I’m Being Replaced – Not Rehired

Last Updated on January 5, 2021

I have been waiting all summer (after being laid off at the end of April) for news about being rehired as an academic advisor with the college. Last week, 2.5 weeks after my position was finally reposted, I got the news.

I didn’t get the job.

I didn’t even get an interview.

I didn’t even have a chance.

Because of union rules and the category the job was created under, the college hired someone internally instead. (So why did they even open the position up to external candidates?) It doesn’t matter that I’m more qualified and would require no training to jump back into the role. Whoever it is that will be replacing me is already a college employee, they meet the minimum qualifications needed, and they have the union on their side – therefore they get the job. I was laid off and am no longer considered a college employee, I exceed the minimum qualifications needed, but I don’t have the union on my side – therefore I get nothing.

I was devastated when I received the automated email telling me the competition had closed. At first, I didn’t want to believe it. I convinced myself that the email simply meant that that the recruitment portion had closed and that I’d be getting a call to book an interview any day now. But I knew deep down that wasn’t true. I reluctantly emailed the HR department asking for clarification, and was told that they had hired internally.

Needless to say, I’m extremely frustrated…

From the beginning, I was led to believe that this was my foot in the door – that I was “in”. I was told that “everyone staysby an HR rep my first week on the job. Other staff members reinforced this, telling me not to worry about “only being on a contract” as most people started off in that same situation and have been there for years.

… but I’m also not all that surprised.

From the beginning, I was misled about the level of job security. In September I was told that my contract renewal was dependent on a grant, but that we should hear by January. In January we were told we’d hear by February. In February we were told we might not hear until July. In March, my supervisor stopped using the phrase “contract renewal” and reluctantly told us that we’d have to reapply for our jobs and hope that no one more qualified or with more seniority applies. In April I was laid off. Finally, in August, my position was reposted. But in September, some one with more seniority did apply and was hired over me.

I was so confident that I’d get my old job back I wasn’t really phased at all over being laid off. I foolishly kept all of my files and continued to casually identify myself as an academic advisor with the college. I left the building in April fully expecting to return in the fall.

There were circumstantial things about the job that I didn’t like, but I loved working with the students and teachers. After going through the cycle once, I had a million new ideas and was willing to take on a lot more responsibility. I was so focused on what I was going to differently this time that I feel completely blindsided that I’m being replaced and not rehired. It finally hit me that I’m not just off for the summer, or waiting for my contract to be renewed. I am – in fact – unemployed.

I can still collect E.I. until the beginning of November (thanks to the screw-up/delay at the beginning of the summer!) which leaves me with a bit of time to figure things out, but I’m at a bit of a loss as to where to go from here.

My career opportunities are very few and far between in this small city. I have been checking multiple online job boards several times a day all summer and have only been interested in, qualified for, and applied to 3 jobs: this one, another one at the college (that they also hired internally for), and another academic advisor role at the University – which is sort of my last hope at the moment.

(I sent a follow-up email the university last week after being rejected from the college and was told that they have yet to conduct interviews due to “unforeseen circumstances”. While I’m grateful that the position is still available and that I still have a chance, I am concerned as to what these unforeseen circumstances are…?)

I’m extremely grateful for R and that our upcoming nuptials means that I’m not doing this alone. If I were, I would be facing a pretty desperate and terrifying situation.

He finally started his great new job 3 days ago and is able to support us both – so even in the absolute worst case scenario, I don’t have to worry about becoming homeless or starving.

But with said nuptials, a dream getting out of this rental hell and into our own home by next summer, and my massive student loan debt, a second income would do wonders for us. His new job does, however, take some of the pressure off. I can “settle” for a job that pays less and/or has less hours without ruining our finances. But I really hope it doesn’t come to that. I am at my best when I’m busy. Being at home all summer, not working has not been good for me mentally or emotionally. (And there’s a very good chance that we’ll be starting a family within the next couple of years, so if I want to go on maternity leave, I’m going to need a job to leave!)

Regardless of the buffer that E.I. provides, or knowing that will R will support me for better, for worse, for richer, or for poorer, I’m feeling pretty anxious about my future. I thought that I had already overcome any hurdles I was going to face when I changed my career path last summer (from working in the arts/theatre to working in academic support). But it looks like there are more hurdles to come.


Have you ever been turned down from something you thought was a “sure thing”? How did you cope? 


* Photo Credit: “22” by Cofrin Library, used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

Amanda Kay

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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10 thoughts on “I’m Being Replaced – Not Rehired”

  1. I am SO sorry to hear this. That is so frustrating how they strung you along thinking your position was secure! But thank goodness you have your fiance’s income that will get you through until something comes along. Crossing my fingers for you that it’s soon!

  2. I really hope you hear from the other university! I know I might sound a little ignorant saying this, but unions can be such a pain to deal with sometimes. My old job was unionized, and there was so much red tape regarding some policies it seemed slightly ridiculous. That, and even though one of our employees had committed a crime, they couldn’t fire him right away because he was in the union. I was boggled by that. It really sucks when it works against you.

    I’m glad R is making enough to support you both. I’m in the same situation, where we’re living off of my boyfriend’s income and my savings (and what I’m making from freelancing), but it’s still not ideal. Did you try making income online? Ever since I started this, I’ve realized there are way more opportunities out there than I originally thought. Regardless, it’s nice to know you can “settle” for a less stressful/lower-paying job and still be okay financially. I’m very grateful for that, too, but I’m hoping something comes your way!

  3. so sorry to hear that you didn’t get the position. Union jobs can be really difficult to get into (even when you’ve been doing the job previously, unfortunately I have a good friend who went through a similar situation). When I finished grad school I couldn’t find a job for about 6 months. At first it was nice to relax and not have to worry about anything, but after a while it was really frustrating and demoralizing. Hang in there!

  4. My heart goes out to you for not getting the position. I’ve been there before and then when I found out I wasn’t getting the position, a whole mixture of anger, frustration, depression and confusion filled my mind. Mind you, I am still employed, so I know I should count my blessings, but still, it’s heartbreaking when you want something so bad and you don’t end up getting it. 🙁

    I also read your most recent Tales from a Tenant post. Hang in there!! Or at least try to.

  5. I second what Erin said about the unions! For better or worse, and sometimes it’s worse…

    I’m really sorry you didn’t get the job, and I actually know almost exactly how you feel. Last week, I was told the promotion I was a ‘shoe in’ for… was given to someone else. Which was like, then why waste my time & get my hopes up if you weren’t going to hire me?

    Also, I HATE grant jobs! I know that’s sometimes all there is, but at least here in the US, grant jobs are so tenuous, and people are frequently laid off because the grant runs out and the government has dragged its feet on the renewal process. My mom had a series of grant jobs, and she constantly was laid off after the year was over. Very financially scary situation. I’m crossing my fingers you find something soon!

  6. I’m so sorry to hear that you were misled : ( It *almost* sounds like you have a legal case against your former employer, but it probably is just shy of them being liable. It’s great that R has a new job and can support both of you. I’m confident the right job will come along. I have been turned down a number of times for things I thought were sure things. Always feels terrible and the sting stays for quite some time.

  7. Sorry to hear that, Amanda, and I can understand your disappointment. You can put your eggs in a bunch of different baskets and then hopefully more chance of something better coming along. Sometimes these things work out for the best though we can’t see it when were in the thick of things.

  8. Yes. I’ve been rejected quite a number of times from a “sure thing”, which is why I don’t trust anyone any more until I see something in writing, and money in my bank account.

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Thank goodness you have R and a wedding to plan to take your mind off things…. but look on the bright side, based on your experience, you don’t want to work there ANYWAY, then, if they don’t know how to treat people correctly.

    Makes me wonder if they laid you off in April just so they could lay the groundwork to give your job to someone else later on without explicitly doing so.


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