I sat in a classroom listening to a fairly concerning statement, something like: ‘So you want to get a job. That’s great. Except it’s not good enough to be in the top 10%, or even the top 5%. For every job you apply for, there’s only about one position. How many people get this job? Only 1% of applicants.’ What a depressing thing to have to hear. It struck me that there’s so many other things that come down to being lucky enough to fall into tiny categories and single percentage points.
By how many points did I miss out on the higher grade band? Only 1%. If I’d just gotten that one mark on that one quiz, things would be so different, but I didn’t. Is that 1% going to affect my whole future? Am I going to miss out on my dream job because my GPA is just a few points lower than another applicant?
How many people get famous and stand out in their field? Probably 1%, if even. Will that be me? I want to take pride in what I do and produce incredible work. I want to be the best at what I do. I want to be well-regarded. Except I’m not sure if that is going to be me. I don’t know if I will be in the 1%.
How many people manage to achieve all their goals and dreams and really ‘make it’. That’s probably only about 1%, too. I feel like it’s a really hard thing to reach all the things you’re striving for, even if those goals are really modest.
What happens if I’m not in the 1%. What am I supposed to do when the numbers just aren’t quite in my favour? If I’m not the chosen applicant? If I don’t manage to make it into the workforce? If I’m not a stand out in my degree?
Another interesting question, what happens if I am in the 1%? Is it selfish of me? This is a position someone else could have. This is an opportunity someone else might need. It’s like being on a lifeboat with limited seats when 99% of people are still lost at sea.
I was thinking about all of these things while sitting in that classroom. I like how the speaker ended it. He said that the way he got a job was by taking every chance he could, even when that chance was fairly low. He didn’t stop trying and eventually landed a job by being genuinely interested in a particular area. That was after hundreds of job applications. That feels like the start to answering my questions.