Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez,
 Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez,

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  


In between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I joined the custodial crew at a college near my hometown. In a town of 600 people, summer job options are limited, and this seemed like the best way to get full time work with a decent, hourly wage.

I spent the first week on the job with my head down, cleaning as efficiently as possible. I recognized that I was one of the only members of the crew hustling, and chalked it up to being the rookie. I hung up my supplies on Friday and told everyone I’d see them on Monday.

That weekend, I attended a graduation party for one of my classmates. At the party, she was talking about her summer job. I can’t remember what job she ended up taking, but what I remember her saying is that she had to turn down the job at the bank to do this job.

Before I knew what I was doing, I said “really, you had to give up a job at the bank? Do you know if they’re still looking for someone?” She said she was fairly certain they still needed someone, and I asked her if I could get the phone number for the manager.  

The next Monday, during my morning break, I found a pay phone and called the bank manager. I told him I would be happy to be considered for the job that my classmate had to turn down.

Two days later, I clocked out wearing a skirt and blouse prepared to interview for the bank job, which I was offered and began the following week. My custodial co-workers were very happy for me. They took me to lunch and wished me well. They saw me as a young kid who took advantage of a great opportunity.

I share this story because this series of events shifted the way I listen to others — which is a key component to successful networking. This is how lucky breaks happen. Right place, right time, with the right action taken.

I could’ve stuck it out with the cleaning crew for the rest of the summer, but deep down, I knew that I was supposed to have that conversation with my classmate. I certainly didn’t go to the graduation party thinking it would lead to a different job, but if I hadn’t listened closely, asked questions, and been bold about my actions, I would be telling a different story today.

What’s a lucky break you’ve experienced? Comment below with your stories or share them on Facebook or Twitter!

Struggling to listen intently and foster connections? Reach out to me today. As a coach who specializes in networking, relationship building, and professional development, I’d be happy to spend 30 minutes with you to discuss your goals and help devise a networking action plan.