Q: I recently interviewed and received an offer from a school district. I was then called back and the offer was rescinded because the interviewer...

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Q: I recently interviewed and received an offer from a school district.

I was then called back and the offer was rescinded because the interviewer had asked one “illegal” question during all the interviews. The job was posted again; I interviewed again and didn’t get the position. I think this is baloney. What do you think?

A: I think “baloney” experiences are common and frustrating moments in life and work. I think the way we respond when “baloney” occurs makes all the difference in our success at work and contentment in general.

I don’t blame you for being extremely mad about what happened, but I would avoid calling the school district and demanding fairness. In this country, we seem to be uniquely prone to feeling entitled to fair treatment. In work and life, we actually are not entitled to fair treatment. It’s preferable and it’s nice — but it’s not always available.

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If you throw a tantrum demanding fairness, you’ll just alienate the people you’d like to work for.

The school district clearly thought you were a highly capable and qualified candidate to offer you a job in the first place.

If you handle yourself maturely, you’ll probably have another job offer shortly. Call your contact at the school district and express your disappointment that you won’t have the opportunity to work for them in this position.

Express that you know they considered you highly qualified when they made the job offer, and that surely no one intended for an “illegal” question to sabotage a good potential employee. Ask for advice on similar positions and continue to apply. Clients tell me this approach has never failed to impress potential employers. Pitching a fit is tempting but won’t bring this job back.

Give yourself the best chance of being offered another job by displaying the last things an organization would expect from a disgruntled applicant: generosity and tenacity.

The last word(s)

Q: I made a mistake with a customer but have good reasons for my error. Should I start my apology by explaining what happened?

A: No, the best apology you can offer is to make it clear you won’t repeat the blunder. People are more interested in your future behavior than long explanations of error.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube