In even the most successful careers, there is always an element of luck. Sometimes lots of luck. But over the years, I’ve also had many people write to ask why they have bad luck in jobs. And I know it often feels that way.
Of course, there are times when luck turns sour and you get a bad boss or horrible coworkers. Or even major layoffs just as you join the firm of your dreams. But there is good news even if you are hit with more than your share of bad luck in jobs. Luckily, there are things you can do to help improve your chances of letting good luck find you!
How to help good luck find you
No one can control luck. At least no one that I know. But there are people who seem to be luckier. And if we look at some of their habits, we may discover some things that can help us.
- Luckier people may actually have bad luck, but they don’t label it that way. And they don’t let it linger in their minds. Or spend lots of time rehashing the “bad.”
- When lucky people fail, they look for the next opportunity rather than getting stuck worrying about what they can’t control.
- The company you keep can make a difference. If you constantly hang out with people who love to wallow in misery, it’s hard to aim yourself toward good things. In fact, it may break the bond they feel with you!
- Don’t give up — resilience is the key to giving yourself a chance for luck to find you.
More things to help change your “luck”
- Go after things you really care about. We all need jobs that pay the rent at times. But you have a better chance of succeeding when you don’t settle. Keep pursuing your dream even if you’re in a “job job.”
- Believe in yourself. If bad luck becomes a label you put on yourself, you forget your real strengths. But the strengths are still there. You just need to give them a chance to climb over those obstacles.
- Look for ways to create opportunities for yourself if they don’t seem to find you. Doors open when you make the effort — and do it with positive energy.
- Find people to network with who you respect and admire — and be open to learning from them.
- Listen. Really listen to what people say. Take time to learn about them. And look for opportunities to help THEM.
- Put yourself in circumstances where you can succeed. Each win helps you remember who you really are.
⇒ EXTRA: Why Do I Always Pick the Wrong Job?
A few more thoughts
Bad luck in jobs is not something that needs to stop us. I’ve had my share of “bad luck”, but the secret is to keep learning and keep going. And to think of the bad luck as an opportunity to grow.
Still, it helps to be more aware when you think about what kind of job you are going to accept. Make sure you’ve done your research and asked good questions. Lots you can learn online and from informational interviews with people in the field.
Most of all, make sure you take time to think about who you really are — strengths and interests. And set yourself goals that you work toward, even if it means teaching yourself new skills. Or finding positive allies to help you get yourself to that good luck you deserve!
⇒ EXTRA: I Can’t Stop Feeling Like a Failure
Some more posts to help:
Real Problem (Maybe) If Your Job Feels Wrong
How Changing Your Attitude Can Change Your Job!
How To Change Your Job Without Quitting
Reasons You’re Thinking of Leaving Your Job
Workplace Culture: Putting a New Perspective To Work
What To Do If Your Job Makes You Miserable
Do You Feel You’re Not Appreciated at Work?
5 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Hate Your Job
Prospective employers do not accept a generalized statement of ‘learned and moved on from there’ they want specifics.
Ronnie Ann says
Thank you, Kat. Yes. A good resume includes accomplishment details — especially ones that relate to the new job you want. Where possibly quantify what you helped make happen using numerical measures.
I can understand Michael’s comments [below]. I have had lots of bad luck. Recently, I had a job and I found out later that there were two people in that role before I even entered the job and the manager was terrible. It was a secretarial job.
I was laid off at that job after I went to HR. I even told them that I knew about the past issues and I was given the opportunity to transfer internally. The manager tried to get me out of there at every turn.
I haven’t put the job on my resume, but I think people can see it when a background check is conducted. I keep getting odd looks after I start with a firm. I had a ok career going and now I am struggling again.
I thought I was the only one that this issue happens to, no one else seems to have these issues or maybe people just don’t talk about them.
Ronnie Ann says
You are definitely NOT alone. Having been in a similar situation myself more than once, I can relate. I know it might not help now, but I can assure you over the years I left those bad memories behind. You have a lot more to offer than some employers will ever get. As time went on, I used the experiences to build on those strengths that I wanted to continue to pursue, and, as an unexpected bonus, eventually created a whole new career for myself — one based on things I enjoyed a lot more.
One thing about resumes … you can leave things off resumes* (I did … see note below), but you have to be honest on a job application since that’s a document an employer can hold you to. And yes, most employers do background checks nowadays. If asked about the missing piece (I had many), you just explain that things didn’t work well there, but you learned from it and used the experience to find a much better fit from then on. Or something like that. 🙂
Best of luck from now on! ~ Ronnie Ann
*NOTE: Sometimes if there have been a few bad jobs in a row or just spotty work history, you can group them together with just a short section on your resume. For instance, I had a few very short jobs (and even temp work) that didn’t make sense for where I wanted to go next, so once I created a “Freelance” category and another time just grouped it under a general heading and listed a few key accomplishments rather than each job. On a resume, you can present yourself creatively (without lying) to highlight things that point to the future for you. But an application has to have your real history.
Bad luck in extremes will take out anyone. Most can overcome bad breaks here and there, but when you stand up for what is right, you often get hammered. It’s happened three times (at least) in my career.
Nice guys finish last.
Ronnie Ann says
I’m very sorry to read that. Over the years, I’ve known many “nice guys” who are not last. Or even close to last. But, as you say, when a person gets hit by bad luck in extremes, that’s not easy for anyone to overcome. I still believe it’s possible, based on my own life. I wish you MUCH luck — and a future that makes up for the past.
All good things,