Sunday, October 24, 2010

working towards a dream

Notice my absence last week? That's because last week ended up being a week that I didn't expect. I eluded to waiting on some news in my last post that I figured was "out of my hands" by that point. Well, I was wrong... turns out it was in my hands all week. Let me explain.

I have written before about my love for the city of Chicago. I spent a lot of time there for business and was fortunate to experience the Winter, Summer & Fall in the city. In the Winter, I loved the snow framing the skyscrapers and the wreaths adorning the views I'd grown to love from every John Hughes movie. I adored the summer in Chicago for different reasons: I loved going to a Cubs game as well as a Sox game (in the same week). I was obsessed with the architecture and viewing it from the various tour buses/boats that the city offers. The people were so nice, the boys were cute, the restaurants all had character...I loved everything about the city in every way.

Being in my twenties, it's natural to feel the inclination to spread my wings. And I need a change desperately. Though California is beautiful, I have never had a desire to move there which is often the place to go if you live in Portland. I've never wanted to move somewhere without distinct seasons waiting for me. I love the vitality of a city and I want to live in a large, cold, northern city. New York City is obviously beautiful and I would love to live there but really, the apple of my eye is Chicago for the reasons listed above and more. I've been completely set on making my way there ever since my visits.

However, that didn't mean I had ever taken any steps to make the move. A few months ago, I promised myself that on a 1-5 year plan, I would get my bum to downtown Chicago and live there. I felt happy about this because the huge company I work for now (you all would know what it is upon the name), has an office smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago. And a couple months ago... an opportunity that suited my goals, skills and desires opened up in said office.

In order to apply for a new job as a present employee at my company, I had to discuss this with my Manager. If she allowed me to apply for it, then I would have to earn and have the approval of our top executive team. So... I went for it. I called a meeting with my Manager and asked if we could discuss the opening and my candidacy for it. After discussion, she gave her blessing. The next day, after she had passed the word onto the executive team, I was given notice by one member that they were going to give their full support for me applying. That felt great because it was direct reflection of my work ethic.

So... I went after this job like a tiger. I started with the application then followed-up by emailing the contacts directly. When I received contact from them, they said they would be in touch soon. Good enough, I thought- but the job starts November 8th so I felt a bit anxious that the ball wouldn't get rolling soon enough.

The second week into October, I finally started the vetting process. I had an in-house Recruiter for the role who guided me through all of the steps. I would interview with one Chicago executive over the phone and would wait for the Recruiter to again call to tell me the results. I sent every "thank you" letter promptly, and my answers to their questions were poised, intellectual and eloquent. Every day or so, the Recruiter would call me and tell me again that I made it to the next level of the hiring process and I continuted to move forward. I was told at the end of the week October 15th, that they would be making a decision the following week which is when I posted about it being "out of my hands".

They were wrong. The Chicago team still wanted to interview with me more, so I spent every single day interviewing with a different person regarding the role. And without fail, the recruiter would call me and say "great job! You're moving forward!" I started to get sincerely excited that I may actually land this job.

Then Thursday morning at 7:30 am, I received a call from the Recruiter who told me that this job had come down to me and one other candidate. I felt weak with both glee and nervousness. There were just two interviews left and I had to excel at both of them. So, the first one came and went and the reassuring call from the Recruiter came- I had nailed it and they were still struggling to decipher between me and the other. So on Friday, the big daddy of interviews came. I braced for it and did the best that I could and felt good walking away from it, knowing that a decision would be made later that day.

And later that day, the Recruiter called me:

"Caitlin, I gotta tell you. You impressed the heck out of everyone and honestly, with you and the other candidate, we tried to see if we could make room for two because you were both so wonderful. But, it saddens me to say that I don't have the good news for you. You both excelled at your interviews but the other candidate is local and this job begins November 8th. So that is how we ultimately made the differentiation between you."


I didn't get the job due to the 2-week opening between now and the start date and the fact that I would still have to relocate to the city. I definitely would have, but from their point-of-view, it was the better way to go.

Despite the outcome, I remain very proud of myself. I am proud because I had virtually no one pushing my credentials at them and there was no reason that I moved forward as far as I did besides my own hard work- no one knew the hiring manager to get me an interview, I got all of my interviews on my own. I am proud that I had the backing and recommendation from the executive team at my current office. I am proud that out of hundreds of applications, I thrusted myself to the top-two. I am proud that I was excited to leave what I know in order to find something new despite the hardship that would entail. I am proud that I took the very large step of deciding that I would move my life there immediately. And I'm proud that I have made a slight name for myself with some contacts over there.

However, make no mistake about the fact that I am supremely bummed out. At first, I wasn't excited about moving there because I assumed it was a leap of faith to actually land the position. But after I continued to move forward and the start-date got closer, I started gathering some notes about neighborhoods and cost of living and envisioned me in a Parka trucking down Michigan Ave. I really, really wanted the job. I am very sad I didn't get it.

I let myself cry a bit this weekend but now that I've grieved... I'm ready for more. I will be staying in contact with those who I met. I will be applying to more openings that the Recruiter suggested to me, with later start dates. I will meet with the Chicago contacts in person on a personal visit there and I will get to Chicago.

You fall...feel the pain, wipe yourself off and get back up. That's what I plan on doing even though it'll be a bit later than I had hoped.

Look out Chicago, I'm coming for you.

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Anonymous said...

You absolutely should be proud! That's amazing you made it so far and I think it shows you'll be living in Chicago in no time :) (I think it's my favorite city, too. I absolutely fell in love with it when I was there. I hope I can visit again soon, its already been too long!)

this free bird said...

Caitlin you should be extremely proud of yourself. I am an Executive Recruiter (have been for 10 years) - and you handled the process like a champ. I only wish they would have told you sooner about the location scenario so you could address that actively.

But that wasn't in your hands (to use your words). And you did magnificently with every piece that you were involved with.

The best thing that has come out of this (amongst many, many positive things) is that you are ON THEIR RADAR in that office. You WILL be moving to Chicago. I have no's only a matter of when!


Voldy ♥ said...

And the boy? Would he move with you?

Unknown said...

Oh, I know it feels bad, but this certainly isn't a failure. Its a success, which didn't go in your favor. Success because you came out with flying colors throughout the whole process. Moreover, you are more determined and positioned better to achieve what you really want. My wishes are with you and I'm sure CHICAGO is not so far...Do take good care of yourself, CHEERS :)

Keith said...

I'm so sorry you didn't get this job. I am proud of you that you made it so far. You should be thrilled with yourself as well. Take care.

Sher said...

Oh hunny, I'm so sorry you didn't get the job! I could imagine what a bummer it must have been after going through all those countless interviews ( I dread interviews!)! You're such a trooper and brave to have gone so far!

I truly admire your resilience and honestly, another door will open for you in the future, I'm pretty sure of it:)

Take care hun, lotsa hugssssssss!


Kim Axani said...

Ahhhhh, SO CLOSE!
What a brave undertaking on your part!
I would be super scared to up and leave for a new job in a new city!
Now that you've gotten that far, the next time you apply for a job there it will be a lot easier I'm sure!
Good on you =)

Unknown said...

onto bigger and better things instead xxxxx

Anonymous said...

Good for you girlie! I love your tenacity, determination and down right spunk!! Sounds like a chicken s@#t way of choosing an employee, but whatevs. Things happen for a reason! Better luck next time!!

bananas. said...

major bummer! after all that?!


so sorry lady...but i can tell your determination will get you there. you're young...motivated...and eager to do great things. watch out chi town! :)

Jaime @ laviejaime said...

Sorry to hear that you didn't get the's so tough but your positive attitude is the way to be! You proved to yourself that you can get to the final 2 through your qualifications & hard work, and it's excellent practice for your big break :) Keep on truckin'!

erika sorocco said...

I'm so proud of you, Caitlin - and you should definitely be proud of yourself! You will make it to Chicago someday; and when you do the Windy City had better watch ou because you will take it by storm!! :)

Leia said...

So, I read your post up to the point where you didn't get the job (I really thought you were gonna get it!) and then I literally said "NOOOO!" when I read what they said! But I think you took it extremely well and you're absolutely right. Sometimes I feel that things happen for a reason - I'm sure something awesome will happen and you'll think to yourself, "ah, it's good that I hadn't moved yet" - something like that, you know? But WELL DONE for working so hard and I am 100% sure it's going to get you really, really far. Hugs!


Unknown said...

Sorry you didnt get the job but it sounds like you made an amazing impression, hopefully something even better comes along in the near future!
Im sure you'll get to Chicago eventually :) xx

Panty Buns said...

You really are brave. I know Manhattan is a pretty expensive place to live and I'd guess that Chicago is too, so a good job would help. New York has an independent gubernatorial candidate running on the "Rent is 2 Damn High" Party ticket (seriously). i had never really taken that close a look at Chicago (having only seen the inside of O'Hare Airport) until you blogged about how much you love it. I keep hearing how cold (very cold) and windy it is in the winter but hadn't looked at it's amenities from your perspective. i just zoomed in on it a little bit using Google maps satellite view. The beaches there on the west side of the Southern part of Lake Michigan look like they would be nice in the summer. Sorry you didn't wind up with the job you tried for but at least you had re-affirmation of your business expertise. It would have been a hectic time to move. Maybe your vote is needed in Portland. What a diversity of places you like visiting both in the country and in the cities. Congratulations on being being good enough to qualify for that kind of job in the first place. Enjoy that youth of yours and be safe wherever you are.

the "L" spot said...

I proud of you too! Just reading your journey I could feel all the hard work it must have taken! I definitely crave for a new adventure right now! With your dedication I'm sure you'll get to Chicago soon!!

Anonymous said...

You should be very proud, that's an amazing accomplishment! You gave your best and I'm sure there is going to be a new opportunity for you soon.

Camila F.

Arantxa Chavarria said...

awww Caitlin i'm sorry to hear that, but like you said.. pick yourself up and keep going forward! I know you'll get what you deserve, you are a great woman to look up to! Congrats for being so proud of yourself and not letting things go..

Nathalie said...

Wow, I am absolutely proud of you for making it so far in the process and for being confident to make such a move. I am really sorry it did not work out this time, but I am more than convinced that you get your chance, seeing as you impressed them all!
I wish you all the best in the pursue of your dream.
Hugs from Germany :)

o said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the opportunity falling through, but I am so proud of you for making the top two and for every reason you listed above! I really believe that everything happens for a reason and perhaps another job opportunity will be better suited for you in Chicago:) Your optimism is truly inspiring:) Seriously!

P.S. Just replied to ur e-mail:)

Sophie said...

Oh Caitlin I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't get the job. But you should be so proud of how far you got and how well you did in all the interviews, you clearly impressed them a lot!! And you never know they may well keep you mind if another position comes available. I hope you are doing ok. xo

Alison Kinsey said...

I am immensely proud of you Caitlin, you were so so close. It sounds like had the two of you been local, they would have selected you. I am crossing my fingers that something will open up soon and you'll make the move. Chicago is a fun, beautiful city, I can see why you like it! My sister goes to school there and loves it!
I was in a similar situation before - basically same story as you, got the rejection, but then a couple of weeks later, they called me because someone else that worked there gave their notice! So you never know what could happen at the drop of a hat. My fingers are crossed for you, and I'm glad you're keeping your motivation high!

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

I'm so sorry. That stinks. It's tough to go up against a local candidate. Fingers crossed that another fabulous opportunity will come your way asap!

Jess said...

Oh bummer -- doesn't seem fair. But I love your optimism and motivation. With that attitude, you will definitely get there!!


Michelle said...

I'm sorry you didn't get the job. That is a big bummer, but it must mean there is something better waiting for you. You should be very proud of yourself for going for it.

So funny though- I live just outside of Chicago and just got back from a CA trip...we wondered why the heck anyone would want to live here when there is such beauty in other places in this country (like CA, which was fabulous). Our city is really cool, don't get me wrong, but I only LOVE it for 6 months out of the year. I have to tell you Nov- May are pretty friggin miserable. Every single solitary winter, I mentally move to Florida. So, if there is a silver least you don't have to come here right before one of our infamous winters. If you're going to make a move, do it in the spring!

Slamdunk said...

I appluad your courage in going through the process and excelling as you did. I have to belief that a better opportunity will arrive--you have impressed a number of people.

Holly Lefevre said...

To get as far as you did - you must have been amazing (we all know you are amazing already!). I have no doubts that you will be a force to be reckoned with and Chicago better watch out. It is a beautiful city!

Kristin W said...

The same situation happened to me. I was trying to relocate as my husband's job was allowing him to move.
One particular job was between me and another candidate. I got told the same "we wished we could hire you both" and it came down to the other person being local.
I'm glad you're so positive about it! I think it will lend the opportunity to an even better position or fit for you in Chicago! Once I didn't get the other job (and after crying/moping for a day), I got offered a better position in a better place. Things will work out :) Keep up that positive attitude!