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Dealing with Failure

This story begins in the middle.


This is anecdotal advice on how I deal with failure.

  1. Don't put all your hope into one thing. If you decide this one thing is going to determine your happiness, you are doomed.
  2. Remember that we all fail. Reaching out to talk to people about it helped me get past it.

The E-mail

Yesterday, I got the e-mail. Ya know, the type of e-mail you've been waiting a week for. However, the contents were not what I wanted to hear.

Rejection email

Yes, I failed another coding exam. I nailed the first two interviews, only to bomb the coding exam.

I could spend this entire article talking about why I disagree with the hiring process for developers, however, that's not really the point of this. What I want to focus on is how to move past the failure. It doesn't have to be a coding exam, it could be something else. Dealer's choice.

So, how did I get over it?

Gaining New Focus

I can recall a few times in my life where I really failed. I mean, REALLY failed. Failed to the point of weeks-long depression. This easily could have been one of those times. It is so easy to be defeated. However, I like to think I've learned a little bit over my time here on Earth.

It is so easy to be defeated.

I had put a lot of hope into getting that job, however, It's not the only place I applied to. I've been shotgunning resumes to every tech company within a 20-mile radius of where I live + remote jobs.

While I am waiting for the next interview call (it will inevitably come), I am still working on other things. I have some freelance gigs I am finishing up. I also decided to get back into writing music as a way of not thinking about dev work. It also allows me an opportunity to design stuff, which I love.

Reach out

I am part of a slack group that is full of people trying to get by. I was talking to them about this, and they were supportive + empathetic. A few of them are devs and are well aware of the challenges of getting hired. All of them have experience failure. Often, I think just getting the words out, "I failed" is cathartic. If you accept it as a failure, you can move forward.

Learn From It

You might be wondering what I learned from the failed coding exam? Well, for one thing, I'm a little bit smarter about what to expect from a Hackerrank test. For another, I learned (by talking to people) that this is fairly common. Also, I now know that regex seems to be a pretty important topic (I've seen it another test before too), so I should probably buckle down and get good at it.

Finally, this really solidifies the idea that I need to forge my own path. I have been a freelance developer for about four years now. I have worked at companies large and small. I CAN deliver. I know that.

Bottom Line

Sometimes, things don't go according to plan.

Final Thoughts

I said in the beginning that this story started in the middle. It is true, getting the e-mail that I didn't make it to the next round is not the end. There are more jobs out there waiting to be applied to and more importantly, I have a lot more to contribute.

How do you deal with rejection or failure? I'd love to hear your story.


I made a video out of this article that expands a bit...check it out if you want to see me be uncomfortable lol


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Top comments (4)

jharteaga profile image
Jose Arteaga

I identified so much myself with your anecdote! Last year, I went through a hiring process as well and I nailed the first two interviews, but the last one with coding challenges like Hacker Rank, I failed! My mind was working all night thinking how would it be if I had done that well. I'm sure that those kinds of exercises don't define me. I'm not the best and the most expert but I really like to learn and give my best. Nevertheless, you know what, then I went to another job interview and they asked me some questions similar to the last interview, and I perfectly was able to answer them. Thus, to sum up, what I've learned and my advice of your situations and mine, are the following:

  1. Do not be afraid to go to interviews! Always you are going to win, the worst thing could happen is to stay as you are. Every interview will teach you something, if you didn't do it well in the first one, in the second one you will be better than the first one, and so on!

  2. If you failed in an interview, go to check those topics, study them, prepare yourself and go for it again and again! You will achieve it for sure!

I really thank you for sharing your experience and wish you the best buddy!


codenutt profile image

Hi Jose! I really think your first point is important. Interviews really are a learning experience. I've kept notes on the ones I've taken and always do research about the things I didn't know. Thanks for sharing!

aminnairi profile image
Amin • Edited

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us.

I think that everyone should be who they are. Trying to please an employer may get you the job you seek for but it won't get the job you are made for. Once I learned that, and that I finally let myself be who I was, I quickly found a company that suited me.

I think that what we call failure is in reality just the mandatory process in which we will all go through in order to find the perfect job (or at least, the one that matches most of our beliefs).

It takes courage and modesty to share your "failure" with us. I hope for the best in your ongoing researches.

codenutt profile image

Thank you for sharing Amin! I completely agree.