feed! Thanks for the great content!

rose
rose
12 years ago

I do agree with all your 5 factor. but i still think networking is the key. 🙂

Jonathan
Jonathan
12 years ago

I think luck is perhaps 5%. Gary Player the famous south african golfer was once told by a fan “That was a lucky shot”, to which he replied “The more i practice, the luckier i become” Personally, I think you generate you’re own luck. I used to work in IT recruitment for a number of years, but now i work in the government/public sector. I think the best jobs are never advertised and it means that job hunter have to go and sell themselves to companies/organisations. I’ve written extensively on this subject in my jobsearch blog and a detailed article… Read more »

SM Ahluwalia
SM Ahluwalia
11 years ago

Dear Mr.

I my self feel that not only luck help in new jobs but also person conviencing power which he hits the hammer on right place accoridng to their replied questions. This courge/dignity comes from reading of books/newspapers and group discussions at any time. God always in the heart of person but the majour play role of knowledge

Thanks & Regards

Getting a Good Job is a Matter of Luck?

by Pinyo Bhulipongsanon time to read: 2 min
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