Career tips Jeffrey Leinaweaver  

Einstein’s accidents

How your personal story can lead to a breakthrough.

Sometimes developing one’s career seems like a daunting task.  And when we compare ourselves to others, it seems like so many people seem to have it all all together.  The reality: careers are often built in accidental ways.  Later, in retrospect, careers seem destined and not accidental at all.     

For many people, the takeaway around one’s career is learning that It’s important to believe in yourself and to learn to pick yourself up along the way.  Sometimes, accidents happen for all the right reasons.     

Albert Einstein is an excellent example of this. 

In 1902, a depressed and glum, 21-year-old, Albert Einstein, was on the verge of giving up on his dream of becoming a physicist.

Six years prior,  when Einstein was 15, he enrolled in a Mathematics and Physics teaching diploma at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich, Switzerland.  While he was there, and being 15, he frequently skipped classes as he was bored.  Albert (as he was referred to then) felt misunderstood and wasn’t sure of his direction, despite his intuitive and analytical  reflections on his thoughts about the world.    

However, as a diversion he spent his spare time wooing girls, while playing his violin at soirees and cocktail parties.  As a result of his cavalier attitude, Einstein’s professors cast him aside as a lazy student destined for a mediocre career in Physics.

So many people had told him no, that he was a dreamer, that he didn’t understand, or that he was misguided.  Over and over, doors were closed for him. 

Einstein’s frustrating job hunt

After graduating, Einstein couldn’t get a job—in fact, he even contemplated selling insurance after he was passed over for a job as a lab assistant.

After two frustrating years of job hunting, Albert Einstein moved to Bern, the capital of Switzerland, to work as a clerk in the Swiss patent office. Working six days a week as a patent clerk, Einstein could barely find any time to develop his scientific ideas.[1]  

Einstein’s belief in his own, personal story

Yet despite Einstein’s set backs, he believed in himself and his story.  

In March 1905, Einstein submitted a paper that challenged the general consensus that light was a wave, and instead proposed that it was a particle. Two months later in May 1905, Einstein submitted a second paper.  In June 1905, Einstein submitted a third paper where he challenged widely held beliefs that atoms didn’t exist; suggesting that mass and energy were equivalent, and derived the most famous equation in the history of mankind: E=MC^2.

A personal story that made a difference

Einstein’s life story and our world as we know it, radically transformed the way humans understand the world.  And all this changed in one year when Einstein found his story, and persevered to tell it through his ideas and curiosity about the universe. 

So, here’s a puzzling question:

How is it possible that this failed scientist and unknown 26-year-old clerk destined for a mediocre life, could suddenly produce four groundbreaking papers within the span of a year, that would change the course of history?

About accidental careers

What does it mean to have an accidental career, when there are no accidents?  What does fate and destiny play in choosing our stories, and what does hard work, perseverance and inquiry into rational, logical and practical career paths  make sense and yet not make sense when looking at career and following one’s passions?

At FindMino, we believe the exploration of career and finding one’s passion is key to practicing one’s destiny.  We hope our services and information help to aid in the exploration of self and how  others can learn to follow their passions, even if they have “accidental” jobs along the way. Go check it out and sign up.


Check our earlier blog Telling your own story, about the importance of confirming your own story and telling it.Stay tuned for further blogs.

Want to know more?

Sign on to Findmino.com. Free access. No need to download. FindMino is a web app that offers an inspiring place to get sorted on career choice. In a pleasant way FindMino helps to find your competencies, and to make up your mind on where you want to go. And it pre-sorts quality online information around careers, saving you tons of time to find it yourself. 

[1]A more detailed life story of Einstein can be found here: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/albert-einstein-born

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