October 8, 2014 Leave a comment
This continued businessland cliché that there is no such thing as luck, just hard work: it continues to frustrate, depress and infuriate me. You make your own luck, you reap what you sow, hard work is all it takes. Perhaps for rich Tories with a nice background to start from, a safety net and financial cushion.
Not that I can play a working class hero card.
But how on this earth people can say, routinely trot out and believe there is no such thing as luck is beyond me. It makes me angry.
People who watch their young child die from a painful disease?
People who die tragically through no fault of their own in a car accident?
People whose own lives are cut short through illness – teenagers or inspirational young adults?
People who happen to be travelling in a plane blasted out of the sky by terrorists?
People who win life-changing millions in a national lottery?
All that’s nothing to do with luck? How the hell do you make that kind of luck?
Sure, these are extreme cases of luck. But there is a spectrum. Dumb luck and blind chance and stupid fortune absolutely exist. Where you’re born: what country, what social class, who your parents are, who you happen to meet.
Luck works in tandem with hope, which makes it particularly important for me: someone who considers that they have never professionally achieved much, but plunders and stumbles onward. You hope your hard work will at some point pay off, something will click, a new relationship will develop, you will ultimately get recognised on some level you feel is commensurate to your worth. That’s why you carry on.
Although you have little other choice but to carry on, because you need money and enjoy a certain standard of living.
All the motivational business claptrap I’m subjected to on a day-to-day basis because I currently work in a salesy environment amongst young people (though am not directly a part of it): it depresses the living shit out of me. The business pay people to come in and trot out this propagandist business drivel.
I give a wry smile and chuckle from outside the meeting rooms, pass a comment about it being cringeworthy. But if I think too hard about it, I begin to seethe and it can start to permeate into my domestic life.
If I get all flat and dowdy, girlfriend will confront me about the self-proclaimed pessimism she hates and which drags her down.
“You’re only a pessimist because you tell yourself that.”
“No, I’m not,” I’ll growl, affronted. “I’m a pessimist because life tells me nothing different. And not being optimistic doesn’t stop me from doing things and trying things and working really hard towards stuff and quietly hoping I get lucky, but suspecting I won’t.”
That for me is a key difference. If pessimism stopped me trying stuff, I’d understand the frustration. But I work pretty hard in a few different quarters, I am professional (most places except here), I am pleasant / tolerant / non-committal about the many idiots I work with. I get my head down and think my skill-set could be an asset to companies. I like to think I’m smart enough to do better than this. And yet still I underachieve, kicking about in the lower leagues. Life appears to suggest to me that it’s best not to get my hopes up.
Professional worlds I inhabit tell me there are richer and more successful or at least considerably more comfortable people who don’t work that hard, aren’t particularly clever and whom I don’t rate. There are many of those in this parochial, villagey side of the UK. I tend to alienate people as much if not more than I attract. I can’t make people *get* me or back me or invest in me. So I have to be snarky and hope.
I staunchly don’t believe in making your own luck, but industriousness can’t harm your chances, can it? Or maybe it just threatens and alienates other people more.