Posted on 25 August 2008


How (not) to Lose



Job Searching is emotional.

Angel Matos is led away by his coach after kicking the match referee

And, sometimes, things simply don’t turn out as you planned it. But, like most things in life, its not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens that matters. And, yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to handle job-search defeat.

… and there’s also a very wrong way.

I thought of this when I learned about Cuban Olympic Taekwondo competitor Angel Matos, who lost his match due to what he felt was an unfair disqualification… he took too long for a medical injury break.

Feeling that you were disqualified unfairly is one thing, but how he reacted to the disqualification is totally something else, and totally inappropriate:

    From AP: “Cuba’s Angel Matos deliberately kicked a referee square in the face after he was disqualified in a bronze-medal match, prompting the World Taekwondo Federation to recommend he be banned for life.”
Angel Valodia Matos (L) kicks Taekwondo Referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden after being disqualified from an olympic match

Angel Valodia Matos (L) kicks Taekwondo Referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden after being disqualified from an olympic match

    Matos was winning 3-2, with 1:02 left in the second round, when he fell to the mat after being hit by his opponent, Kazakhstan’s Arman Chilmanov. Matos was sitting there, awaiting medical attention, when he was disqualified for taking too much injury time. Fighters get one minute, and Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.

    Matos angrily questioned the call, pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden, who will require stitches in his lip. Matos spat on the floor and was escorted out. [Source: NBCOlympics.com]

Watching video of the altercation makes it clear Matos was warned of the timing, and apears to have been disqualified fairly.

In terms of job searching, there are countless reasons why a company may have disqualified you from landing the current position. Whatever they tell you may seem trite or even insulting… if they deliver the news at all.

But again, it’s how you react to the dissapointment that can make all the difference. Here’s some possible reactions that might not land you a job there, but will ensure you don’t get “banned for life” in terms of possible employment by that company, or the people who work there:

  1. Thank them graciously.
    Some thoughtful, but simple thank-you notes to those who interviewed you could go a long way to making sure you aren’t a sore loser. Keep it very simple:

      Mary,Thank you for considering me for your position. Sorry it didn’t work out this time, but I am glad you found the right match. Good luck with your endeavors and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you in the future.

      Take care,
      [Signature & contact information]

  2. Don’t go away mad, but please… go away.
    For some, thank-you notes might seem too out of character. No problem. But, emails or voicemails pleading or begging for another chance just adds insult to the situation–for you, and the company that turned you away.Just let it go. Really, it’s better that way.
  3. Don’t let grudges develop.
    If you see these people at events or other functions, be cheerful and cordial. Ask a polite question about the project you were being considered for, but BEWARE not to show off, or get overly exuberant with your former would-be employer that you end up making a fool of yourself (think: lampshade images from company christmas party-kind of foolishness).Be courteous and genuine, but be BRIEF. Wish them well, and be on your way.

What do you think? How have you handled losing a job opportunity better than Matos lost his gold-medal opportunity?

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