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.