Make Your Own Luck

by Laura M. Haas, IBM Fellow

Laura Haas

Laura Haas

I know right now you are struggling with some tough time-management issues, not to mention wondering for the 10,000th time what you want to be when you grow up. Although somewhere deep down you know you are a victim of your own success, and that all is going incredibly well, you are exhausted, stressed out, overweight, and torn. Success was supposed to be fun. And it will be, you’ll see. There’s just a lot of hard work and hard choices to get through first.

The good news is, you will make those choices, and as luck will have it, they’ll be the right ones (or anyway, they will have great results). You will successfully balance research, your emerging business opportunity, technology transfer and your family as long as really needed, and then, somehow, you will find the strength to move on, and immerse yourself in learning the development skills you will ultimately need to make the first three successful. You will nurture your baby research project far enough so that it can stand on its own two feet under other leadership. The emerging business will outgrow you, hiring new and deeper expertise to take over the technical reins. You will be an ongoing part of the technology transfer. And the kids will be fine. (They’ll grow up to be amazingly nice — and talented — young men).

Meanwhile, much as you may have learned in the first 18 years or so of your career, your best and biggest work still lies ahead of you. You will get to it by going way beyond your current comfort zone — jumping off the diving board into the deep end of the pool, and working hand in hand with people who are so smart and accomplished they scare you silly. Somehow, you’ll hold your own, and emerge a leader, in both the business and the academic spheres. Throughout, you will cling to your mother’s mantra: make your own luck. Let your sense of responsibility to your teams and your technology guide you, and have faith in your judgment.

Enjoy the journey! Love from the fabulous future,
Laura M Haas

IBM Fellow

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