All about the Luck
I recently went to a couple of talks that ended up being interesting. One was a candidate interviewing for jobs, who said success these days is pretty arbitrary and depends a lot on luck.
The other talk I went to was by a young professor who is supposed to be a hotshot but who gave what I thought was a pretty bad talk- way too much information presented way too fast, and without much definition of all the jargon and abbreviations. So, precisely what my graduate school would not let me get away with doing. So I'm left wondering how this person is considered a hotshot, and why some people get away with being good at one thing or another, while other people are left feeling inadequate if we don't kick ass in all areas, all the time.
Then I talked to an old friend who recently got word that his grant is going to be awarded for twice as long as he expected. This friend works hard, loves science, and never asks big hard questions. Baby steps all the time, but very productive, cranks out lots of papers in respected but not high-profile journals. He works on stuff that I find incredibly boring, but I think that's part of the secret to his success: he's not threatening to anyone.
And I was a sports spectator this weekend. It was one of those things where the game was tied and nothing had happened for a long time, and my friend wanted desperately to go to the restroom. So just as we're getting up, somebody scores while our backs are turned and the game is over.
So, to sum up, I have bad luck, and what is considered good enough for other people doesn't work for me (just work hard, you don't have to excel at everything, and your stuff doesn't even have to be interesting).
I'm seriously thinking about looking into some voodoo hex-removing devices. Somebody gave me some sage to burn and wave around my house to get rid of the bad spirits, but I never did it. But I'm not sure my house is the source of my bad luck- it started a long time before I moved there.