Why Facebook rejecting me was such a great experience?

Rejection is never easy. It can be painful, heartbreaking, terrifying but it can also be totally awesome!

In the end of 2020 I quit my job with the single goal of getting a job at Facebook in 2021. While it might sound crazy — Knowing myself I knew I need to be kicked out of my comfort zone to achieve great things, and getting a job at Facebook, well, is as great as it can get.

So after working for the company for over 6 years, I give notice. Not a day goes by and I get an email inviting me to an event organized by the non profit I volunteer for, the event is organized in collaboration with Facebook to recruit for their SWE internship — I’m having a hard time believing my eyes! This is exactly what I need.

A few weeks go by, I attend this event, I attend another and finally I secure my first interview at Facebook. Granted, it’s not for the position I was hoping for (that position ended up filling early), but a great opportunity non the less.

I spend the next few weeks living for this interview, I dedicate 9 hours a day to a meticulously crafted schedule — covering all the knowledge and skills I need to pass my first real coding interview at a leading company. I make sure to eat well, sleep well, walk, get some sun, meditate — I’m prepping for the god damn Olympics, or at least that’s how it feels.

The day of the interview I’m shacking, I was never good at taking tests and anxiety often takes over me, preventing me from performing at my best. But it all seems to go well, the questions are fair, the interviewer is nice and I feel like things are going my way. Not long after the interview I get the call from my recruiter — I passed! I passed! I Passed!

But this was just the first step in this process, in order to get the job I need to pass a second interview — this time dealing with a subject I know very little about. My interview is set to a few weeks later.

I take a few days to relax, celebrate the new year and plan the next phase of my interview prep. Learning from the first time, I implement a similar approach, plan all the material I need to cover, consult with subject matter experts and devise a strategy.

With 4 weeks to prepare I sit down to study. Few hours into my first day of prep I get a call from the recruiter — they are running out of positions, if I want a chance at getting this job I should interview next week, she advices. Completely panicked, I realize I have just 5 days to learn an entire subject I know nearly nothing about.

I struggle with feelings of despair, frustration and anger — there’s no chance I can do it in 5 days. I know this, there’s absolutely no chance. But it does not mean I’m not gonna give it my best try! I shake off the negativity, pick myself up, cancel all my plans for the next 5 days and start a race against the clock.

I barely sleep, barely eat, barely talk to anyone. I study, I study harder then ever before and I feel like I’m actually managing to cover and maintain a lot of knowledge in just a few days. My mind is on fire, my eyes are racing over the lines, my fingers are settings the keyboard on fire and I feel amazing. I feel smarter than ever before, stronger and more capable.

The day of the interview comes, and I know, I know I did my absolute best. I know my chances of passing the interview are slim, but I know I did amazing, they can’t take it away. And I do not pass. But I’m so proud and so happy.

While getting the job would have been a dream come true, it was a very big goal and I entered the process knowing that achieving it will take time, patience and a lot of hard work. I learned a lot about myself during this process, about my abilities and my skills.

Although rejected, I feel smarter and more capable than I ever did before, I feel accomplished and proud, even if the goal was not yet achieved. These passed two months were among the hardest I had, but were also very rewarding.

So while I did not yet achieve my goal, 2021 has just started, and while I don’t know what comes next I know that if I implement the techniques I used for this process, work as hard and maintain the mindset I created — It’s going to incredible.

So many times I told my self I’m not ready to pursue my dreams, but I see now that only by pursuing them I’ll ever be ready.