Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Just because I don't weep and wail

Have you ever wanted something so much that you actually started to convince yourself it was true?

The reason I’ve been a little quiet lately is that as well as things being incredibly busy at work (it happens once in a blue moon before I’m left twiddling my thumbs and wondering what it is exactly I get paid for) I was preparing for an interview.

I wanted this job with every fibre and bone and inch of tissue and globule of blood in my body. Jobs in the kind of thing I want to do do not come around very often. In fact they just don’t come round at all. Especially in Hull. This job was related to what I do now, was a real step forward for me and I knew, I knew I could do it.

I have felt like I’ve been stagnating for a long time in my current role. I’m blocked from developing further by my boss (albeit inadvertently, he’s just not good at managing people) and by my line manager (who just has no idea what I’m capable of and seems determined to prevent me from doing my actual job) and it’s just irritating. I’m capable of more. I can feel my brain atrophying by the second the longer I stay in this position.

I applied for the job and threw myself into the application form – I spent a lot of time drafting and re-drafting my personal statement, determined to get it right. And I, along with 75 other people, applied for the job.

I didn’t hear anything for weeks and had resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn’t going to happen for me when I suddenly got an e-mail in my inbox – I was invited to interview.

My elation knew no bounds. I thought that I could really stand a chance at this. I prepared and I prepared and I prepared for the interview (this wasn’t just a bog standard interview – it involved a presentation, formal interview, interview with young people and a written test. Yes really.) because I really wanted to make sure that I got it right.

Whilst I was prepared I allowed myself to dream. I thought how great it would be to be hitting the heady heights of £20k a year instead of the pathetically awful-considering-I-have-a-Masters-degree £16k I’m currently on. I thought how great it would be to finally have some kind of idea of a career and develop that notion, instead of doing something that I’ve fallen into. In short I got carried away.

This wasn’t helped by the fact that my boss knew I was applying for the job (we’re both unhappy with things and both looking to escape, not least because our positions are only funded until June 2011) and kept talking about it as if I’d already got it, so certain was he that I would. I allowed myself to get swept away with it all and dare to dream.

I’m not an optimist at all – on a good day I’m a realist, on a bad day the worst pessimist you’ve ever met – but I don’t really apologise for it. It allows me to keep a level head and to not get disappointed very often, but for some reason all level-headedness disappeared and my brain went into full blown optimist mode.

I could do this job. I was qualified for this job. I could get this job.

Except that I didn’t get the job.

I crashed and burned severely over the weekend. And I mean severely. I don’t actually remember the last time I felt that hopeless. And that was the word – hopeless. I don’t deal well with losing at the best of times but the complete and utter sense of failure I felt was enormous and nearly crushed me, and is still leaning on me heavily.

I asked for feedback and I got it. It was between me and one other person. They didn’t doubt I could do the job for a second, but this person just scored slightly higher than me on the interview matrix and they have to do what the matrix tells them i.e. not hire me. They couldn’t really give me feedback because they said it wasn’t anything I’d done wrong and that it was such a close call that it came down to really tiny, almost insignificant things. They said that I need to try and take a lead on more projects in my current role – I explained that that was the problem I was in – I won’t get the chance to take the lead on projects in this role, that’s why I want to leave. But guess what? I can’t get jobs without demonstrating that I’ve taken the lead. Hello Catch-22.

They told me I shouldn’t be disheartened. That I should be pleased. Out of 76 people it came down to me and one other person, that’s a great achievement. I know that and I understand that’s good but this isn’t really the situation where 2nd place counts for something.

Trouble with me is I’m not that much of a weeper and wailer. I retreat into my shell and try to solve the problem myself. Whilst that tactic has its benefits, it has a tendency to mean that people just don’t see how hard I take some things. I think they think I’m armour-plated, “Oh she seems fine, she’s put things behind her and is getting on” but really I’m a wuss who takes things to heart. Really takes things to heart. I still beat myself up about things I did a long, long, long time ago and there’s no need to at all, everyone survived and got on with life, but I don’t like to not be good at things – I don’t like to think that I’ve failed at being a good girlfriend, a good friend or a good potential employee.

I know I’ll be fine, I might not be armour-plated but I am fairly resilient. I will feel good that I came in 2nd and I will carry on looking for other things. I will tell myself over and over that I’m not a failure because I know I’m not really. The level head will return. But, for now, I will continue to limp a little bit, lick my wounds and perhaps give out the odd wimper.

I didn’t really want to post about this, who wants to tell the whole internet that they suck at life, but I’m almost certain that it’s “creatively” blocking me at the moment and I’ve found it near on impossible to write about anything else.

Goodbye negative energy, goodbyyyyyyeeeeee.


  1. Oh no,I can imagine how disappointed you are. All you can think now is "It mustn't have been meant to be". I wholeheartedly believe in that nonsense lol... You did a really good job coming 2nd, but it was only a practice run for the interview you're going to come 1st in next time. You will do it - just hold on there!! Give one of the cats a wee cuddle, purrs always help me :)

  2. I'm very sorry to hear that you were pipped to the post. Having been unemployed for 9 months and been in the same situation a few times now, I know how rubbish it makes you feel. The feeling will pass and you will find something even better. I know it probably dosen't feel like that at the moment but it is true, unfortunately it just takes some time and patience. Give the cats a cuddle and they'll cheer you up. :)

  3. Lordy, that's crap. I know how you feel - it's happened to me too. Keep looking and don't let this be more that a temporary disheartenment (is that a word?). Dare I mention it, but what about looking further afield? Or (less controversial) can you gain some sort of professional qualification which would help?

  4. Oh poor you, I feel so sorry for you, like not in a she's so sad kind of way, but rather as in you tried so hard and then were given such a rubbish excuse as to why you didn't get the job. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with that, it' so hurtful, doesn't really help you, and like you say, coming second doesn't really matter. I've tried applying for some jobs in the last year or so, admittedly in industries completely different to what i do, but I never heard back from any. It's a little hurtful, but then, what can you do about it?! I just hope that writting about it here will help you get over it - you do have over 6months till your contract runs out so not all is lost! x

  5. Oh I really feel for you, I've been in this situation so many times! At least the feedback wasn't "Oh we decided to give the job to someone who's been temping in that position for the last 5 years (which was a foregone conclusion really and all the hard work you put into the application and interview was only because we have to interview more than one person by law)".

    I agree with the others, have a kitty cuddle and stay on the lookout for the next (better!) opportunity xxx

  6. The job application process is so heart-breakingly despair-inducing. I can't bear it. Which is probably why I am still in my job 8 years on.

    When MrMooncalf was going through the job hunt process we devised a much-improved system where companies were obliged to pay unsuccessful interview candidates £100 to treat themselves with. So if you've gone to the effort of doing an application and jumping through all the hoops of an interview then at least you get some kind of reward.

    As far as I know this has not yet been widely adopted.

    Best of luck for your next application - now you've got that other pesky person employed you'll be at the top of the list!

    And ((hugs))

  7. What a disappointment. You put so much time and effort into it - I'm so sorry that things didn't turn out as you would have liked.
    I'm sure your perfect job for you will be just around the corner :0)

    Jill x

  8. Oh buggeration. That must be a right kick in the teeth but without being all irritatingly Pollyanna-ish, try and look on the bright side. 75 people applied and you were the second choice by an absolute whisker. How good does that make you? BLOODY BRILLIANT.

    Re the project management thing, if you don't have the scope in your current role to do it, can you look at utilising project management skills elsewhere in your life? Volunteering perhaps? When it comes to interviewing people, I generally don't mind where they've got their experience from, as long as they've got it!

  9. I have been there I was applying for a job and I had way more hands on experiance but because he had no experiance but a higher degree he got it. I was crushed because the manager I had was a real pig!

    You know what 2 months later I got a job better than that one and for more money and they were thrilled to have me, I was so excited then 3 months later I met my husband got married had a baby all in a year and quit my fabulous job!

    You never know whats right around your next corner!

    When your in a job where theres no oppurtunity to really show them what you can offer it feels pointless!

    Keep looking up someday you may be there boss!

  10. You do not suck at life and you are not a failure! If they couldn't see how fabulous you are it is their loss, big time.
    I knew someone who always saw 2nd place as 1st of the losers, but 2nd out of 75 is brilliant, even if it doesn't feel like it yet. You have a good wallow, you deserve it after all that effort and preparation only to be thwarted. I believe in fate and hopefully there is an even better job waiting for you out there.

  11. Bugger! But you really did so well! Can't you do something else where you get chance to take the lead? I once worked with a girl who was into "Amateur Dramatics" purely so that she could get to organise and lead a group of people for the sake of her career - dont give up, there is always a way. xxxxx

  12. in you and I...are so much alike it's scary. I was reading you and thinking 'that's me!!'. And as for 'I still beat myself up about things I did a long, long, long time ago' I do that to myself all the time. And I often wonder why I do that when so many others can move on and forget silly little stuff like that. And I am also you said, it keeps you grounded and in the reality, realistic part of life. I get really depressed when I 'fail' - for whatever reason or situation is presented. And it's not because I didn't try either.

    Soooooooo....I know it won't make you feel better but you have company....

  13. Cathartic blogging FTW!

    Better luck for the next one. I just wrote lick there instead. Don't lick for the next one, unless it's a stamp to send off the application. Licking anything else for a job rarely gets you anywhere good...

  14. I have to agree with what everyone has been saying. It may have looked like the perfect job and that another great opportunity will never present itself - but it will. Now you have taken the first step and done so well the next interview won't be such a big deal.

    Do everything you can to take a lead on projects. Surely there is something you can work towards improving where you are now? See where you can make a difference and go for it - don't ever wait for something to turn up.

    Good luck and don't feel disheartened. It will come good in the end.

  15. Oh dear...that is shit...I know the feeling...I've been there plenty of times. Job hunting is soul destroying at the best of times. You just need to believe in yourself and also remember that if things are not meant to be...they just are not... but lessons can be learnt and maybe something better or bigger is on the horizon for you... you don't just don't know - it is like that Steve Jobs speech (see my blog) about not trying to connect the dots...
    Anyway...I'm really sorry about this... :( And I'm quite aghast at your salary...maybe you should move to London? The underground suxs but they pay more...usually... xxx

  16. I'm so sorry, and know exactly how you feel. My ideal job came up in August, the interview seemed to go almost laughably well, and things they'd said in the interview implied that I was who they wanted. Stupidly, I let myself believe it (for the first time ever I was actually optimistic!) and was crushed the next day when they told me that they couldn't fault any of my answers but that someone else scored a point higher on their stupid system. Even though I was unemployed I couldn't apply for anything else for weeks because I was convinced there'd never be anything else better, and I couldn't stop beating myself up for allowing myself to believe I'd get the job! So let yourself wallow for a bit (hopefully by the time you read this you'll be feeling better.. err, actually, hope my commenting after a few weeks doesn't open up old wounds, too - sorry!) and then get back on the hunt for the next opportunity, and I bet in the next one you won't be disappointed :)


Go on. Say something. You know you want to...