Business

Don’t Fucking Call Me Lucky

“You never know, might as well try” pretty much sums up my life philosophy, especially when it comes to work.

A lot of people say things to me like “You’re so lucky to have the job you have!” “You’re so lucky that you found a job when you were young and managed to keep it through the recession.”

Hmm, yeah.

In some ways, yes I was. I was born in a country with free healthcare and a good education system. I went to a high school that just happened to have amazing teachers and staff who got me through the rocky teenage bit.

But, y’know, a lot of “luck” correlates really quite strongly with putting yourself out there and trying your damnedest to succeed.

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The number of times I’ve tried something and then quit it because it obviously wasn’t going to work, or tried something and failed drastically, is so high that I don’t think I could work it out if I tried.

And yet…

And yet. The number of times I’ve tried something, because what the hell, I might as well give it a go, and then ended up in a really fucking cool situation is also pretty damn large.

Because sometimes you have to just go for it, even when the odds are stacked against you.

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An example.

Applying for jobs is a pain in the ass. We all know this. It’s annoying to have to write cover letter after cover letter as if you actually care about anything other than making enough cash to cover the rent and put a dent in the debt you racked up studying whatever it was that didn’t give you the promised career straight out of uni in the first place.

And because of all the pain and irritation, it seems ridiculous to apply for things you probably won’t get, right?

Or is it…?

I left my old job several years ago to become a private investigator. I swiftly realised that digital forensics would be a good way to go, because the world is online at this point and keeping up with the times increases the chances of making rent.

One problem: my technical ability wasn’t exactly stellar.

Oh, and another one: the industry’s pretty hard to get into. Insular, untrusting, and filled with incredibly expensive training courses and qualifications that I could never have afforded while I was busking outside train stations in the snow to make rent.

Then I saw an ad on a site I’d signed up to in an attempt to teach myself more about the industry.

They were looking for a content editor, ideally someone who knew about social media. And had a technical background.

I ignored the second part of the job description and sent an email.

The guy called me and we had a telephone interview.

In my mind, it did not go well.

He asked me increasingly basic technical questions, until we finally got to one I could answer (“Can you name some operating systems for mobile devices?”). We hung up and I knew I hadn’t got the job. The guy was nice, but I was so underqualified.

So when a week later he asked for a second call to go over the results of the interview, I thought he was just being polite. Letting me down gently, or something.

And then he told me I’d got the job.

Not only that, but he’d put me through training courses in exchange for reviewing them.

What the hell, I thought, How did I manage to swing that?! 

What I didn’t know when I applied was that the guy behind the technical site also ran another site – a big one, in a different subject area – and he was looking for someone to help with content and social stuff for that too.

In his head, therefore, it made sense to hire this person with zero experience in one field, because she’d be able to work on both of his websites and he could decrease the number of contact points he needed for all his projects.

A few years on, we’re still working together and he remains my favourite client.

But I never would have got the work if I hadn’t applied for something that seemed unreachable.

Just like I never would have got my first full-time job if I hadn’t spent three weeks walking around London in the heat, wearing a suit and heels and dropping my CV into literally every place I passed, pitching myself again and again to managers and salespeople and receptionists until one shop owner said “Oh actually, I am looking for someone, I just haven’t put the ad up yet.”

Sold.

Just like I never would have ended up on a post-doctoral research project despite not having a degree if I hadn’t stuck around after a research seminar, gone to the pub with the head of the research team and told him some of my craziest psychological theories.

Because why the hell not?

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If it goes wrong, you never have to speak to them again. If the research project head thinks you’re an idiot, he’s just going to forget you. If the shop owner has no vacancies, they’re just going to say no. If the potential client doesn’t like your pitch, they’re just going to refuse your business.

The world’s not going to fall apart if you don’t put yourself out there.

But you might fall apart – on one level or another – if you don’t take some risks from time to time.

I honestly cannot imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t risked – and then lost, and then refound – everything a few years ago, when I quit my comfortable, secure, mind-numbing job.

But I can tell you this much: it wouldn’t be as much fun as it currently is.

So: lucky? Maybe.

Or maybe I just go out and happen to things.

What about you? What do you want to happen to you? 

Maybe consider going out and happening to it instead. 

2 thoughts on “Don’t Fucking Call Me Lucky”

  1. This is such an inspirational post, Scar – and one that I will be sharing widely! I totally agree that you have to make your own opportunities but that you also have to be brave enough to just put yourself out there sometimes. I just had an article published by a magazine that I pitched to – over a year ago. I could have followed up with my pitch, but to be honest, I just forgot about it. But then they emailed me recently and told me that they wanted to take me up on it (and pay me, which was a shocker, since everyone expects me to write for free these days). So it made me really happy – not because of the money – but because I put myself out there and someone thought I was capable enough to do the job. The more I write this comment the more I think I need to write my own post about this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Absolutely! It’s a great feeling 🙂 And congrats on the magazine! 😀

      If you do write a post then tweet me a link and I’ll read/share etc 🙂

      Like

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