Stand back up: how to recover when you DON’T get your dream job

Posted by | November 5, 2018 | Career changers, Job hunters, Job interviews, Looking for work

Stand back up: how to recover when you DON'T get your dream job.

Getting a job you love is one of the BEST feelings imaginable, but what about the unanswered applications, sad-face interviews and straight-out rejections strewn along the way? We feel your pain. Here are five perspective shifts to help you stand back up when you don’t get your dream job.

My phone rang. Finally! I’d been waiting 48 hours to hear back after the job interview. Call me over-confident, but I was anticipating congratulations and a warm welcome to the team. I mean: this was my DREAM JOB after all.

But then I heard, “I’m sorry Liz, but you didn’t get the job.”

My heart sank to the bottom of my op-shopped ankle boots. “Thank you for letting me know,” I said, softly.

Later that evening, I curled up into a tiny ball and whimpered. Suicide prevention and communications? This job was meant for me. This job was fated. How could I have failed? And, more importantly, what would I do now?

Once I got over the initial shock, I needed a serious self-confidence boost.

For garden-variety disappointments, I tend to go for either (a) wallowing and wine, or (b) commiseration and carbs. But an imagined future life going off the rails? This called for something more extreme.

How do we pick ourselves up when we miss out on the perfect job?  We need a radical change of perspective. Here are five different perspectives to help you recover after missing out on your dream job.


#1. Failure is part of success

Beyoncé.

Yes, even Beyoncé.

The reality is, sometimes you lose.

Not getting what you want can be devastating – especially if it’s something you worked hard for, but remember that failing doesn’t mean YOU’RE a failure.

Every successful person will have experienced failure at some point. Even Beyoncé. Not convinced? Check out these 7 successes who failed first.


#2. Failure means you were brave

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee knows it.

Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. 

Uncertainty is terrifying. It’s far easier to live small and not go after what you truly want. But you?  You aimed high and you tried hard. That’s something to be proud of, whatever the outcome.

If you never fail, you’re not taking big enough risks.


#3. Failure gives you the data to try again

Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard Branson is no Virgin to failure.

Treat failure as a lesson on how not to approach achieving a goal, and then use that learning to improve your chances of success when you try again.

So your job application didn’t tick the boxes – this time. Now you can use the new information you’ve gained to plan your next line of attack.

Get deep and get juicy:

  • How would you answer the interview questions differently?
  • Were you missing skills?  Is there an online course you could take to improve?
  • Do you need support from a coach, mentor or friend?
  • Is there a slightly different role that might be a better fit?

#4. Failure allows you to reassess your direction

Brene Brown.

Brené Brown knows about Daring Greatly.

There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.

If the world always went to plan, there’d be no need to invent new ways of doing things.

When we don’t get our dream job, we’re given the freedom to think up new ways to get our dream job or to choose another direction at this moment.

This ‘failure’ could be the start of a whole new life path you’d otherwise have never thought of.


#5. Failure doesn’t define you – getting back up defines you

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Ralph Waldo Emerson believes in you.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Falling down is inevitable.  Everyone does it. Your decision to get back up when you’re ready is what will get you success in the end.

What builds your confidence and self-esteem? It could be:

  • Coffee with a friend who believes in you.
  • Remembering what Dr Barringer said about your writing in Year 10 English class.
  • Thinking about all the intense challenges you’ve stood up from before.
  • Watching Wonder Woman or Black Panther on repeat.

It’s tough to stand back up when you don’t get your dream job. We hope these five perspective shifts help motivate you to recover your self-belief. Here’s to carbs, commiseration and confidence!

Photo by Jaco Pretorius on Unsplash

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