if at first you don’t succeed

if at first you don’t succeed

So I’d finally landed it, an interview in the television and entertainment industry. This was my fourth stab at trying to get on with this company, and I finally got a call back.

“Why do you want to work here?” the department manager asked, once the interview was rolling.

I had that answer prepared and knew it was a risk, but it was the truth: “Currently I’m working in the financial industry, and I feel like a foreign exchange student who is ready to come home. I’m grateful for all I’ve learned and the people I’ve met, but it’s not where I’m supposed to be, and I really want to be back in television and entertainment where I can offer the best of my skills and experience.”

The co-manager said, “How cool.”

The department manager said nothing. I couldn’t tell how she felt about my response for two reasons: we were on Zoom and I didn’t have my readers on. (I figured the younger I looked, the better, hence no readers.) But her exuberance was underwhelming.

So the questions kept coming, and I did well on all of them except one. I should have asked for a do-over. Can we do that? Ask for do-overs in interviews? 

But near the close of the interview, when I’d asked about next steps, the department manager answered snippily, “We just started the interviewing process. It will be awhile.”

Shit.

I knew then she didn’t like me. I withdrew within myself, put on a brave smile, disguising my disappointment, and thanked them for the interview.

Of course I felt shitty for the next week. Of course it messed with my confidence and I second guessed my foreign exchange student answer. I picked apart every other answer I gave, too, and made note of what I could have done better— namely, I could have asked better questions at the end, before asking about next steps.

But the truth is, if the department manager didn’t like me in the interview, she wasn’t gonna like me later. Because I showed up authentically and professionally. Or maybe my answers related to the industry were more dated than I realized… after being out of the industry for years. I don’t think so, though; I think it was a matter of dislike, plain n’ simple. But also, I learned that it’s just too risky to ask, “When I can expect to hear about next steps?” or something else to that nature… that’s really what irritated the manager the most.

So what do we do, how do we bounce back?

We just do.

That simple.

What other choice do we have? Yes, contemplation, insecurity, and regret are natural. Feeling stupid for showing up as yourself and not being chosen isn’t uncommon. But it’s all part of the job hunting experience. And the sooner we cast off the negative feelings and move on, the better off we are. 

I’m took a moment and wrote down notes on questions I could have answered a bit better, because even after sending out thank you emails, I never heard a peep.

This article is a quick but necessary read to help you pick yourself up and keep going. The author identifes 4 steps for bouncing back, and I can say I implemented them quite a bit while I was job hunting for a year and a half.

Rejection stings, no doubt about it. But we have what it takes to bounce back.

Read the article for the four steps and keep at it!

what you really want

what you really want

If you’re in the throes of job hunting long enough, you can become thoroughly exhausted.

A mixture of insecurities, positive thinking, intense preparation, putting your foot in your mouth during an interview, then putting your best foot forward afterward, again and again, can tend to land you in a blender full of Overwhelm pulp.

And the longer the hunt goes on, the more debilitating it can become. Or, on better days, the more determined you can become, to improve yourself and try again. But boy, staying steady while on that see-saw of defeat can be one of the most challenging feats to accomplish, at least for me.

Speaking of me, let’s do the math… I attempted getting on at the same company for a year and a half and applied for six jobs there.

From those six jobs, I interviewed for three positions.

Of those three positions, two of them required a second round of interviews— so, five interviews total with this company, not including speaking with HR first, for each position. It felt like so much more than five interviews… because of the intense prep, then actually doing the interviews, then writing thank you follow-ups…

I once believed I would somehow have a better chance at landing a position, if I put enough positive vibes into the universe.

I don’t believe that anymore. I don’t believe saying to the universe, “Please give me the job,” or “Please, Mr. or Ms. Decision Maker, pick me,” will make any difference at all.

What did make ALL the difference, was how I took the hits, managed the see-saw. And fortunately, eventually I landed a position within the company.

Failure can be useful when it leads to re-assesment.

So, the way I see it— there are two layers of assessment.

Layer One, top level

Continue to strengthen job hunting tools: resumes, LinkedIn presence and membership, interviewing skills, maybe hire a career coach… although a coach is pricey

Layer Two, deeper level 

Determine if the pros and cons with leaving your current job and going to the prospective new one will truly make a difference in your level of happiness. However, keep in mind no matter which job we have, we alone determine our overall happiness.

I’m once again offering Jennice Vilhauer’s work to you as a resource. She works with people, to help them get more out of life, and she tells us a lot of people don’t know what they want their life to look like when she asks them.

She makes a point that the choices can be overwhelming, but, for the most part, we know what we don’t want in our lives, such as war or poverty. She tells us once we have identified what we don’t want, we can flip it and hone in on what we do want.

She tells us to get as specific as possible and offers a worksheet to help with this here.

To read more about how to hone in on what you want and change your expectations, read her article here.