One of the 1,000,000 things I learned this year was that both men and women are more likely to attribute women’s achievements to good luck (or having a hand-up, or a hand-out) than to their innate talents, learned skills, or effort and hard work. This goes for your own achievements, too, if you’re a woman. You are more likely to attribute your own achievements to luck / hand-up / hand-out. That’s nuts.
It’s taken months for this to sink in. I watched this video on gender bias back in April, and that’s where I first heard the concept. But even so, I was waiting for serendipity. “I want a new job,” I thought, “so I’ll keep my ears open, and something will come along. It always does.” I went to a few interviews, and each one seemed serendipitous. “How about that,” I thought, time after time. “I bump into a guy, who knows a guy, who knows about a job!”
As I attended interviews, and secretly hoped that the companies wouldn’t call me back, I thought, “Maybe I want a new job doing something else. A different career direction. I don’t know what, but I’m sure I’ll get an idea. It will spring out at me, one day.”
I know that seems terribly daft, but that’s what it was like. And it’s only recently that I’ve been able to put the two things together – gender bias and my trust in serendipity. And I thought: Believing in serendipity — instead of skills, talent, and hard work — is a way of denying taking control. It’s passive and fearful. Do I want that, or do I want to take control?
(It’s something that I’m exploring in my Nano story. I feel sorry for my main character. She’s going through so much crap.)
But it’s so confusing. Some prosperous people say things like, “my talent is in seeing good luck,” and, “other people wouldn’t recognise a good opportunity if it hit them in the face.”
And then apparently luck is a skill you can learn…
What do we believe? Good luck follows me, wherever I go, and you’re somewhat passive? Or I take control, I choose my own destiny, and you’re absolutely attributing your achievements to your talents, skills and effort – and maybe you miss seeing good luck? Or luck is one of those skills? I don’t know. Anyway, up until now I have cruised along, trusting my luck, but next year won’t be like that. I’ve been thinking about my 2014 resolution, seeing as my 2013 resolution was to be more creative (done!), and so far, I think next year will be about taking this further, with lots of effort.