All the jobs I failed to get
Terence recently wrote a great blog post about all of the jobs he had failed to get, you’ll find that here:
All the jobs I failed to get
A few years ago, Johannes Haushofer published a CV of failures. In it, he lists all the grants he wasn't awarded…
Unlike Terence, who presents a finite list of failures to us in the above, I have been rejected so much and so often that I can barely remember them all. I’ve spent some time this evening looking back through old email folders at the hundreds of job seeking, interview setting up, and rejection emails, still sitting there from 10 years ago.
So rather than offer up a definitive list here I offer some of my more formative experiences, in the hope you might find some of it interesting.
1. The skip company
Straight out of uni and forced by my mum to look for something I registered with a temp agency who promptly sent me for an interview in a drafty portacabin on the outskirts of Hitchin.
As the interview finished the interviewer looked me in the eye and said “you should go away and think about whether you really want this job” which I took to be a hint and turned down.
2. Junior Reporter, Local weekly newspaper
Pinned a lot of hopes on this one after gaining an English degree only to discover that said degree wouldn’t earn me a journalism job and that I needed further qualifications (which I couldn’t afford).
After 2 interviews, a written portfolio of published articles and some very nice feedback I didn’t get the job… because I couldn’t drive.
3. Music PR company assistant
Please move to Camden, please work here full time, please go to gigs 3–4 nights a week. We will give you £200 per month in expenses. No this isn’t a paid position, you’ll have to get another job too.
I didn’t even get this “job”.
4. Something, Every agency in London
At one point, I’m sure I applied and failed to get jobs as almost every agency in London. I applied for Acount Exec roles, Production assistant, publishing assistant, project management, junior copywriter.
I was sent to roles I wasn’t remotely qualified for by unscrupulous recruitment agents. I had meetings in cafes, pubs, offices. Sometimes I was interviewed by people who had already decided that I didn’t look cool enough for them (note: looking cool costs money, and I had none) or who barely pretended to be interested in meeting me.
I’ve written about how I became a spammer, sending my details to agencies across London, in the blog post below, and how I received over 100 rejections:
Learning stuff is a side effect of life
This new year there was a trend of people sharing pictures of themselves 10 years ago on Instagram, and taking stock of…
5. So many roles, GDS
About a year into working at the Cabinet Office I applied for a product role at GDS. I didn’t get it, but they suggested I apply for a junior role (below my existing grade).
I did the GDS academy training for Product Owners, mapped the requirements against my existing role, and applied again a while later. Didn’t make it to interview.
I got a job at GDS within the Standards Assurance team. I knew and had worked with a number of the team, so I was able to ask questions and prep.
While I was there I applied for a Digital Academy trainer role. No interview.
I left GDS for MHCLG, and then the Cabinet Office in a Head of Digital role, I applied for Lead Product Manager and Lead Delivery Manager at GDS. No interviews.
So yeah, I’m not entirely sure what that means. I’ve never fully understood why I haven’t been successful. I’m not sure I ever will, but I keep coming back to being a generalist and a specialist and I may have to decide that my time has passed to become the latter.
I think I’m going to leave it here because that’s enough ‘failure’ for one day, and also may have turned into a little rant about GDS (not intended). But I hope it (again) shows how this thing we do online is just one part of us and that any success often comes with a lot of attempts and failure first, so keep going.