Employment Lottery

I wrote the email below in response to a recent enquiry.  I think its context makes the background self evident.

I have reviewed my email below in the light if your rude response to it to see if there was anything therein that deserved such a reaction.  My reference to the lottery was meant to give you some indication of the relative probability of us receiving a request for a full time private music (piano) tutor in a Spanish speaking country for which you would have the right personality match.  I was merely trying to indicate that I felt that the probability of us getting the Client request you need was probably lower than the likelihood of winning a lottery.

I don’t think that was unfair…

Of the 6 billion people in the world I estimate there are perhaps 100 million who could afford our services.  Of these, perhaps 20 million have families with children in the 5-19 age range, and perhaps 5 million live in Spanish speaking countries.  Of these 5 million, perhaps 1000 will think about getting a full time private tutor to help them with their general school work, or to prepare for an exam, or help with a learning difference…but only about 10 of them will actually enquire and 1 or 2 of these may come to us.  Let’s assume for the sake of the calculation that BOTH of them wanted 35 hours a week of one-on-one piano tuition.

That would mean that the chances of us getting such an enquiry in the first place is about 2 in 6,000,000,000

Now, I appreciate that you may be one of the best music teachers in Australia, and I am grateful to you for your interest in Tutors International.  (I’ve looked at your really rather lovely web site and impressive biography.  I cannot imagine how much you want to charge to give up your professional recording career to become a full time private tutor to one child for at least a year.)  But you will appreciate that I have a large number of musically talented registrants on our database.  Many of them play multiple instruments, have a professional or semi-professional music career.  Many more of them are less able musically, but instead offer help across all school subjects, multiple languages, special educational needs and sports.  Some of these are even familiar with multiple school systems, such as the US, IB and UK, not mention the French Lycée system…

It’s more likely that the 2 in 6 billion enquiries I get from someone in a Spanish-speaking country will want more than 35 hours of music a week for 12 months.  It’s more likely that at least one of these two will also want help with general school subjects.  Let’s face it, if they were getting 35 hours of music a week then they would probably have to be home-schooled and this would mean that their music teacher would have to be teaching all their other school subjects as well.

That still leaves a 1 in 6 billion chance (probability 0.0000000000167) that someone wants what you offer.  I estimate that  I have about 25 very talented musicians on my database at the moment.  If I were to get such a Client enquiry as this I would advertise the position and expect to get about another 25.  From this group of 50 I would want to meet 6,  from which I would shortlist 2 to meet the Client.  For you to be one of these two would be a probability of 2 in 50, or 0.04.  You would then have a 1 in 2 chance of getting the job, a probability of 0.5

So, for you to be the successful candidate for this job, the probability would be:

0.5 x 0.04 x 0.0000000000167 = 0.00000000000033

Or, 1 in 300,000,000,000 (that’s 300 billion)

The chance of winning the Euro-Million lottery is 1 in 116,531,800 (http://www.euro-millions.com/articles/what-are-the-odds.asp)
In other words, you are 2,500 (approx) times more likely to win the Euro-Million lottery than to be successful in getting a position with Tutors International.

You may be interested to know that statistically, you have a:
1 in 10 million chance of being killed by lightning
1 in 3 million chance of dying from food poisoning
1 in 2 million chance of dying by falling out of bed

One thing’s for sure though, if your reaction to my simple and rather helpful advice not to get your hopes up about getting a job with Tutors International was enough to provoke the kind of outburst you unleashed in response, your odds of working for us are now lower still.

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