The Time I Didn’t Get My Dream Job

18 Sep


Earlier this year I interviewed for my dream job.  I was fairly confident about the process.  If there was any position in the world tailor-made for my skills, resume, and writing style it was this one.

This job was my future.

I skipped out on the end-of-year festivities with my classmates and headed up to San Francisco for a few days.  The dream job, of course, was in the dream city.  Dream things go together, that’s how the universe works.

I bought a fabulous new BCBG dress that flared in all the right places. I wore my favorite Zara ankle boots and 10 rings on one hand and I spent a day in Starbucks impatiently watching Frasier and waiting for my meeting.

The interview went well, I think.  Nothing glaringly wrong.  They had read my blog and enjoyed it.  I had competent answers for their questions.  The offices were bubble gum pink and made me feel like I was at home.

I left the interview and called Luke back in LA.  “It was good,” I said.  “So, so, so, so good.”

I paced up and down the gloomy streets of San Francisco giving him the play-by-play, smiling broadly at the flower salesman as he called out to passerbys, nodding to the suited businesswomen, my soon-to-be counterparts.

The sun broke through the fog as I walked and, for a moment, all was glorious in the world.

In a haze of success I wandered into Ghiradelli and got myself a chocolate chip cookie sundae and the biggest, fizziest Diet Coke in the building.

My future.  It was working out!  It was better than I even planned.

Nothing’s better than planned.  I have a huge imagination.  Nothing is better than planned.

Except this.

I waited for the call following my interview.  I knew they had other people to see so it probably would be some time, maybe a week.  I wasn’t that worried, though.  This was what I had been preparing for ever since I started putting words to paper. Ever since I decided writing was my thing.

If I didn’t get this job, I wouldn’t get any job.

After a few days my friends started to ask if I had heard back from the company.  My parents also inquired, fairly regularly, I think to comfort themselves that this writing thing was about to pay off.

“I’ll let you know,” I said, “I’m sure it will be soon.”

“I’m not positive,” I said,  “they didn’t give me a timeline here.”

And then one day it was, “No.  I didn’t get it.  I know.  Me too.”

A month or so later I took another job, here in LA.

I didn’t have to start over in a new place.  I didn’t have to try to survive San Francisco on a writer’s salary.  Luke and I didn’t have to figure out a long distance relationship.

There were positives to this, obviously.

I know there were positives.

A friend once told me that being a writer and hating rejection is like being a doctor and hating blood.  It comes with the territory.  We are constantly, constantly being rejected, even the very best.

And it’s hard. And personal.

If you reject my blog that feels like a bigger rejection than saying I don’t have the necessary experience for this corporate position.

If you reject my story, my words aren’t good enough.  My life, my thoughts, me.  I’m not good enough.

It’s personal every.single.time.

This week I fell into a bit of a rabbit hole.

A girl who works for the Would Be Dream Company posted on her blog about her fabulous studio apartment in her fabulous city and I found out that she’s two years younger than me.

Two years younger than me and three positions above the job I did not get at the company that did not want me and here she is living in my dream apartment and working in my dream career.

Two years younger than me.

Three positions above.

I think the hardest part of being in your 20s is learning to let go of the comparison.

Everyone is just starting life.  We’re building things piece by piece, stumbling and falling and figuring it all out.

I have friends with mortgages and minivans and children enrolled in freaking elementary school.  I have friends living at their parent’s homes, unemployed and unhappy.

I have friends everywhere in between.

I wonder if it’s a bit like when we’re children.  Some of us are quick walkers, or quick talkers, or have really great social skills right away.  Some of us potty train like THAT, while some of us spend years trying to conquer the toilet.  We all develop at different rates and have different talents and what seems so important at that age fades away as we get older.

I can’t tell you which of my friends crawled first.

In 20 years I might not be able to tell you which of my friends got their own place first.  Or if I can, it certainly won’t matter nearly as much.

In these beginning stages of adulthood some people are running a whole lot faster than others.  Some people are talking in full sentences and reading tomes and showing huge athletic promise that will likely mean the Olympics!

And some of us are taking our sweet time, and learning to crawl backwards and upside down and army style before we walk.

Some of us are behind, some are ahead.

And it’s a hard thing.

It’s hard to accept what we already know—that we’re all driving on a freeway, but we don’t know where everyone else is going.  We don’t know their exits or plans and we can’t compare our own speed or path to anyone else’s.

Tomorrow is my last day at my LA job.  I’m off to Malibu and other writing adventures and I have no idea what the future holds for me.



Eesh, I must like doing this to myself.

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5 Responses to “The Time I Didn’t Get My Dream Job”

  1. Yalí September 19, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for a while but this post really resonated with me.

    I’ve felt like this a couple of times, especially when, like you, I found out someone younger who got to live my dream instead of me. It sucks, and thinking that everything happens for a reason really doesn’t help. I guess all that helps is knowing that you can move past the rejection and find another dream, learn something new and let go. I don’t know. It still hurts a bit when I think too hard about it, but mostly life has been good, so I know there’s something else out there worth dreaming about and fighting for.

    May you find another dream job in a dream city and may you snatch it this time!

    Also, enjoy Malibu!!

  2. Kate Ann September 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    I hope you find another dream job. Maybe they thought you were too senior for the position you applied for? I’m dying to know the company and the girl’s blog. Good luck to you!

  3. Camila September 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Fantastic post, Jillian! Your writing is exactly on point as always and very touching. I feel the exact same way as I’m currently trying to figure out how to get a writing gig!
    I kind of liked your friend’s saying about ‘being a writer and hating rejection is like being a doctor and hating blood’ – however I don’t think anyone likes rejection, even though as writers we must get used to it, I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy it!

  4. chelsea September 23, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Your words about rejection are SO true. It’s so hard and hurts so much, but it just comes with the territory.

  5. Jane September 23, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    You never know what happens TOMORROW. Today is not tomorrow. Tomorrow can be VERY different. We can be gone from this world, we can be anything.
    Letting go of comparison, I like. I cannot do math, so I do not compare myself with other Asian kids at school. lol

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