Feeling Lucky, Punk?

Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry

I am sitting in a pub near the university, sipping on a pint, waiting for a friend. Judging by the perfect storm lashing against the oversized fanlight, I feel he may be some time. He may have delayed his cycle ride or interrupted it, seeking shelter. I do what most people seem to do on these occasions; I pick up my smart phone from the sticky table top, check the internet connection and start to browse.

By a haphazard, circuitous route I find myself on the Guardian film website. There is an article here on the top ten film misquotes. Did Darth Vader really say “Luke, I am your father…. ”?  Did Bogart really say “Play it again, Sam.”? Apparently not.  In the top three, is the Dirty Harry quote from the gritty early 70s film of the same name. The quote people remember is “Do you feel lucky, punk? Go ahead, make my day.”

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember an article about luck and try and find this.

There it is on the Daily Mail website. The Guardian first, then the Daily Mail; we careers adviser like to be impartial and unbiased. There’s a Professor Wiseman  who has researched luck and written a book called “The Luck Factor”.

It is about serendipity.

What five syllable word better describes by it melodious rise and fall its meaning; happy accident?  His argument goes that you make your own luck and having a relaxed, outgoing attitude can influence your life for the positive.

Wiseman did an experiment, the article says. He asked people to fill out a questionnaire which gave an idea of how lucky people thought they were. He then asked the same people to read a newspaper and tell him how many photographs were inside. He had secretly placed a message halfway through the newspaper that read ‘Stop counting — there are 43 photographs in this newspaper’. “It was staring everyone in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people spotted it,” says Wiseman. So, it would seem, you do make your own luck.

This can also apply to your career. One careers theory is called “Planned Happenstance”. Krumboltz argues that some planning, an open mind and following what you enjoy, and has meaning for you, is the best way to a happy career, a happy life.  A happy, go lucky one………

My reverie is interrupted by the arrival of my friend and as he begins that slow, dripping, protracted unravelling of his cycle paraphernalia, peculiar, it seems, only to the British cyclist. I tartly remind him that his lateness means that that it is his round. I soon relent however and join the long, wide queue at the bar. After all, I have been lucky. His tardiness has given me an idea for a blog and a structure.

But what about you? Are you feeling lucky?

Are you feeling lucky, punk?

Go ahead.

Make your day.

Tom McAndrew
Careers Consultant at the University of Exeter 

Andy Morgan

Web Marketing Officer

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