[Two and a half years ago]
I waited patiently for the phone to ring. My heart was beating so hard and so fast that I could feel it in my throat. I tried to control my breathing with the hope that I wouldn’t completely sweat through my blouse… it was, after all, only 10am.
Three months prior to this moment in time I was approached by my boss: “I have an exciting opportunity I know you’re going to love.”, she said.
Shortly thereafter, I was offered a “promotion” at another location within my department. I use quotes around promotion because the funny thing is, my company wanted me to move 135 miles north, take on a significantly increased amount of responsibilities, and they were only offering me a 3% pay increase. I knew this “promotion” that was going to “open so many doors for me” and that would be an “incredible learning experience” wasn’t for me.
I gracefully declined.
I had been with this particular company for 3 years at the time. By the end of my first year, I stopped feeling challenged by my work. I no longer had to ask questions about my tasks – ever. When I tried to grow my knowledge by taking on tasks beyond my job description, I was told to leave it for those who had the experience to handle those types of sensitive situations.
This phone call that I was waiting patiently for was different.
This was a promotion that doesn’t require quotes. This time, I would potentially be moving 525 miles north. I would be taking on a significantly increased amount of responsibilities that would challenge and motivate me; I would be learning new things about employee engagement and growth – an area of expertise that I wanted to improve in and learn more about. This promotion would open doors for me, and it was an exciting opportunity that I absolutely was going to love.
My boss is the one who originally told me about this opportunity. I thought, “Wow, how nice of her to still be looking out for me even after I declined the last offer!”
She told me that she had already spoken with the department head at this location and that the position was mine if I wanted it. This phone call I was waiting for was simply a formality: I had to do an interview with the hiring manager in order for them to be able to offer me the position.
That didn’t change the fact that I was insanely nervous, but in the back of my mind, I was a little at ease since I knew the position was “in the bag” so to speak.
The phone rang, the interview ensued, and I knocked that bad boy out of the park. It’s the best interview I’ve probably ever had. I was so proud of myself when I hung up the phone, and my smile was from ear to ear for at least 24 hours. I told my boss about it with excitement beyond control, and she, in turn, was super excited for me.
I was told by the hiring manager that I would get a call back within a couple of days.
The next time I saw her number come up on the caller ID, I could hardly contain the scream of joy that I should have been holding out on until the end of our call.
I picked up the phone with an obnoxious air of happiness: “Hello, Kate speaking!” I was so ready to hear those words come out of her mouth; for her to offer me the position that I’d waited almost 3 years for; for her to offer me professional growth and the opportunity to wake up ready to take on whatever challenge came my way.
She told me how impressed she was with my skills, my level of professionalism, and my drive and commitment to grow within the company. She said that she couldn’t have asked for a better candidate – that I had everything they were looking for.
And then I heard the dreaded word that NO ONE wants to hear on a call like this: BUT.
She ended by saying this: “Kate, I’m so sorry to tell you that we have offered this position to another candidate.”
Everything from that point forward is a blur.
I zoned out, disappointed, a little ashamed for being so confident, and crushed that the one thing I was holding on to at my job was just ripped away from me.
Waiting by the phone. Waiting for an opportunity. How much waiting was I willing to do?
I couldn’t help but feel used, as if my skills and all my hard work – 3 years of my professional career – had just been flushed down the toilet. That day I decided that I could not wait around any longer for another “exciting opportunity”.
I left that job two months later to move to Maine and pursue my first Entrepreneurial venture, and to this day, I am still grateful that I was not offered that position.
Disappointments, failures and struggles come in all different forms.
…but they all have one thing in common: they are a stepping stone to your next jumping off point.
Today, for me, this has all added up to being able to spend every day doing something that I love. And if I had to fail to get here, well, that’s all fine and good with me.
Today, I accept failures and struggles as a stepping stone to something better. To more experience, more knowledge, more depth.
I know you can do the same.
I challenge you to find a time in your life when you experienced a disappointment, a failure or a struggle. How did that experience help you accomplish or achieve something that has a positive impact on your life today? Share with us in the comments section below!