Create Your Own Luck at Work

By Nicole Crimaldi

Consider those who have made it to the top of their fields. They didn’t get there by accident.

Promotions, great job titles and management roles are not given away for free.  At the same time, they aren’t always given to the person you might expect.  Have you seen this happen in your workplace?

For example, compare Employee A and Employee B:

Both employees are very talented at the work they do.  Employee A gets to know her co-workers, she volunteers to take on things she hasn’t done before, she actively participates in office events, she picks the brain of those in positions she wants to be in, she asks for what she wants and listens to advice on how to get there.

Employee B is quite possibly more talented than Employee A, but she doesn’t have time for office chat and lunches.  She’s way too busy getting her work done and re-checking it’s accuracy to make time for these “distractions.”  She doesn’t bother stopping in management’s office to ask for advice, say hello or start a career conversation because she sees a huge divide between her and “them.”  She believes accuracy and focus will get her promoted.  She feels she works harder than Employee A, so she will definitely get promoted first.

Who is going to get “lucky” when it comes to promotion time?

Not Employee B.

Why? Because management looks at Employee B as a great “worker bee,” someone whose talents are best used for accuracy and getting large quantities of work done.  She is viewed as someone who would prefer not to be caught up in “people issues,” innovating change or the big-picture view of the organization.   

Do you agree or disagree?  Who would you promote?

And we all know what happens next: Employee B is angry, confused and says “Well, Employee A just got lucky.”

Folks! The truth is, many times we create our own luck at work.  Too fluffy for you?

Well, here are some ways you can create YOUR own luck at work:

Constantly expand your circle within your organization.This can be done through saying hello at the coffee pot in the morning, volunteering on a committee, organizing a fundraiser, giving suggestions, or reaching out to others in different departments.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You’re not always going to know what you’re doing.  If you don’t get out of your comfort zone how are you going to learn something new, meet new people, or have new opportunities?

Know that EVERYONE needs to seek out support and resources to get to the next level. Start seeking. Now.

If someone suggests that you meet someone, make sure you do. Even if it is for an awkward 30 seconds.  Down the road you will likely see them again and have more opportunities to build the relationship.

We’ve all heard it before: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” In this example, preparation consists cultivating relationships, meeting new people, demonstrating your career goals and commitment to your organization, working hard, and getting out of your comfort zone.

How else do you think people can create their own luck at work?

Nicole Crimaldi is the founder of mscareergirl.com, a personal and professional development blog for ambitious young professional women.  Nicole works in Finance in Chicago.

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