At the start I applied without ever hearing word. Months would go by and the same jobs would still be freshly posted to the boards. It felt as if we were all spinning wheels in an empty room. Ghost opportunities against a quarantined world.
On LinkedIn, among all the furloughed and newly wfh available, I felt grateful to make connection. To reach out to a total stranger and gain response felt like a breakthrough achievement. I was unaccustomed to it but pushed myself into that unknown. Zoom calls about job opportunities kept my hope afloat.
For months I applied. 15–20 jobs a week. Had meetings, made inroads. I’d get call backs and hiring manager interviews. Then weeks without word. I’d write thoughtful emails. I’d ask for feedback, for insight, for word. My spreadsheet grew. I’d take some amount of joy, by some record of achievement, in changing “Application Status” over to DENIED.
I’m in no rush. Quarantine life has given us that much. It’s all there whenever we want to speed right back through it.
It no longer felt like failure. Rejections like rights of passage. My skin grew thick. I began to trust in what I knew of myself to be true. Rejuvenated, I went back in for Round 2.
I’m qualified, experienced, deeply-analytical, driven by empathy and larger picture views. I’ve traveled, have fresh perspective. I’m passionate about the role. Each time I got back up the more aware I was. I’m genuine and caring, communicate well, know how to grow trust — at the core have the clients point of view.
Each time I felt defeated I refueled. I knew what I’d like to offer. How I’d like to help their clients grow. I knew what work meant to me. The importance of the type of environment an organization built. Are they truly collaborative or built on ego. I’m a problem solver. I thrive best when the moment is worse. I take joy in turning pain points into solutions, when character shows. At the core, I’m motivated by empathy, using language to help better our shared experiences on earth.
A headhunter tells me my resume is outstanding. I take her word. I’m prepared. I’ve put forth every ounce of effort I know. I’ve built meaningful relationships. I’ve found new friendships. I’ve applied to over 200 jobs, reached out to employees via LinkedIn, had meaningful conversations on LunchClub, gained trust and referral. In many ways I’ve succeeded. I’ve made an impact. I’ve been heard. But finding work is a job where success occurs only once.
The day I started writing this I’d had four rejections in the course of two hours. Each of those opportunities were roles I cared about, thought I’d interviewed well, in which I felt I could do great work. For a moment I’ve just been feeling gutted, deflated, numbed.
I’ve allowed myself that. I’ve allowed myself to take that breath and collect.
Not so much as a complaint but as an explanation. As some record of what this process has been like. What it feels like to be searching among my peers. Why I imagine we’ve all been feeling somewhere between boredom and devastated. What seemingly has become universal. Newly established roundtable norm.
And all that is to say, I’m still standing at ground zero, regrouping months in, after only just starting out. Rejection doesn’t need to feel like pain. It can also be a source of inspiration. Finding work can be a joyous experience, an opportunity to accomplish something new. And that’s how I feel about it too, every now and then, after seven months of search and same result.
I continue determined. Blind to the reasons why I haven’t been selected, grasping at my own semi-scientific results, championing the last resources of positivity. All while never daring to ask myself, am I resilient or is this sunken cost fallacy!