I found myself thinking recently about the last job interview I had before coming to Korea. Then after checking some old emails I realised it was almost a year to the day that I got rejected. Times like these make you think about how far you’ve come in the space of 365 days.
The interview was for a Studio Manager position within a trendy branding company that was branching out and moving to a new city centre office. I’d never worked for a creative agency before, but I’d just come off the back of a huge entertainment production where I’d managed a big team of artists and felt like this could be my next challenge.
I met my potential employers in a popular bar in Manchester’s bohemian Northern Quarter. I was interviewed by two very cool easy-going guys who both ran the company as a team having started it ten years ago. The interview was awesome, possibly one of my best, they liked me. I’d convinced them that I was more than able to fulfill the position’s demands. Less than a day later they asked me to meet them again – in another trendy bar. “Woohoo! A second interview! They must love me!” I thought.
Again the second interview went well and I thought I had it in the bag. Both interviews were an hour long and they went into great depth in explaining the role and the company to me. I could see they were invested and I decided they were decent, trustworthy guys that I’d enjoy working for. They told me I’d have an answer in the next two days. I waited eagerly in anticipation of what could be a very exciting new venture in my career.
What followed was the start of a long, drawn out and painful rejection process that I unknowingly then stepped into. Over the course of the next month I sent five emails (one per week) asking them if they had made a decision yet. Each time was a “so sorry – we’ve been mega busy, we’ll let you know in a week”, which of course they never did. It wasn’t until the last email I sent them in which I stated I needed an answer or I couldn’t take the job at all, that they then told me they’d already given the job to someone else. I was overcome with frustration. What was more frustrating was that they asked me to keep in touch since “an opportunity for you could be just around the corner.” I was left reeling.
This experience is not an isolated incident. I don’t think I’m the only one ever to have been made to run around after a job by a company that isn’t ever truly going to acknowledge my worth. I want to stress here that I don’t think I’m god’s gift to the work place, I just like to be told sooner rather than later if I don’t fit the mould. And I’m aware that the recruitment process can be a long and laborious one for the employer. Really, I understand. But in my experience – from doing a Costa Coffee trial shift after which I was never contacted again, to completing a 3 month BBC trainee scheme application with a full days worth of ‘tests’ only to get a rejection email 2 months later – the job seeking world can leave you feeling completely hopeless. Or at least, that’s how it was for me.
A year on from that rejection email, I’m living on the other side of the world and working in a completely different field. I figured – what if they got in touch with me again, obviously realising their mistake and needing me to come on board asap? Yes, my imagination likes to run away a little….well, I guess I’d have to turn them down and explain that I’ve moved on to much bigger and better pastures. They might be shocked, but I see now a great quality in myself that I hadn’t noticed before – I don’t wait around!
By remembering this strange job encounter I was able to look at how far I’ve come from that point. Working as an English teacher has allowed me to remove myself from the toxic world that is the competitive, insensitive, time-wasting job race. I’m talking about the long drawn out process of it, the insatiable waiting around for an answer and the inevitable frustration that comes when you realise it was all for nothing. Not all employers are like this, I’ve had employers get back to me within days sometimes and to those companies I want to say thank you! Sadly, I think I was tainted by a lack of common decency one too many times.
Frustrated with the constant struggle that was me trying to develop my career in the UK (and getting nowhere fast), I had the curiosity to see what else the world had to offer me. I wasn’t going to wait for the creative agency to call me back and I wasn’t going to wait for my current employer to promote me. I decided it was time to take my life into my own hands and give myself a promotion – to Korea!
What I now know is that in life opportunities aren’t as common as we might think. If you want change and you believe that you deserve better, as I did, then don’t wait for the opportunities to come to you. Don’t waste any time waiting for something that might never happen. Go out and find something you can make happen! I’m well aware that not everybody is in the position to work abroad, but what I’d like to share is that lingering does nothing. When it comes down to it, we create our own opportunities in life. Whether that’s finding a job abroad, starting our own business or changing career – it takes courage, but the only person’s opinion of us that truly matters is our own. So if possible, give yourself a promotion somehow, because you sure as hell deserve it.
Do you agree or disagree with my post? Have you had better opportunities in life by moving abroad? Share your experiences with me, good or bad. I’d love to hear from you.
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