It’s never too late for a career hot streak – science says so


It’s not just Silicon Valley millennials that can be the next big thing in business. Science tells us that not only are career hot streaks a real thing, they can happen to you at any point, even late in your career.

Dashun Wang is an associate professor of management and organisations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. His research into the careers of 30,000 artists, film directors and scientists suggests that hot streaks are not a phenomenon confined to sports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that:

“hot streaks tend to last for four or five years, and some people have more than one. We also found that a hot streak can happen at any point, even in the final years of a career – contradicting the conventional view that people in many fields are likely to do their best work in their 30s or 40s.”

Sharing the wisdom

The survey comes at time when we are increasingly hearing about the rise of the 60-something entrepreneur. People who are retiring retirement in favour of starting their own businesses, and on balance, are making a huge success of it. Why? Because not only do they have the enthusiasm to pull off an idea that they’re passionate about, but frankly, they know what they’re doing.

This rather lovely, but also poignant, piece of research is timely.  It resonates as the world considers new ways of thinking and structuring businesses for the future of work. We have an ageing population, the gig economy is rising and technology allows us to work differently.  So we no longer expect those who have reached the heady heights of the C-suite to simply stay in role until they topple off and land on the golf course. After 40 years in business, the chances are that you have a lot more to give. Both experienced team members and new recruits can benefit from.

Innovation, determination, and knowing what you’re doing

But Dr Wang’s research doesn’t merely suggest that experience is a valuable gift to pass on.  Rather that someone over the age of 50 may indeed have their best innovation yet because the key to a breakthrough is not one’s age but one’s drive to continue to work. “If we keep producing, our own hot streak may still be ahead, just out of sight” – which is surely good news for all of us?

As for us at gigCMO, we are a company built on the expertise of those who are at the top of their game.  We already know that reaching the top of a corporate structure is the perfect springboard on which to launch your third, and quite possibly best, career to date. Gowever, it never hurts to have the science to back it up.