Fate and Careers

Ted Giannoulas was a college student who needed to earn some money.  He found a job working for a local radio station.  He had to wear a chicken suit and hand out Easter eggs at the local zoo.  The pay was $2/hr.  The year was 1974.  Since this was a short assignment, Ted proposed that he represent the radio station at San Diego Padre baseball games.  Ted was a baseball fan, so this would give him an opportunity to see the games at no cost.

When Ted put on the chicken costume, his personality changed.  The result was improvisational genius.  Baseball at the time was struggling.  It was viewed as a stodgy sport, which was mostly of interest to an older audience.  The San Diego Chicken changed the image of baseball from a sport for older adults to a family event.  By the end of the season, attendance had doubled.  Within 5 years, every baseball team had a mascot.

The radio station and Ted had a falling out and the radio station wanted to block Ted from wearing the chicken costume.  The California Supreme Court decided in Ted’s favor.  Ted was allowed to return to the Padres games.

Ted’s return to the ballpark was a spectacular event before a sellout crowd.  Since then, Ted has performed his act in every state, eight countries, and on four continents.  He has performed in front of over 60 million people.  Throughout his career, he has never refused an autograph, signing his name more than two million times.

What is less known about Ted is what he looks like in person.  He has never been photographed out of costume.  When his court case was being heard against the radio station, he covered his face in a paper bag.

Ted’s career is one that exemplifies two important career principles.  One is the role of fate.  Never in his wildest imagination would Ted have envisioned a career as an entertainer before millions.  He is a private person when he is not on stage.  When fate led him to put on the chicken costume, he found something about himself he didn’t know.  That’s the second principle.  Often, we have a personal side to our lives and a career side.  A quiet, shy person can be an entertainer as Ted was.  And a loud, outgoing personality can be a wonderful caring personality behind the scenes.

The wonderful thing about careers is that there is no magic wand that says you will be great at this.  You just have to pursue opportunities as they come to you.

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“Knowing too much of your future is never a good thing.” – Rick Riordan (Author)

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