Career Risks Often Lead to Unexpected Positive Outcomes

By Uncategorized

Years ago, a friendly acquaintance of mine ran for Congress.  He was very young and a heavy underdog. To run, he left his relatively high paying job and spent his savings. He was not from a rich family so this was real money. Ultimately, he was soundly beaten. Sounds like he made a career mistake by taking such a risk. Nope. His risk led to high level government jobs and high paying private sector jobs.
How? He performed well during the campaign. Expectations were low.  He not only beat expectations in actual votes but also in how debated, dealt with reporters, and campaigned. Indeed, when I met with him after the election to applaud him on his great performance, he had to remind me that he had been beaten easily.
Nonetheless, he had a three month personal public relations campaign that exposed him to high level officials in his national party.  Through those connections, he ended up getting some enormously high status government jobs, followed by some enormously high paying private jobs.
The big risk when he decided to run for Congress was that he would lose. He did lose. And, look what happened.  That’s the lesson for everyone considering a big risk.  Sometimes, outsize success will occur in unexpected ways.