Early career setbacks and failing forward
How early failures in career set us up for long term success
What is today’s newsletter about?
1. Early professional setback has a strong and permanent negative impact on a small set of people.
2. Those who experience an early setback tend to outperform their peers if they keep trying.
3. Early-career setback improves performance among those who persevere.
4. If you want to back talent, look where no one is looking: those who narrowly missed their goals but kept trying
5. You can hack luck. L = D*T, where L is luck, D is doing and T is telling.
American Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts delivered an unusual commencement address at his son’s ninth-grade graduation. Among other things, he wished the students bad luck and hoped that they fail enough to learn from their misfortunes. It turns out that bad luck and early failures set us up for success.
Benjamin Jones and Dashun Yang from Kellogg School of Management researched the impact of early career setback on future career impact and found three counter-intuitive trends. First, early professional setback has a strong and permanent negative impact on a small set of people. In Jones and Yang’s sample set, about 10% of the people permanently disappeared after initial failure. They never tried again.