So, in my post about Endings I said something about slogging your guts out to write a killer job application only for said killer job application to fly straight into the Reject pile. Which is exactly what happened to my first job application, for a job I REALLY wanted. You know, that perfect job that I wouldn’t have dared to dream was out there somewhere. Fortunately for you, I am writing this with the benefit of having regained my equilibrium, and indeed some perspective – had I written this post last week, it would have been filled with expletives and expressions of self-loathing.
I heard that I hadn’t been invited for an interview last week when I was in Amsterdam with friends. Rather typically, I didn’t actually tell anyone at the time – we were just chatting about stuff after dinner when I stupidly checked my phone and found the email, and I didn’t want to bring down the mood. Er, yes – I know I’m an absurd human sometimes. I also needed an appropriate amount of time to fully reflect on the extent to which the rejection meant I was generally a complete failure and may as well crawl into a hole and live on scraps thrown into the hole by kind strangers. After said appropriate amount of time had passed, I told my boyfriend and he had to put up with me being a moody cow for a whole day.
But, I entitled this post ‘Perspective’ for a reason. I’m not going to lie, it still stings and I am not exactly enjoying the realisation that it might take me many months to find a good job. If I ever find it. I don’t really know exactly why I thought that I might get the first job I applied for, anyway – other than it being a very attractive narrative to play in my head. Obviously there are many MANY people out there who also want a good job and who are much more experienced and qualified than I am. The thing is, the job I applied for was definitely within my capabilities, and I wrote a good application – but if they had a queue of people with loads more relevant experience, then no wonder they wanted to interview those people rather than me. The rejection email did say they liked my application and would like to stay in touch, and they invited me over for a cup of tea if I fancied it. It would have been worse, probably, if I’d done two rounds of interviews and then got rejected. I probably have that to look forward to before I actually find a job…
The thing is, I needed a reality check. I still have no regrets about giving up my previous job, but I did choose to make myself unemployed and I will have to deal with the consequences of that decision. In the short term, that means finding temp work and continuing the couple of freelance things I’m doing. Now, I’m not exactly excited by the prospect of peddling my CV around town in order to get some boring office work, and of course it’s how my previous career began so I’m having horror visions of Career Groundhog Day – but on the other hand, hopefully it will mean I can financially sustain myself while I look for the right job, and it is completely up to me to make sure it doesn’t turn into anything other than temping work.
And, I’m really a LONG way from panic stations. In a week where a cross-party inquiry concluded that a staggering four million people in the UK are at risk of hunger, I could do worse than to reflect on the extremely privileged life I lead, and have led. I’ve just come back from visiting my mum, and being spoilt rotten by her and her husband – they cooked us lovely food, poured us glass after glass of expensive wine and bought us tickets to see the local football team play. I have food in my fridge and have never been late paying my rent. Also, I have never been a penny in debt. I pay off my credit card every month. Basically, my whole existence is an embodiment of the ‘firstworldproblems’ hashtag.
And I’m not just lucky in a financial sense, either. Before I flew back to the UK on Monday I grabbed a quick cup of tea with a dear friend who has had the most heartbreakingly horrendous clusterfuck of a year this year. When she fell silent and asked me ‘Anyway, tell me how you are’, I could hardly spend the next 20 minutes complaining that I hadn’t landed the first job I applied for. So I didn’t. I put it in perspective.