Easy part first: there’s one opportunity I really, really wanted and didn’t get - but it was outside of gaming. I got down to the final rounds of being Editor of Total Film magazine in the UK, in something like 1996. My life would have changed quite a bit if I had gotten that job!
As for dealing with adversity, you talked about rejection and about changing jobs.
Taking rejection first. Rejection is an unfortunate and often frequent part of life for anyone who’s looking to break into a creative industry of any kind, whether it’s games or movies or TV or comics or whatever. There are never enough jobs to go around.
Everyone deals with rejection differently. The first thing is, you have to accept it’s going to happen. It’s going to hurt every time. But then you’ll apply somewhere else and go through the process again.
If you can’t do that, then you’ll never break in. The world is full of people who try things, fail, and never try again. If you try, fail, try, fail and try a few more times you’re already ahead of them and more likely (just by the law of averages!) to succeed.
In other words, the difference between success and failure is usually hard work. Luck is a factor, but not as big as you might think.
Apart from realizing that you just have to keep plugging away, one thing I would say is, it’s vitally important to learn from your rejections. While sometimes you can be rejected by a company that just doesn’t ‘get’ why they should hire you, often they have really good reasons. Here’s the tricky part: they often won’t tell you what those reasons are (and they have very good legal reasons to not do so, so don’t ask!). So, you have to figure out your failings by yourself. You might fail at the application stage (get relevant experience, write a great cover letter), you might fail at the interview (practice, practice - but know you won’t always ‘connect’ with people), you might fail at a job-related test. There’s also the very real and frequent possibility that you just weren’t the right person for the job. When that happens guess what? Apply again elsewhere. Sometime, the wheel will spin right for you.
Changing jobs isn’t that hard, if you’re the one who decided to change. Moving from one position to another is generally a step up and forward, so I don’t see that as adverse. Changing jobs because you were laid off is very tough. That’s really the ultimate rejection. Really though, in the end, you do the same thing as you do when first applying.
Moving? That’s tough too, believe me. Ultimately in my opinion you’ve got to remember that home is where the heart is. Good friends go with you no matter where you move to. And that there are interesting people and fascinating opportunities everywhere you go in life.