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Just my luck ?

Posted by Big John on June 18, 2007

Back in the 70’s I was sales manager in a company owned by a lovely Jewish ‘geezer’ from the East End of London, who would always see his salesmen off the premises with a …   ”Be lucky!”

Now I’m not sure that I believe in ‘luck’, but he did have something; for you could be the keenest salesman in the world, but in my line of business, unless you were in the right place at the right time, your chances of making a living were somewhat limited.

Now you remember that I told you about my inauspicious start as a sales representative, and that my very first sales call led to my very first order: well that was also my first experience, in a small way, of ‘being in the right place at the right time’.

It’s strange, but I have found that just when you feel that fate has given you a kick in the nuts, something often pops up to put a smile back on your face: like the time I was working the ‘salesman’s graveyard’ in the arsehole of industrial West London back in the early 1960’s; when as ‘fate’ or ‘luck’ would have it I had my first experience, in a BIG way, of ‘being in the right place at the right time’: for little did I know that as I plodded around those grimy rain soaked factory estates looking for some office that was short of a filing cabinet or two, just around the corner was a new office building that needed hundreds of the bloody things, and winging it’s way across the Atlantic was an order that would have me grinning from ear to ear for quite some time.

To cut a long story short, the company for which I was working was given the contract to furnish the UK headquarters of a major US corporation located on my lousy territory, not because of my negotiating skills (sadly lacking at that stage in my career) nor because of my super smooth sales technique (never did know what that meant), but simply because some ‘good ol’ boy’ back in the States always bought their stuff.

I did bugger all except pick up a commission cheque which more than doubled my income for the next year.

Over the years my career saw more ups and downs than a whore’s drawers: and business, in later years,very often depended upon hard days spent at the best restaurants, and ‘who you knew’ rather than ‘what you knew’, but more often than not I was ‘in the right place’. Perhaps it was instinct ? … or maybe it was ? …

…    Well, who knows ?


6 Responses to “Just my luck ?”

  1. Jackshian said

    You’ve got ‘chutpah’ John .. no doubt about it

    Chutzpah is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad. The word derives from the Yiddish chutzpah (חוצפה). This, in turn, derived from the Hebrew word ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning “insolence,” “audacity,” and “impertinence”; though, by now, the English, usage of the word has taken on a wider spectrum of meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use, film, literature, and television.

  2. Betty said

    I am no good at selling things. Perhaps it’s my approach: “You wouldn’t want to buy ___________, would you?”

  3. Oscarandre said

    You are right about the impact of luck in our life, BJ. So often we are tempted to look back on the trajectory of our life and ascribe hard work and talent to our success without acknowledging that sometimes, many times, we were simply “in the right place a the right time.” Mind you, we are usually happy to ascribe our failures to “bad luck.”

  4. Ginnie said

    I’ve had a few “dumb luck” experiences but mostly I’ve found that my luck is in proportion to the preparation I’ve put into something. I subscribe to the saying that “there are no free lunches.”

  5. gawilli said

    I agree with Ginnie. Being in the right place does not do me any good if I am not prepared.

    I love this…”more ups and downs than a whore’s drawers”.

  6. Terri said

    While I don’t believe in “luck” per se, I do feel that timing is everything. Just the nature of the Universe, I guess. But I lean very strongly toward being in the right place at the right time….all it takes is one contact.

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