Applying for a job: acceptance or rejection, negative or positive outcome?

I applied for a job. It’s a very formal process, isn’t it; reviewing and tailoring your CV and sculpting a corking covering letter that really sells your skills and attributes to the role and company. This is my second go, I applied to something else earlier in the summer but the role was withdrawn before interview.

I went for the interview feeling upbeat and positive. I really enjoyed it all, relishing the chat about the trade and talking through campaigns and challenges.

Today I got the email saying sorry, they’d chosen someone else. Instead of feeling rejected – quite a common sentiment this year – I felt very positive. It was extraordinary. I felt a very strong ‘not-right-ness’. I know I have worked with words for years, and that’s not a proper word, but it does sum up the feeling perfectly. I wasn’t right for the position and I wasn’t right for the company – and they clearly felt the same. And do you know what, that’s absolutely fine.

I’d been approached earlier in the day with another possible opportunity, so perhaps I received the later news better as I’d been buoyed up by this, I don’t know.

I remember very clearly the feelings of rejection in the publishing workplace. When we’d bust a gut to put together a pitch, line up in beauty parades or design stunts to win new business – and then for whatever reason the author and their agent decided our offer wasn’t right, the territories were wrong or that they simply preferred a competitor’s team. Although being turned down didn’t get any easier, I did learn that perhaps the particular publishing house and team might not always be the best fit for that book or that author – and as children’s publishing is swings and roundabouts we’d win another pitch another time, and perhaps work with the chosen author on another book. There was always another opportunity around the corner.

So I know that if you or I apply for something, and don’t get it, we need to remember it might just be a case of not-rightness too.

The ten year old footballing son’s reaction to the news? ‘Don’t worry mum you’ll get another job.’ A good lad to have on my team.

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