Don’t Count Your Job Offers Before They Hatch

I was sitting at my computer wondering when I would start my new job. I was really excited, and the night before I even dreamed about my first day on the job. I was going to be a project manager at a really cool, bleeding edge high tech company that was recently funded. My new boss had worked managing project managers at Microsoft. I think he left there relatively wealthy, but he couldn’t not work. He would be the perfect mentor: structured, experienced, etc.  The technologists at the company were senior scientists of the like I had never seen or worked with before.

As I was sure I was going to start soon, I pretty much stopped doing everything else in my job search.  I sent an email to my future boss asking where we were at, expecting him to say “come in on Monday!  Let’s do this thing!”

Instead, I got a reply back that said something like “we have decided to go with someone else.  Sorry, and good luck.”

I stared at the screen.

This was the lowest point of my job search.

I was sure that the job was mine.  I was excited about this new chapter in my life. I was ready to move into a more structured project management environment, and get great training from this new boss.

I had ignored the yellow flags because I was so hopeful.  Turns out the ex-MS guy had all of the characteristics of a narcissist and would surely have been a horrible boss.  The two other project managers that interviewed me didn’t even know there was a job opening (the were surprised to even be interviewing me).  There really wasn’t an opening at that company, and I’m not sure why I was allowed to interview.

Within a year the company had closed down.  Good riddance.  Karma.  I wasn’t sad one bit.

But that morning, reading the rejection email, my already frail world had shattered.  I remember going into a trance. I got on the treadmill and just walked and walked and walked.  I had been neglecting my physical self as I focused on my job search.  It had become my “center.”  In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey warns us about choosing our centers.  He says that we have to be careful because if we choose a center (like a job, family, school, church, etc.), and that center fails us, then what happens?  We are left without grounding, direction, etc.

I walked on the treadmill, trying to make sense of the rejection.  It had to be a mistake.  He had to have lied from day one.  Nothing was true anymore.  I couldn’t trust my own judgement.

But I must figure this out.  No one else is going to get this money situation solved for me.  I had to do it.  I had to pull myself together.

Job search experts say that even though you have interviews, keep networking.  Even if you have job offers, keep interviewing.  Even when you have a job, keep looking for a job!

And the rest of the world would say “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

5 thoughts on “Don’t Count Your Job Offers Before They Hatch”

  1. Same thing happened to me this week! I really felt that everything clicked on my interview. The people I met were great, and I felt I could have make a significant positive impact. I really wanted to join that company. Hearing that someone else was getting the fifer was disappointing, to say the least.

    I’m just barely starting my job search, and it will turn into a full-time thing soon enough. Not stopping everything you are doing, even after a great interview, I’m learning is so very important.

    I’m trying to be excited by the fact that my background was get me the interview. Learning from the experience and getting better at showing how We can be an asset to a prospective employer, can only help us get the offer.

    Good luck!

  2. @Russ, no, no one cares (or should care) about spelling on blogs… don’t worry about it 🙂 🙂

    Sorry about your experience this week. I needed time to be down in the dumps, but somehow I got back to work. It was clearly an important journey for me to go through, so that I could be who I am with JibberJobber.

    One big message I got from that, and the whole experience, was to continually do things to improve my position with my own career management, from managing relationships (a la JibberJobber) to personal branding to improving my skills to finding alternative revenue streams… no longer was I a one-company, trust-the-company for my long-term paycheck. Hard lesson to learn… but I’m stubborn like that.

    Thanks for sharing, and good luck this weekend – do something to pick yourself up.

  3. Your last paragraph is the key – never forget that you are a truly unique professional, with talents and accomplishments that cannot be duplicated. It is also helpful to remember that every interview, successful or not, has the potential to better prepare you for the next one. If you can objectively reflect on the interview, you’ll be able to determine what you did right (and might want to do again, if appropriate) and what you’d like to improve.

    Don’t let this rattle you – it was a good experience (you got to the interview stage, right?), you can learn from it, and now you can move forward armed with more knowledge than you had before!

  4. Some authors and career coaches recommend that candidates “ask for the job” at the end of the interview, but I haven’t seen any of them offer a good way to actually phrase the question. Asking, “Can I have this job?” is one of the worst things a candidate can say.

    At the end of the interview, I recommend asking, “Am I the type of person you are looking for?” If the first word is “ummm,” anything that follows is the interviewer being polite. You’re out. If the first word is “well,” you’re probably missing some skill or experience. Ask what it is so that you can improve your profile.

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