In the business world every person goes through the situation where they apply for a position or a promotion that they really want, are qualified for, and when the time comes to hear their fate they are told that they did not get the position. I’ve seen this situation dozens of times in the 8 years of retail leadership that I’ve experienced. My first time not getting a position I applied for was at Best Buy when I was 19 years old.
At the time I was a full time customer service associate with a hunger to move up in the company. The administrative assistant position became available and I knew my skill set would be perfect for the job. I was organized, thorough, intelligent, and knew how the admin position was suppose to work. I applied and interviewed for the position and after a week of confidence my manager, Steven, told me I did not get the position. I was heart broken, but I knew that getting down on myself and pouting about it wouldn’t do me any good. I decided then that I would show the leadership staff that they had made the wrong choice and I was going to work harder and try harder every single day that I worked.
When you do not get the job you applied for you a faced with a choice. A fork in the road appears and you must choose which direction to go. On one side of the fork you have feeling depressed about not getting the position and an overall feeling of wanting to quit because the people that made the decision obviously don’t value you as an associate, so maybe it would be better to take your talents elsewhere. On the other side of the fork there is feeling humble about not getting the position and an overall feeling of self reflection that helps you pin point the weaknesses that the leadership saw in you, so you can hone in on these weaknesses and try to better them. On this side of the fork you would try even harder to prove yourself and do everything you can to strive to get better every single day.
A few months after I got passed over for the Admin position it became available again. I applied again after having a few more months of experience proving myself to my leaders. I had gotten better at organizing my paperwork and holding my peers accountable to a higher standard. After the interview process was over and the time came to hear whether or not I got the position I was beaming with confidence. The result; however, was the same. I did not get the Admin position. They gave it to someone else. I was back at the fork. My manager, now Mike, told me that they had bigger plans in store for me and that my talents wouldn’t be utilized to the maximum of their potential if I was in the Admin role. This upset me quite a bit and it became a little harder to decide the right path at the fork. I prayed about it and decided that there were still opportunities for me to get better and I wouldn’t let this situation derail my potential. I chose to try harder.
Not surprising to me the Admin position was open a couple of months after they decided on a person that did not fit the skill set very well. She wasn’t successful and they moved her to another position in the store almost as quickly as they put her into the position. “Third times the charm?” I thought.
I applied for the Admin position for a third time. This position had a lot to do with hiring in the store, organizing the paperwork in the cash office, and working directly with employee files to ensure our strong human resource relationship with corporate was bulletproof. You never want someone to try and take advantage of a company due to some immoral bureaucracy. I felt it was my job for the taking. I got passed over for a third and final time. They gave it to someone else. Like walking through mud, I approached the fork for one last time. This time they didn’t tell me I wasn’t qualified, but instead told me my sights were too low. I was overqualified for this position and another opportunity would be open in the near future that I would be a better fit for. They appreciated my reaction to the first two times being passed over and saw the hunger in me to get better. This made making the right choice a little easier. I self reflected and kept staying hungry. I set up contests with the cashiers to drive more sales results. I had customer service sparkling clean on days I wasn’t even working due to high standards from my peers. About a month after getting passed over, the Computer Supervisor position was available.
The Computer Supervisor was responsible for overseeing 15-20 associates, driving sales and results of high volume computer sales, and ensuring merchandising standards were being met. I applied for this position that paid almost 25% more than the Admin position. When the decision day came I sat down with the General Manager, Greg, and listened for my fate. “I want to make you Computer Supervisor,” he said. I accepted immediately and the rest is history. I was over a 23 million dollar per year department for the store at the age of 21 years old. It’s important to remember in times of adversity that everything happens for a reason.
A few months after getting promoted to Computer Supervisor a strong partnership I had with the Geek Squad supervisor led to us winning a sales contest. The Geek Squad supervisor left the company a few months later and his second in command applied for the Supervisor position. When the second in command was passed over for this position he quit without notice from the company. This individual was over 30 years old and up and quit because he didn’t get the position. He wind up getting a job somewhere else, but it definitely backtracked what looked like a promising career.
We all experience this situation at one time or another. The important thing to remember is that when faced with the choice of quitting or being humble, always choose the humble route. It may not seem right when it happens, but everything happens for a reason. It takes humility, patience, and determination to get through this type of situation, but getting through it pays off in the long run and can even help make you a better person.