I recently interviewed for what I’d call my dream job–writing at home full-time about all things personal finance. Part of the interview was to write five different writing assignments. I was really nervous. Even though I spend between 2-4 hours a day writing for various clients, I still feel like there’s a lot more room to grow in terms of my writing skillz. So I enlisted a competent editor (my wife) and got ready to put my heart and soul into the assignments.
The first came back and they loved it! They even paid me for it (after which, my editor informed me that she charges 40%. Well played). The second article was quite a bit more research-intensive, and though I spent almost twice as much time on it as the first one, it ended up a fail. They gave me some feedback and then told me they would be pursuing other candidates. It was over before I knew it.
When I got the email, I was heartbroken. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to be a shoe-in or anything, but I was really hoping and praying for the opportunity. But since the dust has settled, I’ve had a chance to think more clearly about what I’ve learned from the experience.
I haven’t failed
I’m no stranger to getting turned down for jobs. I was unemployed my first 6 months out of college, and have been underemployed in the 16 months since then. Getting turned down for yet another job could have been just another reminder that I’m a failure. But as I looked back on where I was a year ago versus where I am now, I’m anything but a failure. Over the last year, I’ve tripled my income. I’m to the point where even though I don’t love my day job, I’ve been able to balance two careers well enough so that my wife hasn’t had to work for the past 6 months as she’s been dealing with some health issues. She will also be able to stay home for when our baby comes in February. And even though we’re not saving as much money as I wish we were, and sometimes I feel a little helpless about our debt, I’ve used my passion to build something out of nothing. I haven’t failed in any sense of that word.
I’m still learning
There are a million things I still haven’t mastered when it comes to writing. I don’t have an English degree and I had never done any writing outside of school before I started my blog. When I got the feedback in the email, I knew I could be bitter about it or I could learn from it. There were certain things the recruiter said that I hadn’t even thought about while I was writing. My wife also gave me some great insight on some thing as she was editing my articles. I’ve always been a big believer that knowledge is power, and the more I learn from my own mistakes, the better and more successful I can become.
These past two years have been hard, but I feel like I’ve been blessed beyond what I deserve. Over the last few days, I’ve taken the chance to ask myself where I would be if I didn’t start this blog just over a year ago. To be honest, it’s scary to even think about it. If I hadn’t started this blog, I’d likely still be underemployed without any supplemental income. My wife would be forced to work through the health issues she’s been dealing with. Our marriage was going through a rough patch at the time, but since she gave up her job as a teacher, we’ve spent more time together than ever, and our relationship is stronger than ever. It’s been stressful at times trying to keep up with everything, but it’s been an amazing ride and I’m looking forward to more of it.
My dreams aren’t crushed
As devastating as it was to get that email, I’m still on a good path to where I want to go. Even during the interview process, I added another client to my portfolio, and there are a couple more in the works. I’m planning on writing full-time one day, whether it’s for someone else or for myself. This rejection is just one more to add to the shelf, and I’m sure there are many more to come. If I spend too much time dusting that shelf and keeping it presentable, I won’t have any time to add anything to my shelf of accomplishments on the opposite wall. The more dust on the rejection shelf, the better.
This is fun
I love a good challenge. The reason I hated my first job out of college was because it was no longer challenging after two weeks. One of the reasons I love writing so much is because it’s constantly a challenge. I have to push myself to get out of bed every morning at 5:00 a.m. (and not go back to sleep). I have to manage my time in a way to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of every minute I work. Sometimes it’s super stressful, but most of the time it’s just fun.
Have you ever been turned down for your dream job? How have you taken failures in stride?