It’s been ~80 days since I revealed that I was denied at all five of my schools. I have spent a long time thinking. Maybe even too long. I don’t think I have experienced this much self-doubt in my goals and my abilities. And to be honest I haven’t blogged simply because I have had nothing to say.
And then a conversation happened. A spectacular conversation that snapped me back to reality. But before I get to that conversation here’s what has happened the last ~80 days.
The “Fortune” Incident
After I realized that I didn’t get in to any of the schools I applied to, I posted about it. I was still reeling from the defeat, and then P&Q did an article on me… which transformed into a piece on Fortune
The feedback on my failure was IMMEDIATE. And it STUNG. The comments on the two websites definitely found any insecurities I had and shined a light on them.
I found myself reading, and re-reading, and re-reading again EVERY SINGLE COMMENT. Was this person right? Am I really that way? What does this sentence mean?
The Job Switch and Move
At the beginning of December, I felt I had nowhere to go. I was in an industry that was suffering, with few career options for my next move. I knew I had to do something; I felt stale and tired. I felt like I had just ran a marathon, and instead of finding a finish line, I found only a cliff. So I did the only logical thing.
I remember the email… short but sweet. “Hey, I’m thinking of switching industries… are there any opportunities at ______?”
Two weeks later I was in a strange new office building in Los Angeles, adjusting my tie. I was interviewing for a dream job… consolidating the financials for the movie business for a major entertainment company’s CFO, and working with brands that I LOVED. I felt nervous; I had just interviewed at Tuck and Kellogg…. with ZERO success. What would I do???
I KILLED IT.
A couple days later I got the call and the offer. Three weeks later I was shipping my car, packing my room, and buying a one-way ticket back to the West Coast. I was now an employee of THE Industry. The Entertainment Industry is the EXACT opposite of the Aerospace/Defense Industry. Fast paced, instantly reactive, vibrant, fresh, growing…. I felt overwhelmed…. but not lost.
I found myself. I found that I can still produce success. That may seem silly, but for awhile I was unsure that I was still capable of big victories. I had a mountain of self-doubt casting a shadow over my life, and it felt good to just accomplish a goal.
The last couple of months have been intense. 12 hour days at work to get up to speed. Not knowing the business, the company, the industry has been more stressful than imagined. At the same time, I have been launching a technology upgrade for my non-profit organization and have now started mentoring high schools students at a local high school. Despite all my progress, the shadow of my future still loomed.
Should I still apply? Should I still continue down this road? Can I even get in? What can I offer?
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a similar individual that is currently in the middle of their application process. They wanted to have a phone call to share experiences and see if we could help each other.
We covered a lot of topics, ranging from admission worries, passions about helping others, and career aspirations. I won’t go too much into detail about what was covered in the conversation, but I will touch on how it affected me.
It gave me hope.
That talk gave me much needed encouragement to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep on going. It snapped me out of my zombie-like haze of ignoring my reality. I had been putting off thinking about my failure, instead of accepting it as part of my story and moving forward. I was afraid of failure; but I realized that failing was not the end, and honestly, not that bad now that I’m further away from the events. Life is getting better.
I am back. I AM BACK. I refuse to come this far, just to give up at the end. I am already making solid steps on applying [again] this year. My next post will cover those steps I have taken and the immediate steps in my future. If you want to follow my [new] journey, make sure to subscribe (if you haven’t already) or follow me on twitter.
Other Posts you may be interested in:
- What do you mean I’m on Fortune?
- GrantMeAdmission: The Results are In!
- TheEngineerMBA: My experience interviewing at HBS, and briefly visiting MIT