Your Shot

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You don't get a job you really, really wanted.

You're angry.

You know you're better than the person who got the job.

Maybe not.

Maybe you know you're not better than the person who got the job.

Is that any better?

In any case you feel rejected.

You may be angry, sad, depressed, dejected, ... whatever you feel, it probably isn't good.

In some fields you may have to wait a year until the next hiring season.

In some fields you can just apply for the next job.

"But,", you say, "I really wanted this one."

I know.

But you didn't get it.

Now what?

Years ago a friend of mine was applying for tenure track positions at schools she really wanted to spend her career at.

She didn't get any of them.

All she was offered was a short-term job at a school she wasn't interested in, in a part of the country she didn't want to live in.

She reached out to a faculty member at one of the schools that had rejected her. She asked him for his advice.

He told her to take the short-term job. He told her to bet on herself. That she was good and she needed to give herself the chance to be in the market another year or two.

She did.

She is tenured at a school that she really wanted to spend her career at.

That's only half of what I want to say today.

The other half is about that word "rejected".

She wasn't rejected. They hired someone else.

Whatever the reason, they hired someone else. They didn't reject her.

I know that's how she felt. I think it's totally understandable that she felt that way. But...

... but she hung around and took another shot.

I read an amazing tweet storm on this topic from Javi Grillo-Marxuach.

He was talking about hiring season for television writers and reminds people who didn't get a job that "not being staffed is not a personal affront - [... there is] only so much money and they have to get as many compatible writers on their team as they can."

He acknowledges that not getting the job you want is traumatic, "but i am saying this, the long view is crucial when it feels like there’s only so many chairs and the music is cutting out."

Perservere, he advises. In the face of this fear and feelings of failure, hold on.

In the context of screenwriters, Javi encourages "the vision, the drive, the need to tell stories are what brought you here, it’s your faith that your shot will arrive that keeps you here."

And it's horrible to see that "everyone else seems to be getting their chance while you warm the bench".

And then Javi says this - this thing that he intends for screenwriters but it applies to all of us in every pursuit:

"We work in an irrational business that often feels capricious, mean spirited, and hellbent on breaking you at the most intimate sites of your soul... and yet somehow we abide, we succeed, we get our shot, and, on occasion, we MAKE our own shot."