I don’t make it a secret that I like my job and where I work. Although the commute is harsh, I work for an association who has an extremely generous benefits package and perks. I telecommute two days a week and am always grateful for this benefit. This month, all full-time employees each recently received an iPad3. Yes, this is a wonderful, exciting perk. This is not the first time my employer has generously provided funding for its employees to purchase technology. Selfishly, we hope it won’t be the last either.
Is it lucky that I work there? Some would say yes. I challenge that. Luck is what you make of it. For my children and their friends, I want you to understand how luck really impacts you. As you grow up and deal with life, you need to understand when good judgement matters and how you make your own luck.
Six years ago, my job search was strategic followed up with a little patience. I wanted to get back in to association publishing. I knew that most of the associations I would work for would not be located where I lived. Since moving my family closer to Washington, DC, was not realistic, my choice was to commute by car or by commuter train. Given my lead foot and impatience, commuting by train was the best option. So, I only sent resumes to associations located within reach of the commuter train and Metro system. And I waited for someone to call. Was I lucky that I had a job while looking for a new one? No. I was strategic. Don’t quit your job expecting to find a new one. Find the new one first, then quit. And provide plenty of notice, as a courtesy, to your employer. Yes, even when it’s a low level job when you are in high school, college or new in your career. Never, ever burn your bridges. It’s not worth it.
The fact that I telecommute doesn’t happen simply because I show up for work. First, I work for an association that offers this benefit. You can pick up on this in job search descriptions and interviews if the employer mentions it. Second, when I first started, as I do today, I show that I do my work, on time, within budget and without major error. I am strategic about our publishing efforts. I develop my staff so that they have the skill set they need to one day take my place. Does that make me nervous? No. It makes me secure. If my employees can’t do my job one day, then I have failed as a manager. Is this luck? No, it’s skill and emotional intelligence.
My boss knew my work ethic was above reproach, so when I proposed a telecommute day, she agreed. When I asked, 18 months later, for a second telecommute day, she agreed again. I have had two bosses since, both of whom have upheld this benefit for me. Am I lucky to work for people who believe telecommuting? Absolutely. Have I continually delivered what has been asked and more since I was hired? Yes. So, it becomes easier for management to say yes to certain requests. Again, luck only has a small impact on my telecommute situation.
Also, the path to my career no would not have been possible if I did not have a college and post-graduate degree. Am I lucky to have parents, and later a husband, who believed in me and sent me to college and graduate school? Absolutely. While I could not pick my parents, I most certainly picked a good man. You always have a choice in who surrounds you.
I had to earn both degrees. I had to work during college and post-graduate studies. I had to practice and improve my craft. I had to earn the trust of my employers, my employees, co-workers and magazine readers. I had to find the right place for me to work that allowed me to balance my professional needs with my personal life.
I had to make my own luck – just a little.
So, luck only has a small something to do with your life. The rest is up to you.