How I Messed Up a Golden Opportunity

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.~Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article by Wendy McCance

I have written many articles about how I have achieved success as a freelance writer, but I haven’t written too much on missed opportunities.  Wanting to keep things real with my readers, I thought I would share a golden opportunity that blew up in my face.

About two months ago I contacted someone on LinkedIn who worked for a prominent business.  As part of this person’s job, they wrote for a popular magazine that this business distributed monthly.  The person I had connected with was wonderful and passed along the phone number of the editor.  I was told that the editor was always on the lookout for new talent and that I should give them a call.

Well, I called and had a great conversation with the editor.  They asked for clips of my work and said they would get back with me.  A couple of weeks later, I hadn’t heard anything so I called again.  The editor was very nice and apologetic.  They hadn’t looked over what I had sent them and began asking questions about my background. The conversation was left where they would keep me in mind, but were unsure if I would be a good fit.  I had never written a featured story and to date my writing leaned more toward copywriting than toward a magazine article.

I knew I could write an article for the magazine.  I had interviewed several people before for press releases and website content.  I did understand that magazine writing is very different, but the flow that needed to be developed for a magazine piece was within my reach.  I just had to find a way to get my foot in the door.

About a week later, the editor connected with me on LinkedIn.  I wrote to them and thanked them for connecting.  I also mentioned that if they were ever in need of a freelance writer, I was still interested in writing for them.

I got an email back right away asking me to call.  The note stated that they were sure they could find something for me and they were willing to take a chance on me.  I was over the moon with excitement.  This would be my big break.  A chance to write an article that would be printed and delivered to many people in my area.

Well, I called and the editor had very little time to talk.  They said they would try me out and pay me to write a featured article.  It would be a test piece.  If they liked my work, there would be additional assignments in future magazine editions.  At the end of the call, I was asked to call back on Friday in the morning, but after 10 am and we would discuss setting up a meeting to go over the information I would need to know to proceed.

I spent time after the call reviewing  the company and their magazine again.  I wanted to really dissect everything.  I reread one of the issues of the magazine I had found online to decide if their writing style was truly within my abilities. When I finished reading, I was still confident that I would do just fine writing for them.

Friday was a crazy day for me.  I had a meeting at 9:30 am with a new client and a call at noon with another new client.  In between those times, I was to call the editor.  I had accepted the time frame in which I could call because they were rushing off the phone, this was my big break and I felt that if I tried to ask for a different time, the editor would take back the offer.

On Friday, I met up with the first client.  What should have been a half-hour meeting turned into a meeting that lasted almost two hours.  I tried a few times to end the meeting, but we were just getting to know each other and this client had a lot of information they wanted to discuss.

I got out of the meeting and panicked.  It was 11:15 am.  I was 5 minutes from home and my computer and wanted to be in front of my laptop when I called the editor.  I also wanted to be able to write down notes, and so I drove home before calling.  As I was running into the house, I was dialing the number.  I was seriously stressed out that it was too late to call.

The editor answered just as I got to the computer and I pulled up the website while speaking on the phone.  The editor sounded rushed and annoyed which made me even more uncomfortable about calling when I did.  Truthfully, I was calling during the time allotted, but if I hadn’t been in a meeting, I would have called right after 10 am.

The editor grilled me on what I had written in the past.  Hemmed and hawed about having me write for them and asked me if I was sure I could do the assignment.  I explained that I could and even talked about looking up one of their magazines to get a feel for the writing style.

The editor asked me what feature stories I had read and that’s when everything fell apart.  I remembered a few pieces of information, but they weren’t featured stories.  I was asked what issue I had read.  I knew the magazine was from 2013 and had a picture of a horse on the cover.  I couldn’t remember the month.  I had only looked through one magazine because it was the only one I could find online.

The editor said that my description didn’t sound familiar and was dumbfounded that I couldn’t discuss a featured article that I had read.  I was frozen.  My brain wasn’t working at all.  I wanted to cry.  I had been thorough in my research.  I did read the articles, but I couldn’t for the life of me pull the information out of my head.

I apologized and said that I had just come from a meeting and couldn’t remember off hand more than what I had mentioned about the magazine.  It was a horrible excuse, but I didn’t know what else to say.  I had choked.  The editor explained that they were finishing putting the assignments together for the next issue and would then be distributing them to the writers.  They were unsure if there would be room for me to write an article as well.  If they decided to use me, they would call the following week.

I blew it!  I missed out on a golden opportunity.  I had done all I could, but then went blank when it mattered most to be well informed.

Overall, my day went well.  Two new clients had signed on to work with me.  I had been in touch with one of the clients off and on for over eight months before I finally got the go ahead to work with them.  Even so, I couldn’t get past my embarrassment and disappointment over losing the magazine job.  I stewed about it the rest of the day.  I was so angry that I couldn’t just forgive myself and celebrate the good part of my day.  I just moped around and replayed the messed up call in my head over and over.

By the end of the day, I began to let it go.  Maybe there was a reason why it just wasn’t supposed to work out.  Maybe I really wasn’t a good fit.  Who knows what was going on behind the scenes.  It was time to move on.

There will be golden opportunities that get missed.  Maybe the opportunities aren’t the big deal you interpreted them to be, but either way, unfortunately, it’s part of the process.  Business will never be perfect, but you can learn from the mistakes and move on.

I hope you remember when you have an off day that everyone has days like this. You’re not alone.  There are still going to be amazing moments just around the corner.

Can you relate to this article?  Have you had a day that really disappointed you?  I’d love to hear your story.  Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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9 thoughts on “How I Messed Up a Golden Opportunity

  1. Hey Wendy! I needed to read this, I feel exactly the same way right now. I haven’t worked in a little more than a year. 😔. I have birth to my second and In took my husband’s offer to stay home and take care of the baby and quit my extremely abusive and bullying job that I had. So, after being treated like dirt once again, even though I was a supervisor, I did. Long story short, rewind to two weeks ago. My husband calls me from his job, telling me about this company that is doing work at their site packing up items, etc. I looked them up and got their number. I was super excited because I have been looking for a job for a while. Just a week before that, I had foot surgery. I was feeling pretty OK. I called the company, spoke to the owner and we had a great rapport. She told me of the job, that I would be an independent contractor, the pay was great, and at the end of the year, my bonus would be one percent of the whole years earnings, so it wasn’t bad. But it is a physical intensive position. She gave me a working interview that Monday coming up and I agreed. I didn’t tell her about my foot because I felt fine, and I still had 5 more days til that Monday. Anyway, I do some errands on Sunday, and Monday morning my operated foot is swollen!!! I called, I told her about my operation blah blah, I even sent hery discharge papers, everything. I requested she reschedule the interview, please. She was not pleased and said she would have to think about it and would call back. A week later still no call back I called her back yesterday. In as many words, she said she didn’t think she could trust me, that why I didn’t call her on Sunday (because my foot felt fine, I’m not a mind reader)….anyway…. She would not be rescheduling my interview. I feel so bummed out. I didn’t feel she was completely fair in her decision. Maybe you’re like, why didn’t you tell her about your medical situation? Because I trusted how I was feeling. I felt fine, I could walk great etc. I didn’t know my foot was going to swell. My doctor said before the surgery that after 10 to 15 days I was going to be all good. It had already been 12 days. I gave her all the documents too. I don’t know I feel rejected and I hate that. In the bright side, this situation propelled me to open up my own company. My husband and I will start our own local relocation company. If that woman with no logical understanding and no human compassion can have a company so will I.

  2. Wendy, I love how you share the ups and downs of your successes and “failures”. But this isn’t so much a failure, as it is what you said: Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be, and that’s okay. 🙂 You had a great day! 2 new clients are definitely something to be grateful for and in the midst of upholding your professionalism for your OWN business, maybe you learned sooner than later (which is always better! Even when you want it to go differently) that this wasn’t going to be a right fit for you, or the next step that your meant to take 🙂 I always believe that certain things don’t come my way because God has something better planned for me. When you think of it like that, you can’t be mad 🙂

    • Thanks for the advice. I love the way you looked at the situation. It’s funny, I get it now, but at the time, I was so upset. What a good night’s sleep will do to alter your perspective. 🙂

    • You’re so right. I have to see it that way as well. Maybe this chance I lost was not for me. Good has my back.

  3. Here is part of my story in the form of a partial and rhetorical question Wendy: Who is perfect? I am not trying to be sarcastic or silly, but we all catch the boat sometimes and we miss the boat sometimes, good luck just happens to a matter of when you catch the boat at the right times and when you miss it at the right times. I feel lucky and blessed all the time, even when an opportunity “Differently Happens”, because I am convinced it just opens the door for something better. To quote W. Clement Stone once again in what he said to a good friend of mine, “do you have a problem? That’s good. Time for you to grow, not to go!”
    Listen, Wendy, I believe perfection is possible, but when it is time to grow, we get past our current perceptions of perfection and idealness. That is when growth happens, when we allow it and not fear it as something bad or unlucky. If we have a problem, in this way it IS good.

    • Thanks for your comment Joshua. I truly appreciate your thoughts on the subject. I’m not looking for perfection. It is not realistic. There is no such thing. At the same time, I do over analyze and reflect on what I could do better. It is the reflecting that allows me to grow from the experience. Sure I’m disappointed, but I mourned it and am moving on. If I stayed stuck on the would have and could have’s, I would be spinning my wheels. I have other fish to fry (as they say) so I am will focus my energy on that. 🙂

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