I once worked with a colleague – let’s call him Argyle for the purposes of this post – who had a boast. It went, “I’ve never not got a job I applied for.”
It sounded spectacular upon first hearing; Argyle was younger than me, and I recall listening, awestruck, remembering my many interview-day snafus, wondering what it must be like to be so well-prepared and professional. I’d been well prepared and professional too, I corrected later, recalling the hours of work that had gone into flubbed job applications… but Argyle? He must be on a whole other level.
When the tale got aired a second time years later, my response was different. The penny dropped. Is this boast really about risk-aversion? Because once a pattern is established, we might adjust our behaviour to ensure we perpetuate it. Plenty of times I’d taken a flying leap at a job I was under-qualified for, just to learn from the ensuing train-wreck. Argyle never had.
Writing? Well, it’s a world where a track-record littered with setbacks and screw-ups, blunders and failures is the norm. In a way, it’s the whole point.
In our world, Argyle's success is evidence that he was applying for the wrong jobs.