Job Interviews and Life Lessons

A few weeks ago I attended a job interview. It wasn’t the first job I’ve interviewed for, it probably won’t be the last, but it stood out.

Until last year, there had never been an interview which I hadn’t aced. I mean sure, I’ve applied for lots of jobs and been unsuccessful, but if I got an interview, I’d never failed to secure whatever it was I was after – a job, a place on a university course, whatever. I think I come across OK – I’m polite, I prepare well and usually I really want whatever the end goal is.

Last year, a position came up at work which, while it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, was a step up from what I currently do. It meant more responsibility and more money, and I felt like the time was right. There was only one other candidate, and for the first time in my life, I was told that I had been unsuccessful at interview. I wasn’t overly shocked, more disappointed, especially when the person feeding back gave the other candidate’s age as a reason for her getting the job over me.

Since then I have successfully moved jobs, to do the same job in a different place. I interviewed for that, obviously and performed well. But then, last month, I was made aware of a job opportunity in the school. That same position which I interviewed for last year had become available. Again, it isn’t exactly the route I see myself taking but I thought it could be a stepping stone, if you like. A way to take on more responsibility and show people how good I can be. I applied, and spent a day giving a presentation to a panel of senior leaders, then being formally interviewed.

I don’t want to be arrogant, but I did feel like both parts had gone well. I’d prepared well, I researched well and I could give lots of examples of things I already did which would be part of the new role.

But, for the second time in my life, I was told I had been unsuccessful. Again; not exactly a shock (the other candidate had worked for longer at the school and therefore demonstrated directly to the people making the decision what she was capable of, whereas I could only tell them about the things I had done), but still disappointing. It was a long day, and I’d worked hard and felt very nervous all day.

The feedback was so positive: it was a close call, they thought I was very brave to apply and prepare so well when I’ve only just got been hired, my performance reminded them why they had hired me etc. I came out of there feeling uplifted. But the fact still remains: The only job I’ve ever been turned down for (twice now!) is this one.

I genuinely think it’s not meant to be. I prepared just as well for this interview as I would have done for a job that I really really wanted. I don’t think I was lacking in the skills needed, or the personal qualities… I just think that this isn’t the route I want my career to go in (if indeed I stay in teaching), and the universe knows this and won’t let me make the mistake of taking on a position which isn’t right for me.

So, after a very long and emotionally draining day, I’d like to thank the universe, and promise that I will stop applying for jobs that, deep down, I know I don’t really want to do.

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