How getting rejected can give you confidence

So, I said I was going to write a post on this, and here I am. This is several weeks past due, but as I will explain, there’s a good reason behind that. So, I was recently contacted by a Google recruiter. This recruiter saw my LinkedIn and contacted me out of the blue. I had no implications on my LinkedIn that I was seeking new employment, and I wasn’t. But honestly, when Google comes knocking, who isn’t going to at least open the door?

So, I talked to the recruiter and set up my phone interview date to interview for an iOS Software Engineer position. It was about three weeks out, and so I began to study. I began to comb the internet and find out what I should focus on. “Study the fundamentals” is what I heard. So, I went on to the wonderful resource I have in Safari Books Online and began to study up on topics I hadn’t studied in years: trees, hash tables, sorting algorithms, the works.

As one could expect, the sheer volume of material that I had to review eventually got to me. I started to break down. And then the logical side of me started questioning that. Why was I breaking down over an interview that I wasn’t even seeking out to begin with? I never could quite figure it out. I guess my dissatisfaction with where I’m working at right now got to me, and this seemed like “my way out.” As I prayed about it, I felt a crazy nervous energy that I thought meant God planned for my wife and I to go to California. Soon after we got married, I even made the quip that it would be hilarious if God wanted us to go to California since I am a southern boy.

And then came the day of the phone interview. I quickly reviewed a few facts about algorithms that I wasn’t 100% sure about. As I was talking to the interviewer, we jumped right into the questions. The first question I was asked related to ….iOS.

Wait.

What?

This was supposed to be about basic algorithms and data structures.

I spent so much time studying the basics that my problem solving skills just went out the window as I froze up, misunderstood the question, and overall took an hour for a 45 minute interview. I should have been prepared for this. I should have realized that I was contacted about a specific position and the interviewer would focus more on that than the fundamentals. Yeah… I knew it wasn’t going to happen for me, not this time.

So, after the interview and during one of the longest weeks I’ve experienced to date, I had a serious feeling of doubt and insecurity. I knew I could complete the questions required of me, and I just felt like I didn’t show the best of my abilities.

One afternoon, I got the call from my recruiter that “We won’t be moving on at this time.” I had prepared myself for this. I was waiting for the moment. But instead of the despair that I thought I was going to feel, I felt relief.

I knew the result.

I knew that it wasn’t representative of me.

I know the abilities God has given me, and those abilities didn’t magically change because of the result of an interview. I want to make great software. And no person is going to help you better yourself. You’ve got to have the initiative and go for it yourself. I want to do my best to represent my God by creating great software that helps people. If it helps them express themselves, better themselves, or just get to know the God that created them and loves them. Whatever the result is, I want to create software that betters us as humans. No. I want to create software that helps us better ourselves.

That day, I got the inspiration to start back on a side-project that I had been harboring in its current form for about a year.The project can trace its way back all the way to when I was a small child. I’m not going to release too much information about it at the moment, but I think it can be a great example of what we can do to help express ourselves as humans. I will release more information about it as it becomes a viable product, but right now it’s very much in prototype stage.

This is my story. This is how getting rejected can give you confidence. Scratch that. This is how getting rejected can help you find confidence in yourself again. This is the next step in my journey of developing great software and following God in doing so.

Let’s get started.

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