The job you miss might lead to the job you want

by Aug 30, 2021

“Everything happens for a reason”. Do you agree? I don’t think I do and here’s why.

It seems like a line that someone well-meaning would say to you when things don’t go the way you wanted. But when you’re going through it, when it’s happening to you, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

I remember when I applied for a job overseas. It seemed crazy and something I’d never considered before, but at that moment I really felt it was the adventure I needed. I travelled to Hong Kong for an interview and spent some time with my potential future team, who were all so lovely. It all felt like a sure thing; I could see myself living there and enjoying this brand-new world.

However, just a few weeks after landing back in Australia I received the news that it wasn’t going to happen. They had found someone else for the job, and without giving too many reasons, implied that “they were just a better fit.”

While it was hard news to take at the time, I used it as fuel to enact the change that I already felt like I needed. I made a snap choice, resigned from my job and moved cities with a view to explore what else might be out there, to go on an adventure on my terms.

There was no certainty, and little stability. I had just enough money to last a few weeks, and that was all. But at the last minute, I found a job.

It was that move that launched my career in entrepreneurship. This new opportunity with a non-profit allowed me to really step up and learn a whole new skillset. That job led to another, which led to another and all of a sudden I‘m looking back with years of experience.

So no, things don’t necessarily happen for a reason, but you can make the best of it when things don’t go your way.

Here are some thoughts I have about “making the best” of things:


1. Everyone can be entrepreneurial

To me, entrepreneurship means creating value where it didn’t exist before, and looking for opportunities that no one else is seeing. You might see an uncertain job market, skills that are not in demand, or even the economy moving in reverse.

Did you know that because of the 2008 global financial crisis, Airbnb was born? Founder Brian Chesky sold cereal boxes until 2009 when he was accepted into Y Combinator with an idea. Airbnb went public in 2020, as which time it was valued at $75 billion.


2. Anyone can “pivot”

Yeah, it’s a buzz word and we’re hearing it all the time. But pivoting isn’t just for startups.

If you’re looking for work in a sector that just isn’t hiring, ask yourself: what transferrable skills do you possess that could lead you to something more?

In 2010 I was in youth and community work when a new role in marketing caught my eye. Despite having no formal qualifications for the role, I communicated that empathy and a deep understanding of people was one of my key strengths, and they hired me. It was a huge shift in focus and gee did I learn on the job!

Anytime you feel stuck, I would encourage you to find people that think laterally, who can help you identify those transferable skills to potentially jump into a different career trajectory.


3. You do not need to be “special”, you just need to start

For me, it was later in my career, after having worked in startup environments, that I decided to take the jump and develop my own business idea. I didn’t wait for the right time, or a lost job. I went for it when it was risky and uncertain.

My initial idea was moderately successful and even made some money at first. My next idea hasn’t made a single cent. But the learnings, the networks, the community, and the support that I have found in pursuing entrepreneurship has been incredible.

Currently, I am working in a fulltime job that I absolutely love, where every day is motivating and inspiring. I also get to work part-time on a startup with two other amazing co-founders. But it wasn’t until I started to share my ideas with other people that any of this became possible.

There are countless problems in the world, whether it’s people who need help, the urgent problem of climate change, or the growing issues surrounding the pandemic, our recovery, and the return to normal life. It has never been a better time to find inspiration, pick a problem and see what you can contribute.

University is the perfect place to find that inspiration, and even find the people to work on your ideas with. Anyone can have an idea, and anyone can take that next step towards making it happen.


All September UTS Startups is hosting the UTS Startups Festival. Whether it’s finding an idea you want to work on, or launching your product to the world, the UTS Startups Festival is where it can happen. Head to and take your next step!


Featured image courtesy of Burst

David Lillo-Trynes

David Lillo-Trynes

Program Manager, Inspiration | UTS Startups

David is a UTS alumni, with a passion for communications, ethical and sustainable business models, and doing things differently. When he isn't hammering away at a keyboard here at UTS, Dave will be deep in a Netflix binge, walking the dog, or getting some salt water therapy.