The power of happenstance

I was listening to BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live at the weekend when my careers consultant antennae started tingling.  Ben Garrod, a dinosaur expert & primatologist was recounting who he got his big break.  It wasn’t through writing a brilliant academic paper, or because knew people who knew people – it was because he was waiting on tables part-time to pay the bills.

handshakeOne day he turned up to work to be told that he’d be waiting on the table of his professional hero, Jane Goodhall.  He bent the rules banning interaction with the guests by saying hello, then course-by-course built a rapport with her by explaining his interest in her work.  This lead to a longer chat after the meal was finished, which in turn lead to a job offer.

It reminded me of a student a couple of years ago who secured an internship with a major investment bank whilst talking to a customer at the Health Spa she was working at.  Actually, it reminded me of many similar stories.

So, it doesn’t matter what you are doing, or where you are, be aware of those around you, make connections, have a chat – you don’t know what it might lead to.

graham@henleycareers