With internships on the horizon for both Richard & I, we thought this would be a great opportunity to share a little anecdote about career/academic failure and some of our favorite tips on failing the right way (yes, there is a right way!). Stop by every Friday for more from Richard! He’s given the lowdown on everything from college hookup culture to first dates, and we’ve got even more great content lined up for this month. And feel free to comment at the end of this post if there’s anything you’d like to hear about — we loooove suggestions!
Last March I was preparing for the summer after my first year of college and decided that I wanted like to get a head start in real work experience (aka a job that applied to the things I am learning in school). My first option happened to be a company that is pretty well known around the world and is extremely hard to get an internship with. Naturally, I took it by the teeth and confronted a representative at a career fair. I was able to obtain an interview spot for the next day.
It was a total fail.
Okay, maybe not a total fail, but I didn’t get the internship.
The day or the interview came and went faster than expected. At the end, I was asked if I had any questions. Naturally, my first was how long would it take for them to get back to me. It would be approximately two weeks. It was my next question that surprised him a lot. I asked him what my biggest weakness seemed to be to him at the end of the interview. I had no fear. I was willing to accept failure if it was coming to me. If there was a time to learn it was now. He smiled at me and replied, “Richard, you present a very strong, suitable young man for an internship with our company. But one thing you should really think about is attempting to get more experience in the field. It definitely increases the chances of being chosen as an intern.” I knew right then and there I was not getting the job. That wasn’t even what I was thinking about though. All I could think about was how the hell I was going to get more experience if no one would hire me to give me experience.
I had failed. I didn’t reach my goal of an internship over the summer. But I never gave up on finding good experience. I had worked as a cashier at the local supermarket for over a year and decided I needed more experience than that, even if it wasn’t in my field of work. I set out to find another job and ended up being hired by the local YMCA as a lifeguard. I quit being a cashier so I could focus on my new job that was coming up. Time came to start my new job, and out of the blue a local company, that happens to be owned by a friend I met through Holly, offered me a part time job. The company works with servomotors and servo amplifier units, which definitely applies to my major. I immediately said yes. The job started with just the idea of me coming in and doing paperwork once a week. After my interview, it turned into a full time job, five days a week, working in the repair shop.
My initial failure changed my life forever, and it even taught me a few things along the way – like the fact that there is a right and a wrong way to fail. Here are a few of my favorite ways to accommodate for and make the best out of total failure:
1. Get mad.
Okay, not the go throw sh*t at the wall kind of mad. But it’s okay to be frustrated and/or upset. In fact, it can be a good thing — if you let it. Use any negative emotions to your advantage and as a driving force for your future success.
2. Accept and embrace it.
Most successful people were not successful on their first try — maybe not even their second, third, fourth or even fifth try. What makes these successful people stand out is their perseverance and acceptance of failure. Keep doing the same thing, and you will get the same results. Accept whatever mistakes resulted in failure and use them to advance your knowledge and ultimate chances of success.
3. Make your failure your success story.
Without failure there wouldn’t be any significance in being successful. Make yours a part of your success story.
4. Don’t be a d*ck.
Nobody likes a negative Nancy. Instead of complaining about or making excuses for your failure, focus on what you need to do to get from point A to B. Be that person that everyone knows is going to continue to try, no matter how many times they fail. Even if your failure isn’t something you want to bring up in a conversation, a positive attitude and relentless drive will speak volumes about your character.
When is a time you have failed in your life? How did you deal with it? Comment below and share your story!