Why Being Rejected From A Dream Job Can Be A Learning Experience

This was it – the job interview I’d spent weeks if not months preparing for. In fact, it felt as though my entire life had led to this moment; I was about to walk through the door and put myself forward for a dream job.

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I had every answer to hand and had studied the story of Roger Hooper, who’s career in photography matched my own ambitions and which had, ultimately, inspired me to apply for the job in question.

But… I didn’t get it. And you know what? It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

This tale will chime with many, for we all dream of working a job that we look forward to each and every morning. A job that enables us to do something we deeply love and for which we get paid handsomely.

In reality, few jobs like that exist, but the discovery of what we think may indeed be the ‘perfect career’ often leads to a far greater life lesson that shapes the path we tread from there on.

There are countless high profile examples of this magic at work, proving that we’re certainly not alone.

Here’s why, with hindsight, I know the aforementioned failed interview was the best thing that could ever have happened to me:

It Made Me Realize I Was Fallible

I thought the job was mine. As it turned out, I was nowhere near ready. Worse still, I wasn’t right for the job. Not being given the thumbs-up I expected forced me to face up to the harsh reality that I was fallible when it came to applying for a job I assumed was in my blood. It wasn’t a certainty at all – I was clearly very wide of the mark in this instance and that’s a very tough lesson to learn.

It Made Me Revise My Life Goals

The weeks following the rejection were tough, but, once the dust has settled, I decided to take another look at the goals I had set myself. Clearly, I’d got this one wrong. In fact, the more I looked at it, the more I realized that I didn’t really have a goal for my career – I had just assumed this was the right thing to do.

It felt right and, regardless of the benefits going with one’s gut instinct offers, in this instance, a bit more forethought and planning should have been undertaken. I decided to set myself a new goal.

It Made Me Throw Away My CV

This step won’t be for everyone, and I certainly wouldn’t encourage it, but once I’d revised my goals, I realized that I didn’t need my CV. It was full of whimsical rhetoric about my personality and the commercial realities I assumed I knew like the back of my hand.

In truth, it was holding me back. My CV had been forcing me to believe I was something I wasn’t – consequently pointing me in a direction that wouldn’t have resulted in a happy career.

It Forced Me To Start My Own Business

Ultimately, this is the path that failed job interview led me to. Having realized I had clearly decided upon a career that wasn’t within my best interests, and taken the incredibly difficult decision to throw away my CV, I dived head-first into starting my own business.

Pin ItI’d found my true calling. Although based around the industry within which I thought my dream job resided, my business enabled me to be creative, forge a path of my own and build something from nothing. This time, it felt completely right.


Have you recently been denied the chance to pursue a career you think is ‘the one’? Don’t despair. Take some time to re-evaluate your thinking; chances are, you’ve got it wrong, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The ability to realise that’s the case will enable you to press on with something far bigger.

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