“C'est la vie, mon ami” is a French expression that means, “That’s life, my friend.”
It’s something I keep telling myself when things don’t go my way.
When I lose control.
A couple of months ago, I got a call to come in to interview for a mid-level position at a well-established film production company. They produced high-tech, futuristic looking commercials and music videos for world-renowned clients. Before NBC, I could hardly lock an interview, so I was stoked they would even consider me.
The first interview was with their office manager at a swanky, modern office space in West Hollywood. We also Skyped in one of their project managers from New York to sit in on the interview. They both asked a variety of questions and they both seemed to be impressed with my expansive resume and experience. I even cracked a couple of clever jokes.
The second interview was with one of their two in-house Executive Producers. He was a lot more reserved, but still very friendly nevertheless. He seemed intrigued by my documentary miniseries that I’ve been producing for the last year. He was also blown away by my cultural competency and knowledge.
By the third interview, I already felt like I got this in the bag. Who would call someone to come in three different times for one position? Something felt off the third time around though. This interview was with the second EP. He seemed disinterested in the way he yawned multiple times and he didn’t even look at my resume. He asked me what movies I’ve been watching and what basketball team I rooted for, but nothing related to my professional experience or what sort of expertise I could offer to the company. It lasted for a total of ten minutes.
I’ve been replaying those three separate interviews over and over again for a while now.
What did I do wrong?
Why would they waste my time yanking me around like that?
The worst part of it all (the real kick in the sack) was that they didn’t even bother to call me back. I left a follow-up email and voicemail just to check in to see if they were even alive. But…
Nothing. Nada. Radio silence.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt. Insulted. Angered. Was it too much to ask for a little common courtesy and professionalism these days?
As sky high as my confidence has ever been, I do get down on myself from time to time wondering why I’m not where I want to be, where I should be, or at a level where my other friends and colleagues are currently thriving at.
But that is life.
If we keep dwelling on the things we can’t control, we lose sight of all the progress we've worked so hard to make in the first place.
In elementary school, one of my favorite after school programs was a little animated series called, “Recess.” In the show, there’s a character by the name of “T.J. Detweiler.” T.J. is a kid who thrives on being well-liked. In one of my favorite episodes aptly titled, “Nobody Likes T.J.”, T.J. finds out that there’s this one kid (out of hundreds of kids at his school, mind you) who doesn’t like him; he goes to great lengths just to prove his likability. It was straight up neurotic and desperate. He never stopped to ask himself why he wants to be liked just to be liked. In the end, he came to the conclusion that this kid will never like him, and that’s okay.
The moral of the story is we cannot constantly vie for the attention and affection of others. It will literally drive us insane. If one person out of a hundred people doesn’t like me, I’ll just take the ninety-nine others and count my blessings.
The same goes for my career. I may have lost out on the job, but I refuse to lose myself in the process. I can’t control what others may think of me or even make others like me, but the one thing I can control is my mentality to keep getting better. If this interview didn’t work out this time, then fine. I’ll improve my interpersonal communication, go work on more projects, and continue to build my portfolio, because that’s not only all that I can do, but it’s what I should do.
“If you do not believe in yourself, no one will do it for you.” Kobe Bryant said this. Unfortunately.
C'est la vie, mon ami.