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The 5 Stages Of Mourning The Loss Of Your Dream Job

Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

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At some point in our lives, every one of us will have a dream job. When I say "dream job", I don't mean the kind of job that would be nice to have. I mean the kind of job that inspires you and satisfies you intellectually. The kind of job that allows you to adopt a smug smile when you meet a new person and they say, "HOLY SHIT, YOU DO THAT FOR A LIVING?!"

It's a nerve wrecking situation when you see a company that you've admired and followed for several years advertise that they're looking for someone new to join their team. Do I act cool and see out my working day as normal? Or do I scream with delight, gather up my laptop and brush past my colleagues faster than Usain Bolt? The correct thing to do is of course the former, but unfortunately I can't confirm that is the choice I made.

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A huge amount of planning goes into your application. Second, third and fourth guessing yourself as you try to come up with anything that will give you an edge that makes you stand out from the crowd. Do you go for the formal approach or do you sprinkle a little bit of humour in there? They produce light hearted content, the odd joke would surely be a plus. Unless they think that's unprofessional and you're not taking things seriously. See the dilemmas that crop up here? Eventually you decide on the one approach. Spend hours perfecting and fine tuning it (so long in fact that you almost miss the deadline for applications) and you send it off.

Now you're playing the waiting game. Refreshing your emails every two minutes. It's been an hour, why haven't they responded yet?! Because they're very busy people and while your application is currently the most important thing in your life right now, it could be very much at the bottom on their list of priorities at the moment. So you wait some more. A couple of days. Eventually a week. Then it stretches to ten days and you lose hope. It's over. They obviously didn't appreciate the humour.

Then it happens. An email arrives in your inbox from the Assistant to the Secretary for the Editor. You scan the email. The first few paragraphs are standard fare. "Thank you for your application.", "We received a high volume of applicants which has made drawing up a shortlist quite difficult". You begin to fear the worst. They're trying to soften the blow.

Then you see it: "We're delighted to say that you have made it past the first round and we'd like to invite you to interview for the role."

You begin your interview preparation. This includes several pre-interviews with your other half, your mother, your best friend and Tony who works behind the deli counter in Subway. They each have key advice to take on board. "Be confident in the interview.", "Look them in the eye and have a firm handshake.", "Show them that they NEED you.", "So what's it going to be? The 6 inch or the foot long?".

You get a haircut, buy a new shirt and you go into that interview with purpose. It seems to go well after a nervous start (they probably didn't notice the sweating). They say they were impressed with your application, that it really made you stand out. They laugh at your jokes. They ask you your salary expectations and how much of a notice period you need to give your current employers. It's all going your way!

"We'll be in touch next week." And with that sentence begins the second excruciating waiting period that you must endure when applying for your dream job. A week goes past. Should I make contact with them? No. They said they'd be in touch. Just be cool and wait it out.

Mourning the loss of your dream job is a horrible process. There's no two ways about it. There are five stages that you go through after receiving the rejection email and it's not a period of time that you'll be pleasant company to be around.

1. Denial


What the hell is this? What do you mean you "won't be progressing my application any further"?! This can't be happening! We hit it off so well in the interview. You gave me the wink and the gun, THE WINK AND THE GUN!!

2. Anger


Whatever! I'm so glad I won't be joining your team of "journalists". 1 million unique visitors a month? Bah! A clear indication that we've reached rock bottom as a society. I could have given you articles that would excite, thrill and astonish your readers. You would have had the honour of being able to say "we discovered him" when I hit the New York Times Bestseller list. You'll never forget this. The time you let me slip right through your fingers!

3. Bargaining

OK I'm sorry for what I said earlier. I didn't mean it. We all say stupid things when we're angry. Cut a guy a break? How about we make a deal? I'll just come in, at a reduced rate say, and then you'll see how great I am and apologise, and then we'll just forget this whole thing ever happened.

OK I'm sorry for what I said earlier. I didn't mean it. We all say stupid things when we're angry. Cut a guy a break? How about we make a deal? I'll just come in, at a reduced rate say, and then you'll see how great I am and apologise, and then we'll just forget this whole thing ever happened.

4. Depression


It's over. They're not coming back. They didn't want me. It's ok, I've got two friends called Ben and Jerry who do want me in their lives. THEY VALUE ME! We're gonna watch a bit of Netflix and we're just gonna chill. I might even buy some new sweatpants for the occasion.

5. Acceptance

The pain lasts for a while. There's no point arguing otherwise. It's a crushing blow. However, the agony eventually subsides. You begin to realise that even though you'd built this up to be the be all and end all of your career, in reality it probably wasn't meant for you. You didn't fit their future designs for the company, and if you really take a hard look at it maybe they didn't really fit your designs for life.

The thing I've learned through all of this is that there is no dream "job". No one place or company where they'll employ you and make you realise all your ambitions and desires at once. There are however, dream lifestyles. A way for you to make a living doing what you truly love. There's more than one place where you can be employed to have that way of life.

So dust yourself off, wish that company all the best, and plan your next step. Your career goes on, and you need to as well.

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