Last week, I was rejected from a job that I really, really wanted. And while I didn’t necessarily think that I had it in the bag, I thought that my interview had gone well and that I had a more than decent shot at being hired. Lots of positions you apply for on the job hunt just never even bother looking at your application, let alone reaching out to you. My personal favorite are jobs that write back to you a month after you applied to inform you that they’ve “moved forward with other candidates.” Like, ya don’t say. But this was different. I had a screening. And then a pretty intense test with no preparation on an unfamiliar platform. And then an interview. It was the first time I had genuinely gotten excited about a job prospect in the long, grueling month and a half of unemployment. It was the first place that I could really see myself. It was the first time I’d felt less depressed about the idea of staying in Boston for another year or two. With each new level of vetting, I felt closer and closer to the end of one of the lowest points of my life.
I don’t know what’s emotionally exhausted me more; my last job or looking for my next one. Every day, the job hunt feels more and more like signing up for a dating app. The job hunt and the bae hunt actually have a lot in common when they aren’t going well. You put yourself out there, and swipe and swipe and swipe, and wait. Except in this version, days and weeks go by, and you still don’t have matches.
And then finally, a really hot guy named something like Justin or Trent with really nice teeth matches with you, and he messages you right away. And to your disbelief, he’s having a normal conversation that in no way involves a request for nudes or a description of his genitals. You continue talking and even go on a date with him – and a real date during the day, not meeting him at a bar where he’s hoping to get you liquored up and slutty.
As nervous as you are, it goes really well. And you don’t think you’re getting married or anything, but you’re still excited about this guy that knows the difference between salmon and “Nantucket Red” without being a total douchebag. He even texts you almost immediately after the fact telling you how pretty you looked and how much fun he had, putting any doubt to rest that you nailed it.
But then, without explanation, he stops texting you out of the blue. And you have no idea why, the same way you really have no idea you were passed up for a job. And obviously, you’re not going to ask why, because that’s desperate and unprofessional. But you’re playing everything over and over in your head trying to figure out where you went wrong. Did he get back with his ex? Is he actually gay? Did he only go out with you as an act of charity or a lost bet?
You feel disappointed, discarded and defeated. And that’s understandable. But the same way you’ll forget about Trent, you’ll forget about the job that you thought you needed. Last year while I was still in school, I wasn’t called back after my interview at Vineyard Vines. And at the time it seemed like the end of the world, but a few months later I started a full time job in media that I fell head over heels in love with.
It’s hard to keep things in perspective when all you want is a job and you have nothing but time on your hands to think about what a loser you are. But for every rejection there’s always a better boy, and more importantly always a better opportunity. Stay positive.