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Academy Business Journal

what happened when I didn’t get my dream job…

When I Didn't Get My Dream Job...

When I Didn't Get My Dream Job...

In 2005, I had left my previous jobs in New York to move to Philly so that I could be in the same city as my then long-distance boyfriend (now my husband). I applied for my dream job of home decor designer at Anthropologie HQ thinking I had this in the bag. I was motivated, I was a go-getter, and I just assumed they’d fall in love with me. I went on a few interviews, completed a test project, and then…I didn’t get the job. They said they loved me, but they didn’t have a job opening that fit my level of experience, so I had to move on.

I was devastated.

How could all my planning and pitching and my go-getter attitude not work out? What was I going to do now that my big plan was not going as I had imagined?

It reminded me that sometimes things don’t go the way you want. But what did happen is that it created a fork in the road—a new path—that I didn’t plan for but was ultimately the road that led me to starting this business.

If I had gotten that job at Anthropologie, I may have had a lovely career there.
I may have gotten a promotion.
And another one.
And, maybe I would now (14 years later) be in charge of an entire team of people.
But no one will ever know.

What I do know is that by not getting that dream job, I ended up creating my own dream job. The dream job started small and scrappy, but it grew and grew organically like a little weed that turned into a flower and then more seeds came and turned it into a garden. It's a garden I didn’t know I wanted and now can’t imagine my life without. And now there are all these flowers in this garden that I get to grow along with the other farmers (my Oh Joy! team) that help me keep this garden colorful and thriving. Then, I get to give all these flowers to you…to give you joy, to give you inspiration, you get to enjoy the flowers however you want.

So, while I didn’t get that dream job, I got so much more. When things go wrong (which happens a lot), I always think back to what happened when I didn’t get that dream job and I remind myself (and you) this…

It may seem terrible right now. You may be so crushed or feel like a failure. But what’s next for you will ultimately take you down a different path towards your very own flower garden that you didn’t even know existed.

I hope you have an amazing weekend. And Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

{Photo by Lily Glass}


  1. This speaks to me so much today, you have no idea. I have been working my “dream job” right now as an interim staff member and was thrilled to apply for the permanent job when it was announced. I had a very good reputation with the staff and administrators, but wasn’t offered the job. It was such a disappointment for me, a real ego blow. To make matters worse, there are so many rough things going on in my life right now and I just really needed to have one less stressful thing off my plate and a full-time job would have done that well! Now, I have two weeks left on my contract there and I am training my replacement! A humbling experience for sure, and one that has left me feeling depressed. However, I see now how right you are about one path closing and another opening. Because I didn’t get that position, I have refocused my job search, revamped my resume, and watched countless videos on YouTube about interviewing better so that the next opportunity won’t slip through my fingers. I feel more into taking risks with my job search now, expanding into new territory in hopes of the right door opening up to something amazing and unexpected. In some ways, the rejection has made me feel braver and bolder, more creative when it comes to how I can pay the bills, and, of course, much more thicker skinned. Anyway, thanks for sharing that and making me feel less alone today.

  2. Dean,
    Thanks so much for sharing! I love that story and yes, I really believe those moments make you pivot in ways that are unexpected, but ultimately better for you!

  3. I was completely crushed when my internship didn’t end in a job offer. It took a solid 6 months to recover from the blow before I started freelancing here and there. No one is going to stop me from designing. Yeah, I long and wish for being able to work for a creative team. No isn’t forever. Sometimes it means not right now.

  4. Many years ago I left a job and fell down a deep, depressing hole. I decided that I might as well finish the degree I had started 10 years earlier. The degree lead to another career that I have enjoyed more than I could possibly have known when I started down this path.

  5. It’s true that losing a job can be devastating. It’s even worse when it is no reflection on your skills but rather politically motivated. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who rise to the top position because they are able to charm their way there and then hire their friends. But to those who have integrity and genuinely care about people, charge ahead and bring with you a new wave of much- needed humanity to the corporate world.

  6. Thank you thank you thank you. Like the others who have commented, this really resonated with me. I recently interviewed (x 4!) at my dream company only to not get an offer and it wrecked me. But I’m now seeing that newly forged fork in my path. While I didn’t land what I was sure was my next move, I have the clarity now to know of what I don’t want to do.
    Happy mother’s day to you Joy, and keep on slayin. You’re an inspiration. ♥️

  7. Hi Laurel,
    Thank YOU for sharing your story! I love hearing that even though this was a recent thing for you, you’re already seeing how you have clarity in how to move forward.


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