“Second? Great! What’s the pay?”


Some people go to their graves without finding their calling. I’m lucky to have stumbled upon my purpose mid-life – or at least I hope this is mid-life.

Since my “unplanned” career transition a few months ago, I have reclaimed the honor of being first at being second. My inbox abounds with nice notes from recruiters and hiring managers letting me know that their “very difficult decision” resulted in someone else getting the job. While there’s some solace in the fact that it was close, I’ve yet to see competitive compensation package offered to the candidate they didn’t choose.

I mean, runners-up at Wimbledon still get a share of the purse and a fancy plate. Bridesmaids get to keep the dress. Second place in interviews sometimes opens doors for other roles in the organization, but more frequently it leaves you with a fuzzy feeling for 45 seconds and a more lingering bruise to your self-esteem.

I’m opting to keep positive about it all. At least I got the interviews, right? Maybe it was as close as they claim it was. I take from each experience valuable information about what went well and what I can improve upon. I get exposure to new organizations and am able to share stories with interesting people. In many cases, I learn why I wouldn’t want to work there.

So, when emotions start to veer toward self-pity, I remind myself to look in the mirror and smile, taking note of how stunning I look in this dress.