They just weren’t ready for you yet

Last night I sent an article, I had written a while ago and just edited, to an online women’s magazine and got an email back just a few hours later to say it hadn’t been accepted. This is the same website that I applied to work for about a year ago and was not successful, but they encouraged me to submit articles on a freelance basis. It upset me that they were not taking it, and reminded me of all past creative rejections in the past (including their previous rejection) so I felt it even more strongly than if it was just a single incident. I may have cried a little, while listening to ‘You just haven’t earned it yet baby’ (the Kirsty MacColl version).

The article I wrote is not really in my usual tone of writing – it’s a bit more adapted for the tone I have seen their articles written in – way more cheesy  women’s magazine style than I generally write. That’s why I sent it to them. It’s frustrating when you see articles that you think are of a similar standard (or even not as good), and you think ‘if they take that, why won’t they take mine?!’

I recently went for an interview for a marketing job in a theatre and I didn’t get it – they said I was great but there were people with more specific experience. I wasn’t as bothered by this, as I knew only one person could get the job, and I know there wasn’t much I could do about it. But the writing rejection annoyed me because they publish lots of articles, rather than just a situation where there is one job available.

It’s the same doing stand-up – sometimes you see people doing gigs that you can’t get on that you don’t think are funnier than you. That’s the problem with writing and doing comedy. Applying for the same job over and over, and then comparing yourself to other people. Ah, high expectations followed by self-loathing.

I read something recently that said you should aim for 100 rejections a year because you will surely get accepted by some of them. I like this logic and plan to follow it more, for both writing and applying for gigs. I know I shouldn’t be so sensitive as well – J K Rowling received loads of rejections before Harry Potter was published!

Maybe I will also not try to change my writing to fit a specific style that I think someone wants, and just be myself more. Then if people hate my writing or my comedy at least I know they will be hating me for who I am.

I went to a life coaching class once and they taught us this mantra to console yourself when you are rejected from a job, or an opportunity, or a romantic partner – ‘They just weren’t ready for you yet’, and I have to try and remember this when I feel like I’m not good enough. Because if i keep going, there will be people who are ready for me. And I will be ready too.

New Job, New Me

Remember that interview I went for a while ago? Well I got the job! Me? Yes! What I didn’t tell you before was that 270 people applied for the role before they narrowed it down to 30, then we had to do a sample blog entry, then they interviewed 5 and I was the one they chose. So no pressure!

Apparently I didn’t say anything stupid in the interview, although I do remember when they told me there were four more people to interview the next day,  I said ‘don’t forget about me yeah!’ I guess it worked because they didn’t.  We also talked about feminism! (No castration though).

I also didn’t tell you that I wore a bright orange dress to the interview. I wanted to stand out. I matched my nails too. Therefore, my future advice to everyone is to wear a bright orange dress to your next job interview. If you don’t get the job that will definitely be the reason.

I think the key thing is that because they were friendly and fun, it made me feel more relaxed, so I was able to project myself in a better way than I have in the past.  When someone is more on your wavelength, you are more likely to communicate well and show your best self.  I know it sounds obvious, but I’ve just realised how important it is for you to click in the interview, as you will be spending a lot more time with them once you get the job. And sometimes it’s not you, it’s them.

I started on Monday, and so far I’ve been getting myself familiar with the company social media channels, doing a bit of tweeting and pinning, and working on some ideas for the blog. There’s a piano and plants in the office and they’ve been super lovely to me.

I’m also trying to start afresh in other areas of my life, such as tidying my flat, doing more exercise, eating healthy food, being better with money and so on. This is proving to be slightly more difficult. I want to be like Hermione from Harry Potter, but I end up being more like Neville Longbottom: the early years. (Ok I’m exaggerating a little). The point is it feels hard to change. Today (day off work) I wrote a plan of what I was going to do, with times next to each task, and didn’t exactly stick to it. This blog entry was supposed to be done at 2.30pm. According to my time plan, I’m supposed to have just finished home yoga.

I did do a few things on the list though, and that’s a start. So I’m not going to feel too disheartened. Plus there are 5 hours left before I have to sleep. That’s loads of time! *opens Facebook*

But seriously, I will let you know how it all goes. *Ticks ‘write blog entry’ off list*

Tell me a bit about yourself

Today, I have an interview for a marketing job at a design company that works with arts organisations. I’m very excited about it, but nervous about totally messing it up. I have obviously done well in some interviews over the years, because I’ve had jobs, but I’ve equally come out with wildly inappropriate sentences that I would never advise anyone looking for a job to repeat. So, as a potential expert in the field, here are 5 things not to mention at a job interview:

  1. Periods

I once said in an interview something like ‘yes I would be able to handle this situation, unless maybe I was in a bad mood because I had PMT’. This was in my early 20s, it was an interview for a membership/ subscription assistant for some sort of book order magazine, and the company told my recruitment agency that they wouldn’t give me the job because I would ‘get bored too easily’. It was too late to say ‘I want to be bored’ a la Lee Holloway from Secretary. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. Menstruation is probably one of the worst things you can mention in an interview. Unless the job is for a tampon company, in which case, l say go with the flow (sorry).

  1. Castration

In another interview around a similar time for an admin job in a car garage, I mentioned that one of my favourite books from University was ‘The Passion of New Eve’ by Angela Carter. I can’t remember if I actually mentioned the graphic castration that occurs (spoiler alert), or just that the book was extremely feminist.  Either way, needless to say I didn’t get the job. Not saying that car garage companies and feminism are mutually exclusive, but I think 8 years’ ago, it was probably a bit more unexpected to bring up feminism in a job interview.

  1. Fame

Last year I went for a job for a part time assistant tour coordinator in a youth theatre. It started off awkwardly, as I had to do a role play of a phone conversation. I then had to enter the info from the ‘phone conversation’ into an Excel spreadsheet. However their version of Excel was so old that I couldn’t find the ‘wrap text’ button. I tried to explain this, but was told that my time for the task was nearly up. I then had the interview and a couple of questions in, I was asked ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?’ I said ‘Still doing comedy in the evenings and possibly doing a creative part time role somewhere creative like in a theatre …unless I get famous ha ha ha’. At this point the interviewer stood up and said ‘Well thanks for coming’, and ushered me out of the door quicker than an MC trying to get a comedian to get off stage who has overrun their time. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. (On a side note, I saw the same role advertised again about a month later, so either they couldn’t find anyone, or the person they hired left again pretty quickly).

  1. Flexible Working

I know someone who went to an interview for a telesales position and asked in the interview ‘Can I work from home?’ I was shocked that they had thought this was an acceptable interview question, but I was even more shocked that they were offered the job about a month later. Until I remembered how quickly telesales companies turnover staff, and this means they will usually take pretty much anyone. Asking for special working arrangements at interview stage is never a good idea though. It’s like questions about salary. Wait until you are offered the job, then you can negotiate on that sort of thing.

  1. Over-Confidence

I went to an employability course once and one of the course instructors told us that it’s good to ask at the end ‘So do you think I have the necessary skills and experience required for the role?’ which is basically like blatantly asking ‘So did I get the job?!’ I did use it once in the next interview I had, and I did get the job, but the manager that hired me teased me about how forthright I had been, even years afterwards. I stayed at the company almost 6 years in the end, so sometimes over-confidence can be a good thing, but it so easily could have gone the other way.

So there you are – 5 things not to say at a job interview. In retrospect, I didn’t really want any of the jobs (especially not the telesales job I didn’t even go for!) including the job I stayed at for a long time, as they were all admin roles. Maybe now I have the opportunity to do something creative that I am much more interested in, I won’t be as likely to say something ridiculous to my interviewer, I will just be myself and answer the questions as best I can. Even if I don’t get this particular role, the fact that I got an interview means I’m getting closer, which is good, because I don’t really want to be bored. I want to be inspired.