Saturday April 25, 2009

Last night #2 son and I were having a conversation about luck versus hard work.

#2 daughter won a pair of box tickets to see the KC Royals game in a random drawing. That’s obviously just luck. No hard work involved, though she might have had to go to the trouble of writing her name down or something .

But #2 son was saying that some people work hard and get good jobs and succeed, and some work hard and fail, and some don’t work hard and yet still get good jobs and succeed. Maybe, but I’d have to see the raw data on that. I agree with Samuel Goldwyn, who said, “I believe in luck. The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

#2 son likes to brag about getting good grades without studying. Yet those who know him will agree that he throws himself with passionate intensity into things that he cares about. He ends up with hard work and success in those areas, without identifying it as a result of his having worked hard, and I think it spills over into other areas.

He was saying that while #2’s success at her job is about hard work, #1’s was luck. I can’t agree. She caught the eye of someone who had the power to hand out jobs, because she was working hard in an entry-level job. She was recruited away from that entry-level job and amazed her new boss by how hard she worked, and has gotten promotions steadily since. How is that luck rather than work?

I feel amazingly lucky about my self-employment. I think the WJS will perhaps never use the interview they did with me because it was too  happy — it sounded like I lost my job and then just through luck was able to do well as a self-employed person instead. But I’ve actually worked quite hard.

Sometimes it might be that success is a matter of being in the right place at the right time, but the right place is hardly ever going to be hanging out in your living room watching TV, right?

Today I have handbell clinic, where I’ll work hard and almost certainly fail, because while I am no longer the world’s worst handbell player, I’m still very bad. It should be fun anyway, though.


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4 responses to “Saturday April 25, 2009”

  1. ozarque Avatar

    I’m with you — and the scientific research is with you. It’s not luck; it’s hard work. Years and years and years of hard work.

  2. lostarts Avatar

    I’m in the middle. I think you need hard work, but no matter how hard you work, you may not get anywhere without a little luck.

    I’ve worked very hard for employers who not only didn’t recognize it, or even say thank you, but had nothing but verbal abuse for me.

    I had an employer who called everyone together to tell us we had to work harder, that we had lost money on every job in the shop in the last month, except for one, and he didn’t know why they’d really made money on that.

    I could tell him why. I put in half the actual time that was on the time cards for the job. During my half of the time, I did ALL the typesetting, ALL of the inking, and about a quarter of the paste-up. The rest of the time went to the other 3/4 of the past-up.

    And that was typical for jobs that I worked on. But this employer never lost an opportunity to yell at me and do all in his power to make my life miserable.

    The last few years I worked, I spent more than half of my time fixing the messes that were made by kids just out of college. They had no idea how a press works, and would consistently turn out things that couldn’t be printed on a press.

    But when I lost that job, they consistently got the jobs I was rejected for because their employers thought that because they just got out of college, they knew what they were doing. They thought so, too. They were wrong.

    Hard work got me five years of searching for a job without getting one.

  3. chanthaboune Avatar

    It’s partially work and partially knowing the best times to call attention to yourself.

    If getting noticed is seen as lucky, I think it’s misread sometimes.

  4. fibermom Avatar

    @chanthaboune – 

    Well, and of course the good things in our lives are gifts from God, so we shouldn’t be all proud of ourselves.