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really bad interview

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I'm a third-year journalism student. About a month ago I got my very first opportunity to write for a newspaper. It went well, so I decided to e-mail the newspaper in my hometown to see if I could get some experience from them while I was home for the holidays. The editor, who graduated from my program at the same school, said it was my lucky day and told me to come in on the 23rd.


I went and the meeting went really well. He even asked me to write a column for him. The ony problem was, I seemed to forget that I was scheduled to be at work three days later, out of town. This was a major oversight on my part, but not something I could get out of. I e-mailed the assignment editor to let her know I wouldn't be here like I thought, and then I e-mailed the column to the editor and sent my deepest apologies.


I know, I KNOW, that I should have been more prepared. Believe me, I know this now. And I know I am paying for it.


So the editor sent me an e-mail back saying, "To be a good journalist you have to be prepared. The fact that you didn't know your schedule did not leave a good impression in my mind. Good luck with your career. Contact me when you're serious about writing for a newspaper."


He also commented on a grammatical error I had in my e-mail.


I approached some friends for advice, and they all told me to spend lots of time on a response, admitting my wrong. So I did. And they all thought it was perfect. I e-mailed it to him and he replied with:


"Hi there. You didn't disappoint me, but you need to learn to be more prepared in order to be successful in this business. Not all of us get a second chance in life to prove our worth. Good luck with your studies."


I feel completely shattered, although I know this is my own fault. This was my big opportunity and I managed to completely screw it up with my own stupidity. But there's nothing I can do to change that, all I can do is learn from it and move on. But I spent an entire day in bed pining over it. And I feel sick just thinking about it. I feel like my entire career prospects are blown if this one interview went as sour as it did. I've always been taught that the media is a very small world, and I fear that it will come back to haunt me.


Any advice?

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Hi splendy.


I am not a journalist so my point of view doesn't come from the same world as your's would.


That is an unfortunate thing.

Thing is though, it's over now, and you learnt from it.

THAT is all that is important.


It was just one chance...the world of journalism may be "small" (that was always my understanding too) but you must be positive and hope for the next opportunity.

Another opportunitity will come.


This has taught you valuable lessons that other people would not have learnt and will probably make in some other form later on. See it as an advantage.


You seem to make a good journalist and so you must remember this.


I feel completely shattered, although I know this is my own fault.
It is not a matter of "fault". It is in the past, don't dwell on it.


Learn from it. That is all you need to do with it.


Not all of us get a second chance in life to prove our worth.
This was very rude of him to say and a sign of arrogance and condescension....I think it is condescending because it was unecessary for him to say this, whether it is true or not. he just wanted to show you his "power" and your "inferiority".

No wonder you feel down.

One day you can work for a competing paper and show that guy what you are made of ...maybe one day you'll be HIS boss?

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The editor, who graduated from my program at the same school, said it was my lucky day and told me to come in on the 23rd.


Don't beat yourself up over this, journalists much like actors will endure a life of rejection while working to land that perfect role. The editor did seem a little pompous, maybe he just expected more since he was an alum.


As for you grammatical errors, shame on you. Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes purpose. You are corresponding to an editor! How could he not be critical? That's like a surgeon showing up to work with dirty hands because he changed his own oil before coming in.


There are high expectations set in your chosen profession and you are under a microscope when submitting anything in writing. Your work is a direct reflection of the editor and newspaper. I penned an advice column for a few years when a friend of mine would go on vacation. Believe me I checked it over as if it were my thesis.


Get thicker skinned and use this experience as a lesson learned. Edit your work before someone else does! When you make it big someday, send the guy a thank you note!

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Sounds like a tough situation. The thing is you cannot beat yourself up over this - its just a lesson you have learned, and you have to move on with your life. You will get a lot of other chances to make it big. Try not to concentrate on the past. Focus on the future and how you are going to get your career up and off the ground. Think about what you can do to better yourself and gain more experience.


I'm still getting my career off the ground too so I know all about bad interviews. I've had a few of them. But, I've also had a few good ones too and i just recently got accepted for a job that i want so things are finally coming together after a year. ITs going to be a slow process but you cannot give up, keep trying and keep working hard to get to the place that you want.


Best of Luck.

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As the others have said, take it as a lesson learned. You'll know more the next time you interview. I'm afraid the editor was pretty well justified in what he said to you. They have certain expectations and you didn't meet them. And he told you the way it is, sometimes you do not get a second chance.


I had a case when I was a hiring manager where a candidate asked me for an informal interview. I had to drive over from another building to meet him and I was running a few minutes late due to other meetings. I even had to leave my current meeting before it completed in order to make the interview. So I called the administrative assistant and told her to ask the candidate to wait a few minutes until I could arrive. When I did get back to the building I was 10 minutes late. The candidate had left. I was pretty mad at him that I had tried to go out of my way to talk to him and he didn't have the courtesy to let me get back to the building after I had even called ahead.


He sent an email apologizing and expecting me to reschedule but I refused. I had no intention of wasting my time again with him and told him next time he interviews for a job he better act like he wants it. Harsh, but it's the truth. There are scores of candidates for every job and if you don't stand out then you just don't stand a chance.

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Ouch... that's gotta hurt, but i think he was justified in his actions too.


Use this as a learning experience.


Two things come to mind in this:


1. Make sure you plan ahead next time, because that in itself shows something about your character


2. Edit, edit, edit your writing. You are going to be a journalist! Make sure your grammar is flawless.


Although i think it was slightly arrogant saying it was "your lucky day" regarding the interview, and that some people perceive his response of lecturing you on your time management skills or interview ethic as a bit inappropriate, i actually think it's a good thing that he went to the trouble of explaining to you where you went wrong and that you may not get a second chance to "prove yourself", rather than offering a generic, ambigious response, void of insight.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Splendy, keep your chin up. I think this "editor" sounds like a pompous * * * personally. Pointing out a grammatical error to you, was their way of 'putting you in your place" and letting you know Who's Boss......I agree with the other poster. No WONDER you're beating yourself up!!


I consider myself a fairly decent writer, maybe not "journalist" caliber, but I think my writing skills are above average. I don't ALWAYS proof read everything I write, because I am usually pretty confident it will come accross

fine to the reader. I am also a pretty good speller, so I don't even bother using spell check..LOL......and usually Lo and Behold AFTER I send it..I will find two or three typos....Oooops.


Not sure where I am going with this point...I guess I just want you to know you are HUMAN...first ond foremost. To be honest, if that editor had written that resply to ME, I would have had to get a little dig in there with a sarcastic reply......maybe something like "I appreciate you pointing out that grammatical error to me, I didn't realize I was being graded, but thanks anyway". That's just ME though....LOL.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, well I must say, sorry to hear that. How did you overlook such a thing though? Well, either way, there are tons of opportunities ahead for anyone. Don't worry. Just learn from your mistakes, raise your head, and move on. We all screw up many times in life. It's normal, but do learn from the mistakes.

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