Lifetime opportunity: gone... how to go on?

Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 08:51 am
Firstly, I would like to apologize for posting this here, under "Relationship". I could not find a better place for this, and eventualy, I though this would be the most suitable place for my question, since it concerns psychological aspects and, well relationship -- firstly, the one to yourself.....

... I work in an industry which has particularly suffered from the world's economical crisis. One of the most obvious facts confirming this is change of the number of employees: just in 18 months, my office employs 3 persons from previous 15; and the number of persons employed in the whole corporation (which, by the way, has offices in 32 countries) shrinked 4 times.

What happens now is that the workload is continuing to fall, and the type of assignments has strongly changed -- I am basicly overqualified for my current work. This not only affects the renumeration, but also stongly hits my motivation, since I see that I am getting dumber doing this job and no professional development is to be expected in near future.

So, despite of having spent many years with my last employer, I started to look for another job. At the beginning I could not see any offers at my field, but then I saw an add, which almost made my heart stop. It was describing my dream job. This was so perfect that I didn't even dare to expect such a chance... The position concerned those parts of my job that I love most of all (and want to further develop in exactly that direction); and it was within the organization of my dreams. I have spent my last 5 years thinking that MAYBE someday I will be blessed to get such a chance to do something like this -- maybe someday in 10 - 15 years they would have a vacancy there...

Well, I probably shouldn't go too much into detail here, but the most important part is that this was truely an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I would do everything to get this job in whatever times, and particularly now, considering the fact that my current position was so unsafe -- it felt just like destined...

Of course, I applied. And thus became one of 165 candidates (!) eagering to get this job. However, since this so much concerns what I'm best at, I managed to successfully go through the 4 stages of the candidate selection process (which took more than 3 weeks, and I was so worried that I could not sleep a single night during that time...). In the final end, the organization had to choose 1 of the remaining 10 candidates -- but they couldn't make up their minds, since, as they explained to me, there were 2 persons ideally suitable for the job.

I was one of those 2.

They started to organize additional selection stages -- firstly an additional practical assignment, and since this did not help to decide, an additional interview was held. I did my very best all the way, since the very first step of the selection process, because this was TRUELY important to me. I was SO worried, but somehow I managed to control this and I really, truely did the best I could.

After the final interview was over, I left the building knowing that there was nothing better I could do. I was so assured the job is mine, that for the first time in those 3 weeks, I got to sleep calmly, thanking God for giving me such an opportunity to start a new life. I even got to plan my first tasks at the new job, and figured out what I need to learn in order to shine there...

Well, and I believe you feel where this is going........ The day after, I received a call from the top manager of this organization. A lower person had to call and to announce the decision, however he explained that he wanted to speak to me himself and this is why he's calling.

He said to me that this has been one of the toughest decisions he ever had to make, since the two final candidates had so much in common and were equally good on all aspects. "However", he said, "I am calling you with the bad news..." He spoke about 5 minutes, explaining why they chose another person... he wanted to convince me that "it truely was not because of me", that he believes I did the best, but so did the other candidate, and eventually, since they had to choose 1 out of 2, they decided to go for the one that had longer experience in the field. And the other candidate, as it was noted, works in this field "a couple of months longer than me". Plus, the other person has been involved in more diversified projects, which "might appear benefitial in the future".

Well, he said many nice things to me, which truely showed sympathy and I could really feel he regrets to have been in this situation, and that he was sorry for me, too. He probably expected I would be happy to have had such a respectful call from him, but, unfortunately, it did not make things easier -- I am even more sorry to have missed this opportunity, when I see what kind of a thoughtful person is leading the team.

This one phone call brought me down so much, that I still cannot get over it, and it's been a week already. Every morning, when I wake up, the first thought that -- unintentionally -- comes to my head, is "hey, it's you, YOU are the one that was almost there, but was finally omitted!". And I start to regret myself; and the whole remaining day I try to get over it, but the fact is that I still cannot believe it's over, and deep in my heart, I keep waiting for another phone call, which would confirm that this was just a bad joke and they are waiting for me on Monday... at the same time, now I truely doubt my competences, since I truely did the best I could and it led me nowhere.


Today I thought, maybe I should come here and tell this story... maybe it'll appear that some of you have suffered the same, or maybe someone would have an advice how to finally get over this and find the strength to stand up again... or maybe there will be someone to share different stories, but just in case it gives inspiration to wait for yet another morning, I will be so happy to hear them.

Thank you beforehand for anything you will say. As a matter of fact, I thank you ALREADY for your patience to read such a long and, well, rather miserable story...
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Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 09:34 am
Yeah, I've applied for jobs I dearly wanted and just barely fell short. It sucks, for sure.

Like anything else that really sucks, though, at some point you have to move into acceptance and look past it. Maybe a week isn't long enough. You still have the old job, right?

At any rate, I do sympathize, but I'm not sure what advice to give other than to keep looking and maybe keep your hopes down a bit next time this happens, don't get too excited before you actually have the job. It sounds like you'd built things up a bit unrealistically.

Good luck.
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Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 11:11 am
Titia, you got very close; that's something to be proud and pleased about. It bodes well for the future. Or it can if you allow it to.

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Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 06:21 pm
Send this person some flowers with a card that says thanks for the opportunity to apply for this wonderful job and to please consider you if there should be another opportunity open.

Keep your face and resume on top of the pile touching base with this company over the next months.

when this economy turns around, there will be additional hiring and you want to be the first person they think of.

Keep the faith and keep building your resume. Good luck.
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 08:46 am
You did well, nonetheless.

What about looking into some more places that you feel like a match for you?even if they don't have any openings at the moment you never know...ask to meet with the employer for half an hour of their time. When there's an opening they're bound to think of you.

This strategy will help you get your mind off some of your current woes and keep you focused.

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Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 10:53 am
I agree - not sure the flowers are necessary - but a quick thank you letter with also stating that you are still very interested in their company and would welcome the opportunity if and when another comes available.

Who knows this person may end up not liking it - or maybe they could end up with some additional growth - you never know.
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 11:20 am
I agree about the flowers. A thoughtful, handwritten note on a quality note card would do the trick.
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Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 03:29 am
Firstly, thank you all for your insights and responses!

Sozobe, you are right, I was really counting the chickens before they were hatched... I truely need to learn to keep the hopes down until there is an actual reason for celebrating.

Contrex, thank you so much for your note... It really helped me to think it all over again and find the bright side... having come all this way is a truely good sign, and hopefully it materializes someday.

I was particularly intrigued by Sullyfish6's idea to send flowers... it sounds like a brilliant idea and it could be worthwile. I even thought further: this organization is dealing with multi-national affairs, and I might order a bouquet in the colors of the National flag of the country this particular department concerns. Wouldn't it be neat? People usually notice such details, I believe.

However, there are both pros and cons... The following issues make me doubt a little:
1 - My current employer is sensitive to the economical cycles, however, the place I applied to functions more like a Governmental establishment. The number of positions is set there, and it happens so that they employ only 1 person like me... Now, there will only be a vacancy in this office when this other "winner" leaves (unless they change the rules... you never know).
--> However, there are other reasons why maintaining good relationship is benefitial... they might recommend me to other related establishments (given that other establishments seek to employ this one person), which would be almost equally good for me.

2 - When I had this "Thank you, no" phonecall, the head of the organization remarked that "they will definately keep my resume and just in case there is a chance to take me on board, they will do so" (this, actually, sounded sincere and convincing).
--> However, of course, people tend to forget things, so I believe I shouldn't count on this too much...

3 - Wouldn't it be a little weird for me to send flowers NOW, when more than a week passed after this last interview? Moreover, wouldn't it sound sort of desperate?...

After all you've just read, what do you think -- should I do this? (I am truely interested in your opinion, even though I am already thinking of the best places to buy a nice hand-made paper card, and where to order flowers... I must truely be a person with too sharp projections to the future!)

Other than that... I've found out that in this situation, it is truely important to act, to just do something -- just in order to avoid the bad feelings. I am proceeding to sharpen my skills even more, and I also considered Gala's idea to approach the other establishments -- although it needs a second thought, since all of those only has 1 position for a person like me... but maybe? (I should probably at least list all possible organizations and departments and rank them according to how much I wish to work for them. Maybe after that, I will see that some of them truely should be paid a visit).

Thank you once again for your advices, for your support and inspiration!
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 06:17 am
From personal experience-- I had a friend who was a certified job-getter expert and she clued me into contacting the employer by sending them a letter and requesting a half-hour of their time to find out about the work they do, etc.

I conacted a publisher and he met with me. I wanted to write book reviews. A month later his reviewer left the company and he contacted me to see if I was interested in applying for the position. What a thrill...
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Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 09:11 am
I would not send flowers to any corporation, especially if the interviewers were men, but I would send the interviewing committee a short "thank you for the opportunity" note and maybe comment on what a lovely and professional way the person who called you imparted the bad news. I don't think it's too late but do it soon.

You never know, the person they hired could get fired, leave for medical or personal reasons, or get hit by a car and die, and your name is next, apparently. Don't ever give up - the job may be offered to you when you least suspect it.
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Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 12:39 pm
Gala, truely, what a thrill! Congratulations for having such a warm experience! (and I will definately keep this noted.)

Mame, thank you for the suggestion... I believe the idea of mentioning the way the bad news were announced is just great (and, well, he does really deserve a compliment for handling this so professionally).

... I got a message from my employer today, that I am, unfortunately, one of those lucky persons, who will get fired with the next "wave" (now only the mid-managers get to hold their positions... strange, but fact). 2 months to go.

Spills even more petrol in the job-seeking engine. Also, puts even a bigger questionmark on my daily "How could I miss SUCH a chance?" topic...

I was now thinking, in my note to this dream-company-head -- with flowers or without -- should I diplomatically mention this?... Like, I might hint that 2 upcoming monts are the last for me within this old corporation, but however I will be looking forwards to an opportunity to join their organization whenever it's available... or do you think I should just skip this?
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Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 01:00 pm
Agreeing about sending a letter of thanks, and asking them to remember you when another position comes open.

In addition, in about 3 months, no sooner, give them a call and find out what other positions might now be available.

Around 3 months is the time when a company knows if the new person is going to make it, and you need to let them know you're still interested.

Is there any way you refer customers to this company, asking them to mention your name when they give them their business?

They'll remember that for sure.
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Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 06:54 am
Thank you all once again for brilliant advises.

I sent the flowers! They were all gathered according to the colors of their National Flag, and I also asked the florist to put three nice quality ribbons in corresponding colors on the bouquet. Together with the flowers, a hand-written Thank-you message was added.

I received an e-mail thanking for the bouquet just after the flowers were delivered... He said my resume is filed and I'll be contacted in case they have vacancies. (This might mean some 30 years of waiting, but you never know).

Thank you for your advises (this one and the others, too) -- hadn't I spoke to you, I would have never thought of this myself.
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Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 07:36 am
T€tia - good luck. Believe me, they will not forget you!

When this crazy economy gets better, there is going to be a huge hiring period.
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Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 02:34 am
Since almost a year passed, I thought I'd come back and thank you all once again for your insights and comments.

What happened back then was that I waved goodbye to my former employer, and immediately started working for another company (former partners invited to join as they heard I'm being dismissed due to this cut). This was a very basic position;I said goodbye to international business development in order to lead a team of receptionists. Thus when I got an offer in another firm at my field in 4 months, I joyfully switched.

I did not spend a single day unemployed, however it's gonna be 1.5 stressful years without a single day of vacation due to those switches -- feels exausting, truely. This job rotation was hard to go through after the many years I had spent in 1 position, yet I'm though it already. My current job is ok; it is the toughest position in the department, but there might be further career opportunities someday in the future...

The interesting thing is, it's been almost a year since I was not offered "my dream job", and I am still SO not over it. The thing is, this has truely been the position of my dreams. What hurts most of all -- it is so rare to occur, and now that my area of work has become more narrow, in a year or so I am no longer even a match for my dream job - I will simply become underqualified! I keep following the situation and try to maintain my competences , but even though another chance would someday pop up and I would apply, would they consider me after looking at my latest position?

In any way, a year of mourning seems way too much in this situation. I realize I should get over it and finally move on, but nothing seems to work. Tried to forget it which basically felt like ignoring it -- did not work at all. As time goes by, the concern "what on earth is wrong with my head?" is starting to overwhelm the question of proffesional career development itself Smile I should probably face it and if positive thinking gives no result, I might DO something in order to deal with it. The question is, what?

I thought, one option could be to invite the guy they hired for lunch. I would openly tell how great is the position he holds to my mind, and since he is in this specific field, I might ask him for a favor - to notice if any similar opportunities are about to occur.

Another option might be to write a message to the head of the company and to note that I still find them extremely interesting. Would sound like a letter of desperation, huh?

Third option is to keep up to date at that field, screen for further adds (this will be depressing, since the chance of seeing 1 a year is like 5%), but contact no one - just face the fact I am at a different area now and focus on career opportunities with my current employer - however limited I would feel at this field.

I am ok with my present position - however tough it would be, however limited and whatever time it would take to feel rewarding -- I regard it as will and tenacity hardening. Whoever can demonstrate great results when the work is greatly rewarding, highly motivating and your self-satisfaction is boosted every day. But when you go through a tougher period, what can appear impossible to you afterwards?

Everything is ok here - the only question is, how do I get over the other thing?..
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Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 07:47 am
There is absolutely nothing wrong with networking and, yes, you can network with the guy who got the job you wanted. You can also network with the head of the company where you wanted to be. These are not desperation moves. People do this all the time.

You contact them, invite them to coffee (you are going to pay for this) and you meet. Do NOT bring your resume. This is not a job interview. Do NOT ask for a job. DO ask if there are other companies where you could be looking for similar opportunities. DO ask if there is training that you could obtain in the field. DO ask if there are similar positions (and not necessarily at their company) where you might be a fit. DO ask if you can stay in touch.

And -- network with more people, not just those two. Why? Because (a) networking gets people jobs and you're clearly unhappy in your current work, (b) you might learn about some company or role that would be a better fit for you, and (c) you will be occupying your mind with other, more productive, things.

You're right, you need to get over this. At this point, it is not helping -- it is obsessing. They are not obsessing over you, yes? So you need to stop giving them so much power over your life. And, like you said, your skills are running in a different direction. But I think you're also not allowing yourself to potentially be happy doing something else.

Dreams change. You may find that a new dream is a better one.
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 01:29 am
Thank you so much for sharing this opinion! I've read your post a number of times and still I'm wondering how insightful it is. You are right, the first thing to do is to figure out whether I shouldn't turn to perspectives in my current work, and then try to figure whether I truely lost something or just gained a new opportunity.

Thank you so much once again for sharing your thoughts!
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