Friday, August 21, 2009

The Job I Didn't Get

To be honest, there were lots of jobs I didn’t get selected for over the years.

There were the jobs that I didn’t get because someone else was more qualified. There were some jobs I wanted that I wasn’t even considered for. There were the jobs that I didn’t get and something better came along later. There were even the jobs that I was secretly happy I didn’t get… because life would have been hell if I had.

But this post is about the one that haunts me... the one that I look back and think, “Did that really happen?”

I wrote an earlier post about how I decided I wanted to be the boss. It was my first female boss that convinced me of this – not because she talked me into it, but because she did her job so well.

So, when the powers that be decided that I was ready, they started putting my name on management slates and I was off to interview for my first management job.

You probably guessed by now… I didn’t get it.

Not because I wasn’t qualified. Not because I wasn’t the best candidate. I was told that I didn’t get the job because the last two managers named in that organization were women. This time they needed to hire a man. This was in the mid-1980’s.

No, I’m not kidding.

I did land my first management job shortly after that, and everything was okay. For years as I was coaching employees who felt that something was unfair I would say, “At any given moment it may feel like you got less -- or more -- than you deserve, but in the long run it all evens out… people get what they deserve in the long run.”

It was a good speech, but I’m not sure I believe it anymore. Maybe it’s just not fair sometimes.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I recently was told I didn't get a consulting job because I wore a suit and tie to the interview. Really! And the person who made that determination had phoned screened me for 45 minutes the prior week. The rational was I would not fit into their client's business casual culture.

Firefly said...

Anonymous -- OMG -- and I suppose they figured you didn't have any business casual clothing in your closet... I'm sure they are missing out!