Saturday, July 27, 2019

Lucky (Woah) Man

A few months ago I read a book by the CEO a major online retailer who said he would rather hire a person who thought they were lucky over a person who thought they were skilled. Um, I'm not getting a job there. Sokay, despite the hype about it being a "fun" place, I don't get a vibe that the hype is real.

Now I'm reading a book that analyzed a bunch of different companies. They suggests those CEOs use planning to overcome "bad luck." I'm more in this camp, but I do think there are amazing life experiences that happen from knowing when to go with the unforeseen.

The Los Angeles Times awarded me and about 30 others small scholarships at a nice dinner and talk in their building. After our meal, they brought all of us down to the newsroom. We couldn't go in very far as we were a large group. It just looked like a bunch of cubicles. Messy empty offices filled with books and papers. Not terribly impressive.

Several months later, I had a job interview across the street from that same building. I had a contact of a guy who had visual problems who worked at the LA Times moving stories to the wire service. I'd never met him, but I thought it would be cool to see what he did.

I called and arranged to meet after I had my interview. Nice man, we chatted while I watched him work and then went to lunch. Turns out his wife ran some big department and after lunch he took me up to her office. Right into the news room and even cooler, she gave me a private tour of the paste up room, explained how they sent the pages to the printer and treated me as if I could work there once I finished my degree.

I never finished my degree and I am not that into newspaper journalism, but I'm glad I got to see all that. Wish I'd known someone in the press room so I could see that too.

Neither luck nor skill made it happen. I think coincidence, the randomness and happenstance that comes with casual networking.

I've done the active planning and seeking contacts, and it seems to not come to as much as that coincidental liaison. I do think that the planning teaches us to know what we want before we see it. I don't consider it "bad" to plan. I do think it's limiting to limit anything to only the plan. Seize the day.

I think my problem with calling coincidence luck comes from growing up in Las Vegas. Yeah, some things are chance, and one can use that to "play the odds." That just seems so erratic. I don't like erratic. I don't like being thought it and living with those around me who live it.

And there's the atheism coming into play. Relying on randomness seems like giving up my power to something beyond my control. It seems like fantasy.

I've heard that when we can't predict most of our outcome, we drive ourselves nuts trying to make things work out. Why rely or even look for something that makes us crazy? Why look for employees that want to tempt insanity? I want to do what works most of the time. I want to do what matters to me.

I think I would say that I am open to the possibilities of coincidence.

How do you view luck?

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