My daughter Susanna has a new job as Corporate Communications Manager for the Washington Redskins

It was serendipity, a fortuitous series of events that led to her first day of work on Labor Day.  She received a call one Thursday evening about a job opening; she interviewed eight days later; she packed her car and drove to Ashburn, Virginia—home to Redskins Park—the following week.

Sometimes you make your own luck.  Managing your human capital—the sum total of your competencies, knowledge, social and personality attributes—is far more important over your lifetime than the size of your investment portfolio or your rate of return in any given year.

She had prepared well by obtaining a Masters in Sports Industry Management at Georgetown University. While in Washington, she completed an internship with the Redskins, where she applied the same work ethic and attention to detail she had internalized while working under Pat Summitt at The University of Tennessee. She worked hard to maintain relationships with all those she came in contact with in Washington and at the Redskins organization.  Then, luck found her.

This week we examine three subjects exploring dimensions of human capital management—or as I like to call it—Planning for Serendipity.

Invest in Yourself:  An Economic Approach to Education Decisions.  “One of the most important investment decisions you will ever make is the decision to invest in yourself.”  The essay makes three points.  First, an investment in human capital might not pay off.  Second, people should consider what kind of an investment

[in education] to make.  Third, people should consider the cost of various kinds of educational institutions when they think about investment in education.

Click here to read

A Successful Job Search:  It’s All About Networking.  In an NPR interview, the president of Career Horizons compares finding a job with the same challenges as taking a product to market, but the product being marketed is the person. He notes that at least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published…the vast majority of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances…there are more jobs out there than many people may think.

Click here to read

The Success Equation:  Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing:  An Interview with Michael Mauboussin.  “Luck exists when three conditions are in place:  it operates for an individual or organization; it can be good or bad; and it is reasonable to expect a different outcome to occur…   If I were an executive coach, I would try to focus each individual on the facets they can control.  Emphasizing what’s in your control allows you to adopt an attitude of equanimity toward luck.  You’ve done all that you can, and from there you have to live with the results—good or bad.  This is a rich interview that contains many more insights than this short summary presents.

Click here to read

And in case you missed it, click here to read last week’s blog post which focuses on the effectiveness of the Fed’s quantitative easing.

We hope you enjoy reading these articles along with us and that you find them informative.  Please forward this to your friends and family.

J. Mark Nickell & Co.


Disclosure – The articles mentioned in This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. are for information and educational purposes only. They represent a sample of the numerous articles that the firm reads each week to stay current on financial and economic topics. The articles are linked to websites separate from the J. Mark Nickell & Co. website. The opinions expressed in these articles are the opinions of the author and not J. Mark Nickell & Co. This is not an offer to buy or sell any security.  J. Mark Nickell & Co. is under no obligation to update any of the information in these articles. We cannot attest to the accuracy of the data in the articles.