A bad thing happened to me last year. Even worse is how I managed it.
Many nights last summer were spent on Indeed.com, Craigslist.com, and other job sites looking for something new. Heck, I can go back even further than that, really.
I attended a job fair in March hoping to network within the sports industry. In August, I did land one interview somewhat involved in sports. Sadly, despite the interview process going quite well and taking up a large portion of my day, I didn’t get the gig or even a follow-up to tell me they had passed on me for someone more qualified/in a shorter skirt at the interview. Next time, I’m going mini.
This would’ve been a nice job to have because of its proximity. The downside is that it was mostly seasonal and included weekend and evening hours. If they had offered me the job, I’m not sure I would have taken it anyway. So, I let it slide quickly.
Not long after, I interviewed for another job that was also close to home. This one was more up my alley. Just so we’re clear, I know the difference between alley and anus.
This job interview actually involved something I love to do: write. I was dumbfounded that I actually had an opportunity to interview for a job where I could write for an hourly wage. All of the money I have made writing were based on page views or meeting quotas. This gig was different. It was real and a great chance to actually spend the misery of the working day doing something I love. Maybe, as my elementary guidance counselor suggested, I was in fact the boot the evil Roman Emperor Caligula was smashed to death with.
The interview went well, even though the Uber driver got lost (and cost me over $100) and I showed up almost 30 minutes late. This looked pretty bad since I lived fairly close. My lateness was due to the fact that I left from my current job right before rush hour and didn’t even have the correct address. The interviewer didn’t seem to care. In hindsight, it may have bothered him lots. I can tell myself this forever and use it as an excuse, but most likely it’s just that: an excuse.
I was asked a few questions at the interview and given an assignment. The task involving writing about my experience at the interview. It seemed simple enough.
I thought for sure I had nailed the writing project. The adjectives I used, the sentence structure I compiled, and the heartache I poured into those 400 or so words were wonderfully mashed together into a beautiful promotion for the company. How could they not hire me? I’m Timmy Bee!
Then, before the deadline to complete the task even arrived, I received an email thanking me for coming in. The thing you should know about applying for jobs is that you are only ever thanked when they’ve chosen someone else. When they do choose you, they let out a wicked laugh and drag you into the underworld.
Needless to say, I was heartbroken. I suppose I was overconfident. How could they not choose someone who lived so close, had such incredible manners, and actually had some sense? Surely, not many other people had even applied for the job in the first place. It’s not as if my town is full of aspiring writers, right?
Whatever the reasoning behind their decision, I felt quite lost afterward. It took me a few minutes after receiving the email to tell Jenny that I didn’t get the gig. Telling your spouse you’ve failed is never easy.
We spent the rest of the night together eating ice cream because it’s what we do best. While this doesn’t seem like the worst outcome, it’s how I proceeded with the next several months that is worth regretting.
Since this time, I haven’t been nearly as motivated to do my best at a lot of things. Notably, my diet has been horrific and I don’t take care of my body with exercise nearly as much. At times, I’ve also contemplated giving up writing all together. I’ve had regular thoughts telling me I can’t take this any further than I have now, so why bother?
Doubt in my abilities hadn’t really been present for a while. They do occasionally appear. For the longest time though, I thought for sure I was good enough. The sad thing is, being good enough is the lowest level of quality.
This was around mid-August when I received the news that I hadn’t landed a professional writing gig. Since then, I constantly need refreshers into what it is I want to spend my life doing.
I did change careers (twice now) and I’m able to at least come home with some energy. For the last few months, I came home exhausted from the long work day and commute. I’ve gotten rid of the latter, which has at least allowed me the chance to think a little more clearly and plan how I can get certain things in life back on track.
What I’ve taken away from this experience is how hard the fight is to actually spend your hours doing what you want. As pretentious as it may sound, creating is what I need to do. In one way or another, I need to tell a story in order to feed the creative bug in me. I’m not the greatest at it, but I feel like the amount of material I have is endless. Among reasons I would say make me stand out, it’s that one.
Prepared to start a new job, on-track with my diet again, and eager to make my 30s a productive decade, I hope this one bad thing can turn into a dog turd I forget I stepped on in my late 20s.
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