Overcoming career statistics

Sep 25th, 2011 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, career choice, career choices, challenges, natural talent, strategy

Are you plagued by the statistics that seem to fill the headlines regarding personal success?

There are the classics that say you cannot reach the top unless you go to an Ivy League school. Another states that unless you are in the top 5% of your class in grade school you don’t have a chance. One of the more recent headlines is your chance of achieving professional success is determined by the 5th grade. There was also an article in Forbes that attributed your chances of success to the order in which you arrived in your family.

In her article “How Birth Order Can Affect Your Job, Salary” Ruth Mantell
Friday, September 23, 2011, analyzes the success, salaries, and jobs of those born first, in the middle, and last. Ruth’s analysis reveals that an only child, and oldest child fare the best. This is attributed to the unshared attention of the parents, and the desire to raise a perfect child. There is no need to share resources, so these children get the most the parents have to offer in both emotional and financial support. In a similar manner, the last child is usually the last to leave the nest, and gains in focus as the older children move out on their own. In addition, the parents often are in a better financial situation being further along in their careers and are able to provide more financial support on the last child. It is the middle children who seem to suffer. Not only do they start off having to compete for attention with older brothers and sisters who are both physically and mentally more developed. The novelty has worn off. So the middle children have to not only compete for attention, but there is less attention available. This infers middle children are taught to strive for mediocrity. Perhaps reading more into this than is supported, a middle child learns more punishment avoidance, than reward behavior. With this skill the middle children may get along in society much better, but mediocrity is the price they pay.

While I am not convinced that birth order is a defining factor, I do believe the training received in the early years does affect your behavior and personality development. I am from a family of six children; we are all different in many ways although we all grew up in the same environment. While there are differences among us, success did not follow the order of birth. The middle four went to college, while the oldest and the youngest (one of a set of twins) didn’t. All did ok, none got rich or famous (yet). As to be expected there are some small differences in income, as we all choose different careers. I guess you can say we all achieved mediocrity.

While there is something to be said for statistical analysis, I don’t buy into the notion that your life is destined based on your birth order, family situation, or early achievement. Perhaps those with more supportive parents may get off to a faster start, the rest of us are survivors and can learn and adapt quickly. You just have to decide what you are going to do, and do it.

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