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Funny enough, I wrote this post title yesterday intending to write about an entirely different topic. One that I will revisit soon, I hope. But then it just seemed all too applicable to what happened since I woke up this morning…

I didn’t get the job.

I guess I should be more specific. Today, I had the humbling experience of finding out I didn’t get a job that I perhaps foolishly thought was a sure thing. I was meant to be consoled, I believe, by the fact that I was one of the two final candidates. But there’s this thing about employment – there are no silver medals. There was only one position and it did not go to me, despite a resume overflowing with the requested qualifications, an applicant brimming with enthusiasm and recommendation letters so effusive that I cried when I read one of them (at least I know one of my editors loves me.)

But wait – hold the phone, right? A job? Like at an office? The kind I have traversed continents and performed mental and emotional acrobatics in order to avoid? Why was I trying to snag one of those anyway? Well, this was a very specifically perfect-for-me position: it was related to one of my greatest passions (diving), in a field that fascinates me (magazine publishing), and it was custom-built for my attention span: just six weeks long. Not to mention, my bank account was all about me parking it for a little while to let my checking account cool off. But I didn’t get the job.

This is the second time in a year that I’ve been a finalist for a position that I very much wanted and very much didn’t get. The first one was a blow I recovered from quickly, as I had a pretty great Plan B – rather than going to write a dive guide about Malta I traveled Hawaii for six weeks. This time, I was so confident I barely bothered to entertain any other notions of how I might spend the bulk of my summer. In a few brazen daydreaming moments, I allowed myself to see this position as a stepping stone to what would surely be my future Oprah-like scuba media mogul-dom. My own diving dynasty, if you will.

I didn’t get the job.

I really, really wanted it.

Didn't Get The Job

Today, I will mourn. I will lament lost opportunities, fear for the uncertainty and vastness of my future, torture myself over what went wrong, and perhaps even shed a few tears proactively in anticipation of all the future rejections that life will undoubtedly serve me.

Tomorrow, I will start fresh. I will recite quotes about doors opening and closing, and the reasons things happen, and other inspirational poster fodder. I will start seeking the bright side, looking forward with a smile, and gingerly filling the new-found space in my calendar. I will take a deep breath, and I will remind myself of this:

I’m only twenty-three.

And we’ll be right back with your regularly scheduled fun travel blogs tomorrow.

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35 Comments...
  • Shaun
    March 8 2013

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. But I can understand the missed opportunities seem to hit travelers harder. No matter what the case.

    It’s impossible not to romanticize the idea and all the possibilities it brings. Take time to rechange, you don’t have to bounce back quickly this time. Just know that you will, when you’re ready.

    p.s. From what I’ve read, I doubt you have much fear for the uncertain 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      I don’t think I’m being too hard on myself… I think I was a great candidate, perhaps my only misstep here was overconfidence. And I agree, traveling makes everything a bit more precarious, and makes disappointments like this a bit more cutting!

  • Oh honey I’m sorry to hear that, but man do I know what you’re feeling. Been there done that, HOWEVER a better and bigger and brighter door always opens.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      I hope you are right Andi… and from experience I will assume that you are as usual 🙂 I know I have a world of opportunities ahead of me, I only wish this had been one of the many! Ah well, next time…

  • memographer
    March 8 2013

    I am sorry for you. I know how hard it is. But, I always say Whatever happens, happens for the Good!
    memographer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      I’m not sure if I really believe everything happens for a reason, but I DO believe we can see the good in anything if we look hard enough. I’m going to try to do that here.

  • Zoe
    March 8 2013

    I tell myself that at least 5 times a week. Lets talk sometime this weekend.

    loved this short n sweet, honest post. I could get used to these….

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      Says the girl who once berated me for not including enough pictures! 🙂 Just kidding, variety being the spice of life and all…

  • Annie of TravelShus
    March 8 2013

    Over the years I’ve hunted, interviewed, and hoped to get hired at so many different places, the one thing I’ve always told myself is this:

    If I don’t get it, it’s because this is not my job. There’s something either better that waiting for me around the corner, or the world needs to show me something else.

    🙂 at least Bangkok can soothe the pain. as does a cold Singha.
    Annie of TravelShus recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      I like that perspective Annie! College certainly helped prepare me in many ways for the rejection of the “real world” as I too was passed up for internships, societies and jobs I desperately wanted. Somehow it seems to sting more now that I’m trying to get into a field I really think is my passion! But you are right… this isn’t a bad place to be moping 🙂

  • Ian [EagerExistence]
    March 8 2013

    Way to find that silver lining. Chin up Champ. There will be plenty more opportunities to come (& even a few more you get overlooked for). Im not “only 23”, but when I miss out on something that feels perfect for me, I like to tell myself the timing wasnt quite right… You know… More of that fodder 😉

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      I’m sure even as the years tick on I’ll be using the same phrase and just slightly modifying it to fit my current age bracket 🙂 “I’m only sixty seven!”

  • Sarah Somewhere
    March 8 2013

    I seriously cannot imagine what that other person must have had that you didn’t!!! BRIBES, that must have been it. BTW, my post for tomorrow is entitled, Only Thirty-Two. That’s okay, right 😉

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      Ha, my dad had a similar response… “MUST BE NEPOTISM!” Everyone deserves a cheering section like this 🙂 And oh, I can’t wait to read your post! As I mentioned I jotted down this title to write about another topic entirely! Hopefully I get to the original idea next week…

  • Chris Shaw
    March 8 2013

    I’m sorry you didn’t get the position, if that is what you truly wanted in your heart of hearts. You may be only 23, but it’s obvious from your inciteful post, that your inner wisdom far exceeds your numerical age. Travel on, Meihoukai!

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      Thanks for the words of encouragement Chris!

  • Stephen Jones
    March 8 2013

    Sorry to hear that you didn’t get the job! I know exactly how it feels (after having lived in the UK – at the start of it). But you’ll be fine. 🙂 I saw it as a learning experience, and moved on. Not to mention, it gave me experience in how things work in a new country. Cheer up, carry on, and you’ll be fine. 🙂
    Stephen Jones recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      Thanks Stephen! I take comfort in knowing this is a universal sting — I would guess everyone on earth feels the pain of employment rejection once or twice… or a hundred times!

  • Well, if there is a gold medal for gracefully coming in second, you certainly deserve that one! It’s always hard when you think you are a shoe in for something and then life blindsides you as it did in this case (seriously, I cannot imagine someone better qualified to do diving & writing stuff!), but I think you’re right to take it on the chin and assume that things happen for a reason. You may not be able to see the immediate future as clearly as you thought you could, but that just leaves room for more surprises!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      Thanks for this sweet comment Steph, you made me smile this morning 🙂

  • Chelsea
    March 9 2013

    Your only 23?!?! Wow – you are already an overachiever. I wonder how many other people look to you for life inspiration as I do?

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      Chelsea, thank you so much for that comment. Really so sweet… you made my morning 🙂

  • Melissa McClure
    March 9 2013

    That just means there is a even better opportunity for you on the horizon 😉
    Melissa McClure recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      I can’t wait to find out what it is! If it is anything like my last Plan B — Hawaii — it will be an amazing ride.

  • Hi Meihoukai,
    Ah yes, what a bummer. A big blow to the stomach when you think you have it and you wonder, what the hell? What happened? WHY NOT ME?

    But in my experience, sometimes what doesn’t make any sense at the time, just means bigger and better opportunities await. You just have to wait for them!
    And yes, 23… there will be many more opportunities!
    Lauren @ roamingtheworld recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 9 2013

      Thank Lauren…. I am excited to see where this path brings me. Amazing how quickly the mind adjusts to accept disappointment!

  • TammyOnTheMove
    March 10 2013

    Sorry to hear about the job. I know the feeling-it is heartbreaking, but belive me there will be plenty of more jobs available in your future. It just wasn’t meant to be now.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 12 2013

      Thanks Tammy…. trying to keep my chin up 🙂

  • Jamie
    March 11 2013

    “There are no silver medals.” This is very true. However, as you said, you are only 23. And the world is full of possibilities. Look forward to whatever comes next. I hope (and imagine that you will) find something equally (if not more) amazing.
    Jamie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 12 2013

      Thanks for the encouragement Jamie, I really appreciate it!

  • Kayla
    March 13 2013

    Sorry to hear you didn’t get the job but like someone already commented, at 23 you’re already an over achiever! Having just turned 23 and deciding to make the move back to Europe after 15 years in Fiji, I’m one of those people who look to you for inspiration! 🙂
    Kayla recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 14 2013

      Wow, congrats on your big move! And thank you so much for the kind words, they are much appreciated.

  • Nadia
    March 16 2013

    Sometimes we don’t get jobs. Other times its opportunities that appear to be designed specifically for us…as if the universe is delivering us something on a silver platter, hand crafted just for us. Those are the disappointments. I had a similar situation that left me mute for a few weeks. Even as time has passed, I still think it was the biggest disappointment of my career and one of the biggest disappointments of my life… and I was not 23. The difference is many never shoot for their dreams and are safe guarded from this disappointment. There is no reason for it and it doesn’t mean something better is right around the corner. It just means that in your entire amazing life, you didn’t get to do this one amazing thing…even if it was meant for you.

    • Meihoukai
      March 17 2013

      Nadia, you describe the difference and the pain really well. I’ve missed out on jobs that definitely didn’t sting like this, because frankly I had a sneaking suspicion that there might be someone better for the position. But this one… I really would love to meet the person who got it! And not just so I could stuff them in a closet for a year (joke).