Hidden treasure in plain sight

I know a fabulous shop that sells second hand clothing on consignment. Some of my favourite outfits have come from there. And my best buys have been things I found when I wasn’t really looking. I once bought a pair of shoes (that instantly make anything I wear with them look better) when I was really buying rhubarb!

I’m beginning to think that we find the good stuff, or the good stuff finds us, when we are open minded about it. Things I’ve particularly enjoyed doing professionally haven’t necessarily been a major part of my day job. They have been things I’ve done in my own time and arisen because I’ve had the attitude “that looks interesting, I could do that” without it being part of any grand plan. As one example: I tutored an undergraduate business subject earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed facilitating workshops with students each week. I learned lots too. About being a casual academic when my usual role is a professional university staff member, about another university, about students as individuals not Equivalent Fulltime Student Units.

A colleague researches in human resources and one of his areas of interest has been the element of luck in job search. Luck seems to be something that finds me when I’m looking but, paradoxically, not looking too hard. Perhaps I see things when I’m in a “lucky” frame of mind that I just don’t see or pay attention to when I’m not. And “luck” doesn’t seem to happen without effort.

I’m certainly not arguing that it is all down to hard work, or good luck. Bad things do happen to good people and as George Monbiot observed “if wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.” I do think though that we are more inclined to take optimistic chances, to say yes to opportunities, and to see fabulous shoes when we are shopping for rhubarb, when we are open to the possibility.

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