Balancing act: Readers sound off on luck at work

Published: Monday, April 9 2012 1:02 p.m. MDT

As I sat staring at my iPad screen a few days ago, wondering what I should write about this week, it occurred to me that I had not shared reader comments for a while.

Luckily, I have several I want to share — about luck.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a LinkedIn survey on luck and the workplace. The article noted that 84 percent of respondents worldwide said they believed in career luck, and about 48 percent considered themselves lucky.

That led me to ask whether readers felt they had been lucky or unlucky in work. I also asked whether people make their own luck or are driven to and fro by the whims of fate.

One reader, Danny, sent me an email to say he has had "mind-boggling" luck in his career.

"How about a seat assignment on a flight that led to a great job?" he wrote. "Doesn't get more random than that."

Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

Another reader, Christopher, wrote that he has had a successful, 19-year run at his company and felt lucky to be with the same employer for so long.

"It’s allowed me to provide a stable life for my children, rather than one punctuated by constant change and transition," he wrote. "But I think to a very large extent I created my own good fortune by working hard and consistently producing the results expected of me. ...

"However, I was recently informed that my job is being outsourced and I may soon have to leave my company, very much against my will. This is happening in spite of my longevity and proven track record of success. And I’m not exaggerating my success as one might expect. I received my company’s highest performance rating just last year and, ironically, the company has recently posted record profits.

"No, my situation really is a conspiracy of circumstance well beyond my control. Some might call it bad luck. I’m certainly tempted to, but I try very hard not to perceive it that way. Circumstances are not conspiring against me, as much as they are simply forcing an unexpected change. It’s up to me to make the most of the change. If I fail to do that, it won’t be luck’s fault, but my own."

Thanks for writing, Christopher. I'm sorry an unwelcome change is being forced upon you, but you display an amazingly positive outlook regarding your situation. I hope your track record and can-do attitude bring you good luck in the form of a great new opportunity.

Another reader, using the name "Patriot," posted a comment to the previous column on deseretnews.com.

"Luck has nothing to do with it," Patriot wrote. "You simply have a certain amount of influence with your job, and your ability to make the most of the things you have control over and blocking out the rest is the key. When you reach a point where you can't improve your situation no matter what you do, then it is time to start looking to change jobs. If you are content to just coast along, that is usually a warning sign."

That's an interesting perspective. Thanks for passing it along.

Another reader, Kari, posted a comment on my Facebook page saying she has been "incredibly lucky" in her jobs.

"But most of the time, I think it had to do with being in the right place at the right time," Kari wrote. "And I never looked at luck as something that would continue, so I worked hard to make sure those jobs or opportunities worked out for me. My mantra: 'Trust in God but tie up your camel.'"

Words to live by, for sure!

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