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The Joy Of Not Getting Your Dream Job

rejection l;ead to opportunity

So there I was, crying uncontrollably in a dimly lit McDonalds, in an airport in middle-America.

 

“I have no plan. I have no future,” I thought.

 

Rewind to a few weeks earlier.

 

I’m in the office of the Oprah Winfrey Network (pre: launch) for a job interview.

 

The receptionist was cheery, the walls were orange, and weirdly Regis and Kelly was playing on the TV screen.

 

This is it, I thought: the office of my new dream job.

 

The stars had truly aligned. I was just finishing my five month internship at MTV in Series Development, and was ready to take on the world. And the ‘world’ happened to be the Oprah Winfrey Network.

 

I arrived two hours early to this interview (I hung out at an iHop and ate my weight in blueberry pancakes while killing time).

 

After the interview, I was on Cloud 9. I thought I aced it. I even received an email back from the exec saying it was great to meet me, and he understands why my boss at MTV referred me!

 

HUZZAH!

 

But then, I waited on eggshells for weeks.

 

And suddenly I received the email.

 

I unfortunately did not get the job. (I imagine due to lack of experience…or the ultimate reason: I didn’t have a car and it’s LA)!

 

When I received the news, I didn’t allow myself to emote. I just nodded and continued with my work, not acknowledging my devastation. Soon after, my internship at MTV ended, and it was time to head home to Canada.

 

But in that McDonalds at a layover, it hit me: “What the hell am I going to do with my life?”

 

That summer was rough. I was stuck in a state of analysis paralysis. I read a ton of books about successful people, compared myself to everyone, and cried (in secret) a lot.

 

The type A overachiever chick who always had a goal or plan, suddenly was floating in a sea of endless possibilities.

 

So the research continued until one day I had a breakthrough.

 

While researching people I admired, I came across Mark Burnett’s story.

 

I discovered that Mark started his career as a live-in nanny and sold t-shirts on the Venice board walk before hitting it big with Survivor and many other primetime hits (The Apprentice, Who’s Smarter than a 5th Grader to name a few).

 

This struck me. It suddenly made this TV mogul relatable.

 

I continued researching ‘the start’ for successful people and it was often the same story. Odd jobs, minimum wage, slogging it out.

 

But they all started somewhere.

 

This gave me the idea to create a TV show called ‘Start Something Big!’ to share the stories of how successful people started. This…turned out to be my ultimate dream job.

 

Through losing out on working at OWN, it set me off on my own entrepreneurial path, and the opportunity to build my own brand.

 

To my fellow Millennials – remember that losing out on the chance for that elusive ‘dream job’ we’ve been told about can actually be a blessing in disguise.

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About Gwen Elliot

Gwen is a mediapreneur. She's the creator/host of Start Something Big! TV/radio, producer of The Naked Entrepreneur that will air on OWN Canada in 2015, and works in marketing for an eCommerce company in Toronto. She has been featured in Forbes, Rogers TV, and The Huffington Post.

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3 thoughts on “The Joy Of Not Getting Your Dream Job

  1. Avatar Cheval John says:

    Excellent post, Gwen. This is an awesome achievement that you have created for yourself.

    Very happy that you are successful and that you have created a career that is benefiting many people.

    1. Avatar Gwen says:

      Thank you for the kind words Cheval!! 😀

  2. Avatar Ally says:

    I just graduated from college and am experiencing similar circumstances: endless job applications and interviews while trying to make ends meet with low paying, part-time jobs. But like you, not yet having what I consider a “dream job” has given me the chance to explore what my strengths are and what it is that I really want to do with my life. Your post was a great reminder that we all have to start somewhere. Thanks for sharing!

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