Blog Break: Finding treasure among change

Heard about the guy who just sold his old Atari video game for $31,600? How about the man who paid $2.48 for an official copy of the Declaration of Independence a few years ago and flipped it for a $477,647.52 profit?

Does the name J. Decker ring any bells? Not to worry. It didn’t to a Los Angeles bargain-hunter either until he did some searching and discovered the signature at the bottom of his $5 garage-sale painting belonged to famed still-life painter Joseph Decker. The National Gallery eventually purchased the art for more than $1 million.

What does all this have to do with the subject of jobs? On the surface, you might say very little – especially since they’re fun stories. (How many times have “fun” and “jobs” shared the same sentence recently?) None of those lucky folks actually set out to uncover valuable treasures. Their discoveries were inadvertent. Exciting and profitable, yet unplanned.

In the job world, unexpected but fortuitous discoveries happen all the time. Consider Tasia Malakasis’ story, for example. What if Dean & Deluca didn’t carry the Fromagerie Belle Chevre cheese? Where would Malakasis be today had she tried the Brillo di Treviso instead?

For many others during the past few years, the path to a new, more fulfilling professional life began with the loss of a job or an unplanned early retirement. Their stories, however, remain surprisingly abundant and equally inspiring.

Let’s hear yours. Tell us about an unexpected event that changed your professional life for the better.

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