In life, we will all have experiences that won’t go exactly as we want them to…most likely this will happen more than once. Sometimes small details are forgotten, the timing just isn’t right, or you made a mistake. Mistakes are tough to swallow – for me at least. I would tend to say I lean towards being a perfectionist, which means I don’t like making mistakes. Often times being a perfectionist is beneficial to me, because it pushes me to work my hardest and give my best effort. Yet when that inevitable mistake is made, I am very hard on myself.
As a student, its integral to make mistakes. If we were all literally perfect, there would be no point for us to be in college, to be taking classes and learning new information – because we would know it all already! Even so called perfectionists like myself need to make mistakes because that is the only way to learn. I wanted to share with you a recent “mistake” I made, how it affected me, and how I am using this to learn and move forward.
Over the past few weeks, I have been interviewing for internships for next semester. I had an in person interview with a major television network in one of their digital production departments. I felt very confident going into the interview (despite my butterflies) about my resume and my skills that were applicable to the internship. From the moment I walked into the interview, I felt a connection with the women I was to speak with. We were laughing and established a great rapport. The interview went very well, I shook their hands and thanked them for their time and off I went!
With this certain company, when they contact you letting you know about the outcome of the interview, they give you feedback as to how your interview went and pointers on what to do better. A few days later, I received my email and was very upset to find that I didn’t get the internship. They said my interview went great, and it came down to me and another candidate. The determining factor was that the other candidate had sent a follow up email to the interviewers and I hadn’t….
Immediately my heart went into my stomach. I can’t believe I forgot to send a follow up email! I have done multiple interviews and ALWAYS send a follow up email – how had I forgotten?! This is where the “beating self up” begins, and asking myself “What as I thinking? Or what wasn’t I thinking?!” I couldn’t believe that had I not forgotten to send an email thanking them, I possibly could’ve had the internship. How could I be so stupid??
And this is where I had to stop myself, take a step back, and flip the way I was looking at this. Despite being disappointed and embarrassed, there was nothing I could do to change the situation now. I know I gave my best during the interview, and for some reason I had forgotten to follow up. Its okay. I’m not going to die. The world isn’t going to burn over. I’m just not going to intern with that company at this time. Simple as that. ITS OKAY.
This mistake, that seemed so monumental in the moment, was such a learning experience for me. Although it came with temporary uncomfortable feelings, I walked away from it learning something – that I will never NOT send a follow up email. That will always be a priority from here on out, when entering the job market.
This event opened me up to a bigger idea – that in my life, I need to make more mistakes. That its OKAY. I need to sometimes fall down, so I can get up a bit bruised, but a heck of a lot stronger and smarter. Life isn’t meant to be understood – and boy do I not always understand it. But I believe that moments like these, and many others, happen at a specific time for a specific reason, so that I can LEARN something specific. I can’t always be Brendan the Perfectionist. It won’t always work that way. I will make mistakes, I will learn, and I will always be a gracious, positive, hardworking person. And that’s what truly matters.
Thanks for letting me vent a bit. I tell you this story to prevent the same thing from happening to you. I hope this lesson applies to more than just thank you notes, but bigger things as well. Its also ironic because I’ve written a blog post in the past about sending Thank You notes after interviews – and look who forgot 😉 Well, I’m human. And it’s okay.