"Am I really good enough for my dream job?"

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A friend of mine wrote me the following question. My response follows, and I believe it applies to anyone thinking about going for their dream job, whatever it may be.

Now that I have those second rounds, specifically for McKinsey, the first thing it does it make me doubt myself. The whole question of — “Am I really good enough for Bain, McKinsey?” Which is weird; I never typically doubt myself (as cocky as that sounds).

Of course, I then ask myself, “are there really any data points to suggest that I wouldn’t be good enough?”

There’s only one that immediately comes to mind — that you have to be stunningly brilliant or exceptional to get it, and that I don’t feel like I’m there. Which is a combination of a hyperbole based on what I’ve heard & my mind making things up, likely.

When you read that back to yourself, does it make sense?

If I said that about myself, what would your response to me be?

  1. No. You just have to be really good.
  2. Honestly, you are stunningly brilliant and exceptional!

I see where you’re coming from. Logically, it doesn’t make sense. Emotionally and irrationally, it’s this weird mental stress that’s in the back of my mind.

And really, your logic is pointing you toward the truth. Here’s what you need to know:

They’re human too

Everyone at those firms are just people. It’s easy to put them on a pedestal – however, you’ve met Kyle. You’ve met big shots. You know best that they are people who like waffles and who have their own worries and doubts and competencies. It’s important to realize that – and to remember that you’re not meeting the Gods…you’re just meeting a potential employer who may or may not be a good fit for you.

It’s ultimately not yours to decide either way

Inevitably, the way that interviews work is:

  • You perform your best
  • They judge you based on that performance
  • They either extend or do not extend an offer

At no place can you will yourself to get an offer – it’s just not in your control. If you really aren’t meant to be there, then the process will decide that – there’s no reason to disqualify yourself before you get there.

Remember your motivation

Remember the reasons that you went into this for – the ability to develop a toolkit to analyze problems. To effect change. To make the incredible happen at a greater level than University clubs can provide. Remember that, if that purpose is still important to you, these steps are really you going through the process of working toward that.

It’s not some sort of great act of judgement at the pearly gates. It’s an opportunity – and you’re going on a second date. If you like the firm, and the firm likes you back, maybe you’ll start going out. If not, you’ll make a decision that’s ultimately right for you.

But, you’ll never know if she likes you back if you don’t go on that second date. And who knows, knowing you, you might be the type to stay friends regardless of the initial outcome!