Make Your Own Career “Luck”

How big a role does luck play in your career? Is it a good idea to, in essence, put your career on autopilot and trust to luck to work things out advantageously for you? Even if you tend to be a great believer in luck, I have a few words of caution for you: Remember that luck comes in two varieties–good and bad. Letting luck take charge of your career could be a really bad idea.

How Do You Make Your Own Career “Luck”?

When I started thinking about this blog topic, I decided to Google “career luck” and see what popped up. It turns out, this is already a popular topic! One of the first things I found was an article titled “8 Ways to Make Your Own Career Luck” by Allison Kade, posted in April 2012. Of course, some of the links my search turned up didn’t really have much, if anything, to do with career luck, but that’s par for the course in many searches. The point is, a lot of people seem to think about luck in connection with their careers, as evidenced by a report on a LinkedIn survey of employees in several countries regarding how lucky they believe they are in their jobs.

Certainly, good things sometimes come to people who don’t seem to have tried very hard–if at all–to make those things happen. It’s known as serendipity, although sometimes we find that serendipity (luck) had a bit of a helping hand. Regardless of that, I’m assuming you would rather not trust completely to luck to ensure having a successful career–emotionally fulfilling, financially rewarding. In that case, you might find the following tips worth pursuing:

  • Determine what you want from your career and the obstacles and challenges that could get in your way, keeping you from achieving your goals. Identify practical steps you can and should take to prepare you for those–as well as some you might not specifically have thought of.
  • Do your best to connect with and surround yourself by people who have a strongly positive attitude about their own careers and a tendency to reach out helpfully to others when they can.
  • If you aren’t already actively engaged in continuous professional enhancement and engagement activities, start now! The presence you create becomes associated with you in the minds of others, and you never know when that will pay off in more ways than just making you feel good about yourself.

What Can You Learn from “Lucky” Career Events?

If you experience a good-luck career event–such as an unexpected job offer or a promotion you didn’t dare hope you would land–enjoy the moment, but don’t become so wrapped up in the thrill of it that you fail to examine it a bit. Did it really just fall into your lap, or were there contributing factors that put you in the right place at the right time? For example:

  • Your voluntary contributions to a major outreach activity in your community could bring you to the attention of someone inside or connected with the sponsoring organization that either has or knows of a position you would be great for.
  • If you worked particularly hard and well on a critical project that made your whole group look great in the eyes of senior management, that just might have had something to do with the promotion you received.
  • Supplying job leads to people you know who are looking–and might have been unsuccessful in their search so far–can brand you as more of a giver than a taker, and if one of those people lands a position because of your sharing, it’s a good bet he/she will remember you when an opportunity comes along to return the favor.
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2 Comments on “Make Your Own Career “Luck””

  1. Terry J says:

    As someone who has had some “Lucky Career Opportunities” I have to say it’s not all just luck. Every little decsion you make, even if it’s just casually mentioning to a friend some skill or talent you have has contributed to my career. Don’t overlook the little things and remember to be grateful for the opportunities you have been given.


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