Opportunity Begets Opportunity

You hear “opportunity begets opportunity” like a broken record. It is trite, but very true. I’ve been known to say it with sometimes extreme frequency and I wholly defend it.

A brief example from my week: the Census Bureau launched a new quarterly event called Census Talks which is an hour-long TED-esque event. I saw the call for the event a few weeks ago and instantly knew I’d send in an application to speak even though I’d only been at the Bureau for a month at that point. I figured it would be both fun and a good advertising opportunity.

I delivered the talk this past Thursday and got an incredibly positive reaction. It was essentially my journey from theoretical physicist to data scientist working in public service. A couple people expressed that they were blown away that I was willing, and able, to give such a solid talk after being at the Bureau for only a month and change, especially when the other two speakers were significantly more senior than me.

After the talk I was approached and emailed by multiple attendees who thanked me for the talk and wanted to tell me about the data science related things they were doing at Census. Now, only two days after the event, I have another invite to speak and will be working with someone to launch a data science journal club. These aren’t guaranteed to be life changing opportunities, but they too may lead into more opportunities such as even more speaking invitations or new and exciting projects at work.

Put yourself out there. Great things aren’t prone to come your way if you just stay in your lane.