Career Corner: Defining Failure

Every time you get a no, you’re a little closer to a yes. – Courtesy photo

By Angela Copeland

Job searching can truly be gut-wrenching. It’s probably like having children. After the pain of the birth is over, it can be largely forgotten. The job search is the same way, especially if you haven’t looked in a while. But when you’re in it, it’s like you can taste it.

Every time you have an interview that doesn’t turn into something, it hurts. Even if it’s a job you didn’t really want, it can be painful. Not only do you wonder what’s wrong, your friends and family may vocalize the same concerns — to your face. It makes you wonder if you picked the right career, if you should go back to school, or if you should give up completely.

I often hear from job seekers who feel like they’ve failed. The common story is this. They found a job that was perfect for them. They applied. They were interviewed a few times. Then, nothing came of it. The company ghosted them or told them they found a more qualified candidate.

Rightfully so, the job seeker can feel crushed. They feel like the loss of this job is a reflection on their abilities. But the problem is, we don’t really know why they were rejected. Even when the company provides feedback, it can be hard to know if that feedback is the real reason the person was rejected.

For example, perhaps the job was put on hold. Or, maybe an internal candidate at the company had been promised the job before the interview even took place. Or, the hiring manager may have recruited someone from their old company. Very rarely will you know the real story.

But, what we do know is job seeking is a numbers game. Most job searching happens online now. And, there’s a saying that it’s harder to find a job online than to get into an Ivy League college (from a numbers perspective). I think we can all agree. Getting into an Ivy League college is hard.

So, let’s also agree that getting a job is hard work. And frankly, it’s a numbers game. Rather than be upset when you don’t get one job, think of it differently. You may need to apply for 100 jobs to land one. Those 100 applications may turn into 10 interviews. Those 10 interviews may turn into one job offer.

Every time you get a no, you’re a little closer to a yes. And so many times when you aren’t picked, perhaps it’s better. Maybe that team wasn’t right for you. Maybe there was something dysfunctional happening at the company.

As job seekers, it’s time that we reset our expectations. Instead of feeling that every job loss is a failure, look at it as practice. It’s practice interviewing getting you ready for the right job. But, in order to find that right job, you’ve got to keep pushing ahead.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

January 29, 2020

About Author

Angela Copeland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get the new localized e-newsletter from Arcadia Weekly with news from Arcadia, Monrovia and Pasadena.

We respect your privacy.
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial