There's a special type of disappointment that lies just after the loss of something you had dared to dream would come true.
After years of feeling as though I had literally wasted tens of thousands of dollars on my education, feeling as though I would never have a chance to find employment in my "field", feeling as though I have doomed myself to a lifetime of living paycheck to paycheck and never realizing my full potential, a job posting fell into my lap last week. I found it the day before the posting was about to expire and applied that afternoon.
Weeks later I received a phone call while at the tattoo shop from a woman who wanted to set up an interview. I couldn't believe it. This job literally would change my entire life. I went home that night and began studying. There was a three percent second language stipend on top of the insanely high wage they were offering, and so I went over my Spanish grammar and conversation skills. I revisited the Microsoft Office suite and even used online tutorials to re-learn the fine points of Excel.
I made this graph showing the difference in pay between what I make now and what I would be making once I aced the interview.
I don't know why I allowed myself to dream this hard about the position before the interview but I was just imagining how it would absolutely change my life to work 8:30-4:30 Monday through Friday and be able to save for retirement and get a car and pay off my loans all at once.
I don't know if any of you are poor but let me tell you a secret: I am. I don't blame anybody but myself, I am the stupid combination of low income and high opinion of myself. I am in a position right now where I love where I work immensely, and refuse to leave unless something better, both in terms of wage and ... I don't know how to say it but ... prestige? Maybe? comes along. I like to enjoy my life and I don't want to ever regret leaving the tattoo shop for something that maybe pays marginally better but sucks the enjoyment out of my very being.
This job I applied for was everything I wanted. I would be working in a college. I would be paid a lot. I would be helping people. I would be able to use my Spanish and learn about other cultures too. I would have quite a lot of autonomy in the position. I was qualified in every way they had specified.
Anyway so you get the point. This was a life changing thing. I studied all weekend and had my interview on Monday. It. Went. Awesome. I showed up fifteen minutes early, I was dressed in my business-casual-est clothes. I was confident. As per usual at the college it was a three-person panel interview but that didn't phase me. I had everybody laughing and we just had a good conversation. I had a good answer for everything they threw at me. At the end I said I had some questions for them as well and had them answer what a typical day in the life looked like, what does the best candidate look like, and more. At the end I left the room feeling awesome.
Yesterday I wrote a follow-up thank you e-mail, saying it was a pleasure meeting them and all that, you know, the standard "thanks again for your interest" thing. And a few hours after that I had a reply saying they really were happy to meet with me but unfortunately the position had been filled, and try again next time.
I was crushed. Like, c-r-u-s-h-e-d. I cried about it, full-on sobbing. I really had gotten my hopes up. I had imagined this life where I wasn't struggling every day and in one single e-mail I felt like I had lost it all.
What seems to happen a lot in the college (as I now have a lot of experience with not getting jobs there) is they have somebody internal in mind for the position but the union makes them interview others so it's fair. But then they just go ahead and give it to the lady who has been with the college for fifteen years who applied on a whim but doesn't even really care what the job is, you know? No matter who else applies, the internal people get first dibs.
Usually I can shrug it off, because I know I didn't have what it takes for the particular job, or I didn't really want it anyway. But this one? I do have everything it takes. I really wanted it. And it hurts. And I am very disappointed.
Later that evening Ryan's younger kid and I were walking the dog to the grocery store and I told him I didn't get the job. He knew I applied and that I had an interview. I try and keep things like this out in the open so things like job searches aren't complete mysteries by the time he reaches adulthood. Anyway I told him I was feeling pretty disappointed and you know what he said?
He said "Well. That sucks. But at least you aren't losing anything."
He's right. I didn't have any of those things I was imagining. Nothing is different than it was a week ago. I'm fine.
I'll be fine.
My life is good. And I'll be fine.