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Gravitate Towards People and Organizations That Appear to Have Good Luck

Harrison Barnes
By Mar 07,2023
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There are many people and organizations who, for a variety of reasons, seem never to succeed no matter what they do and experience perpetual bad luck. Do not waste time analyzing the causes of ill luck; simply avoid people and businesses who seem to have it, and instead associate yourself with those inclined to growth and development to achieve your goals.

The Rothchilds have another maxim: “Never do anything with an unlucky man or place.” That is to say, never have anything to do with a man or place which never succeeds, because, although a man may appear honest and intelligent, yet if he tries this or that thing and always fails, it is on account of some fault or infirmity that you may not be able to discover but nevertheless which must exist. –P.T. Barnum

I have spent a large portion of my life finding jobs for people. In this career, I have gradually come to realize that there are some people and organizations out there that simply have what I would call bad luck. Something seems to go wrong with everything these people or organizations get involved in. Others appear to have good luck–everything they touch seemingly turns to gold.

One of the keys to your success in your career and life is avoiding the people and organizations that seem to have a never-ending streak of bad luck. Generally bad luck is not the real cause of failure. Instead, an almost unfathomable variety of complex and numerous factors are probably the cause.

  • From the moment successful people get up in the morning until they go to bed, they are doing a variety of things too numerous to count that make them successful.
  • From the moment unsuccessful people get up in the morning until they end their day, they are doing a variety of things too numerous to count that make them unsuccessful.
  • Successful businesses do things a certain way that involves so many variables it would be difficult to count.
  • Unsuccessful businesses do things a certain way that involves so many variables it would be difficult to count.

All people and organizations work the way they do for various reasons. Try as you might, you will never understand all the reasons one succeeds and one does not. In your career and life, you are just better off avoiding what does not succeed. When you spend your time working in businesses or associating with people who do not succeed, you are apt to pick up bad habits. You will not succeed if you hitch your wagon to the wrong star.

I used to spend most of my days interviewing attorneys for law firms and then getting these attorneys jobs. I would see people with the most incredible records who had lost one job after another, found themselves unemployed, and were having no luck whatsoever getting a job. When you look at the résumés of some attorneys, it is hard to imagine why they are not employed. They appear to have done everything right. I would look at these records and decide that there was something horribly unjust about someone being unemployed even when he or she had done so well in the working world, had gone to the right schools, and gotten the right jobs.

Sometimes I would be amazed that the person might be in the middle of a major city and unable to find a job. He or she might have been unemployed for weeks, or even months. I would spend considerable time working to understand this person, and do everything within my power to find him or her a job. I would eat, sleep, and drink getting this person a job; it would become my mission. When I commit to something, such as finding someone a job, it becomes the most important thing in the world to me.

The skill of finding jobs for people is much like hitting a nail with a hammer. When you first start doing it, you get a lot of resistance; however, after some time, it gets much easier. You know how to hit the hammer correctly and you know how hard and when to hit it. When you focus your attention toward any job for a long period of time, your mind will constantly be suggesting improvements to your approach, which would not appear if you were busy doing different things. This has been my experience with being in the business of finding people jobs. This is why I have consistently achieved better and better results over time.

When an attorney found himself having zero luck in getting a job, I would often end up relocating him to another city, repackaging him, and taking the time to really bring out his strengths in a way that others may never have thought of. I would work very, very hard at this, and generally within a relatively short time, I would have gotten the person an excellent job. This is something that I played out over and over again. I loved working with the attorneys that looked great, but for one reason or another they were having such a difficult time finding a job. It made me feel as if I were doing something positive for the world and really making a difference.

While in some cases I was really making a difference, I quickly discovered that in most cases I was not making as much of a difference as I thought. In the case of many of these attorneys, as it turned out, there was generally a reason they had been unemployed, which I simply did not see.

Within about six months to a year after I had gotten these people jobs, bad things usually started to happen. For one reason or another, they would almost always end up losing their jobs. This occurred time and time again. There would generally be one specific reason or another–but it happened almost like clockwork; in fact, it became very predictable. In some cases the attorneys would just quit their jobs with various criticisms about their new employer. In other cases the attorneys would simply get fired. Sometimes the law firms who had hired the attorney would go out of business. It was as if these attorneys I sought out and worked so hard to help were somehow pursued by bad luck wherever they went.

I witnessed this phenomenon so many times that I began to think there was something more to it. While it is not a pleasant truth to admit, the truth of the matter is that there are simply some people out there who are “bad luck” and therefore have bad luck. One year, several years ago, I had some bad experiences with four or five of my employees. A couple of them stole from our company, and the rest engaged in various transgressions that were bad enough to warrant my firing them on the spot. I was very upset about all of these incidents because the people I let go were all very talented attorneys in many respects, and I had spent a lot of time with them. Most of these people had sought me out originally, and asked for jobs. I was sympathetic to their situations at the time and had hired them.

I felt personally violated, but more than that, I also felt that I had put my trust in the wrong people. Unfortunately, it is never easy letting someone go from a job; it is among the hardest things that anyone can do. When you let someone go from a job, you are basically altering the course of that person’s life. Moreover, most people remember the bad things that happen to them throughout their lives much more than the good. When you let someone go, you are putting out some negative energy and it never feels good to put out negative energy. You may also be making an enemy. It has always been difficult for me to hurt someone–even if that person has hurt me.

We have a wise old recruiter in one of our companies, who has been recruiting for around 40 years and has seen it all when it comes to recruiting. One day, he was talking to me about all of these previous employees and he said something to me I will never forget:

“All those people were fired from their last jobs, right?”


“Well, there you go…”

I remember thinking about this statement for some time because there was a lot of wisdom in it. The wisdom was very deep and I did not fully understand it at the time, but after a while I did. What this recruiter was saying, in effect, is that there are some people out there who are just bad news and, try as you might, you are often unlikely to see them coming or to know the reasons why. As I thought more about this, I realized that most of the people that I have had problems with in my companies over the years were people who had been fired from previous jobs. This was not something I had strongly considered when I had initially hired the employees; however, I was starting to see a definite discernible pattern. In fact, in almost all incidences where there had been a problematic employee, that person had been fired from at least one previous job.

Regarding bad luck, I am sure you too have met people throughout your career who have had a big dose of it. The person cannot hold a job for very long; perhaps every organization he or she has ever worked for, for one reason or another, ends up having problems of one sort or another; the person’s department gets downsized; the person’s boss gets fired and he or she gets asked to leave as well; or the person’s employer goes out of business.

When you consider a career history like this, the story reads like a bad soap opera. Nevertheless, the person may appear to be very good at what he or she does.

It is not uncommon to see a seventh- or eighth-year attorney who has worked at 10 law firms in this period of time. He or she may have gone to a really good law school like Cornell, Berkeley, or Stanford, and may have worked at the very best law firms. When you examine the person’s résumé and speak with him or her, you learn that an incredible combination of circumstances has led to the person’s having had so many jobs in such a short period of time.

Truth be told, there is generally no such thing as good and bad luck. The results you achieve in your career are generally related to what you do right, what you do wrong, and how you do everything that you do. This same thing goes for companies. A company will get results generally not because of luck but because of what it is doing right or wrong.

A key to succeeding in your career and life is to avoid the people and organizations that appear to have had bad luck, and do your best to gravitate toward the people and organizations that appear to have had good luck. You do not need to understand why they have good luck–just that they do. If you see this concept and use this career advice, you are likely to be successful in everything you undertake.


There are many people and organizations who, for a variety of reasons, seem never to succeed no matter what they do and experience perpetual bad luck. Do not waste time analyzing the causes of ill luck; simply avoid people and businesses who seem to have it, and instead associate yourself with those inclined to growth and development to achieve your goals.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the Founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter himself. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in a search and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive that gets results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities that its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

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12 Responses to “ Gravitate Towards People and Organizations That Appear to Have Good Luck”
  1. Avatar Dean says:

    This is a very interesting story and one that others can learn a lot from.Although it is not a bad thing to give people second chances in the world of business it can come back to haunt you.and no matter how nice a person’s office may be at the first sign of questionable behavior he has to be checked out.

    4 of 5 stars

  2. Avatar Mike says:

    It’s good advice, alot of people enter into jobs or companies, that aren’t doing so hot thinking they can help change it for the better. In this job market, hooking up with a company that can’t seem the find its way up, looks to be a big mistake.

    Thanks for the info!

  3. Avatar Luis Cruz says:

    I think is very true, sometimes you should good with your guts and try to avoid the companies that seem to have bad luck.

  4. Avatar richard says:

    i understand this concept oh too well.i work for a small company that has that exact same kind of “bad luck”.but in reality its poor decision making and poor work ethics from the people in charge that cause the so so called bad luck which can become contagious and infect other employees

  5. Avatar Landon C. says:

    I think in order to find a successful job, you have to put some effort. Not everything in this world is given to you. You have to work for your own and think of yourself. It sounds harsh, but that’s how the world works.

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    I would love more ways to know how you can spot a company that has “bad luck” before you even go in for an interview. I hate having to wait until you are hired and have been working for a month to see it was a bad decision.

  7. Avatar Cody says:

    I agree with your viewpoints in this article. It has always been my belief that you make your own luck. Whether it be in sports, school, dating or for your career, there are very few cases of “bad luck”. Everything happens for a reason and if you are a hard and dedication worker that is a team player, you will find a good career without any setbacks from “bad luck”.

  8. Avatar Joe says:

    I think you’d do well to read the following two books, “The Black Swan” and “The Drunkard’s Walk. How Randomness Rules our Lives.” Educate yourself. Randomness and Luck do exist.

  9. Are there no “jobs” for young lawyers, or are they failing to engage?, see TheIowaEdict.com

  10. Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you Nevertheless I’m experiencing difficulty with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting equivalent rss problem? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  11. Avatar Rod Tanner says:

    “Truth be told, there is generally no such thing as good and bad luck.”

    Yours is the philosophy that has led U.S. to citizens to place so much emphasis on monetary success that most are unflinchingly willing to transcend honesty and ethics in order to get ahead. A society that instructs that success and failure are entirely products of personal effort is doomed to the sort of corruption and self-invited demise that we are presently witnessing on Wall Street and in the executive offices of our largest corporations.

    My observation is that the vast majority of the attorneys you would consider to be successful are from affluent families. It would be difficult to argue that such fortunate beginnings provide those attorneys an advantage in affording a top law school, and often in gaining admission thereto.

    Conversely, I had the misfortune of being born into an impoverished family, no member of which had ever attended university. Following law school, I struggled in my career and lost several jobs until, at age 38, I discovered that I had been battling Type I Bipolar Disorder since college.

    If you honestly believe that there is no such thing as good and bad luck, I submit that belief is grounded in ignorance and conservative American superstition. Nearly every other Western nation recognizes that the correlation between success and personal virtue is far less certain than conservative ideology instructs, and that luck is more often than not a contributing factor in individual success.

  12. Avatar Da says:

    The Bible says we are all sinners. Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

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