Just Let it Go

Two weeks ago, I applied for a job that felt like it was made for me. Last week, I interviewed for that job and learned more about it, and became even more confident in my ability to do the job and in the job to be a good professional fit for me. I chatted with HR for 45 minutes, connected on professional and personal levels, and walked away excited about the possibility.

Last week they asked me to proceed with the next steps. I carefully wrote my story pitches and sent them in days early. I modeled my story concepts after the site's existing content but made sure to be original, creative, and authentic.

This week, I learned that I didn't get the job, and that was the end of that.

But it of course wasn't just the end of that. It was the end of my daydreaming about how I could finally get rid of some work with some clients who barely pay me enough to make ends meet, yet keep me stressed and feeling disrespected and jumping through hoops that are always changing shape. It was the end of my daydreaming about finally replacing my broken phone, buying new dishes, taking a real vacation that I can help fund. It was the end of my daydreaming about putting some money back into my savings after it has stagnated and then dwindled over the last year. It was the end of a week or so where I could actually let myself feel optimistic that the rest of this year would be a big improvement over the first half.

The first thing my guy asked me was if I made it a habit to ask people why I'm being passed over for jobs, and I explained that this is the first time (that I can recall) in nearly a year I'd even been extended the courtesy of being TOLD I didn't get a job. I've sent out my resume and inquired about positions hundreds of times in the last 18 months, and the most common response is radio silence.

I don't know what the answer is. I'm attractive enough a candidate to get promising interviews in the first place every now and then. I'm qualified enough to continue being approached for freelance work. But the one thing I am absolutely aching for—the stability and comfort of a good job—is the one thing alluding me, and after more than a year of searching for a job that won't force me to move back home (remember the 40% pay cut I almost took last year?) but also won't send me into such a severe depression that I become unrecognizable to myself (remember the job that I left for that 40% pay cut because I was so desperate to escape?), I don't know what to do anymore.

There is a real fear that comes with being financially independent (well, fingers crossed I still can be...), knowing your lease renewal is coming up and your new landlord will likely jack up your rent up to 20%, and trying to not give up the few things you've found in your life that make you deliriously happy enough to forget about the many months and years you've spent mourning your professional dreams and emotional stability. This fear has been creeping up on me for the last year and I'm at a point now where I just...don't know what else to do. Is it me? It must be, so what is it?

But even more than I want a good job (and I want a good job so badly right now), I want to be able to shake off this last interview. Rather, the email that came a few days after the interview in which I was charming and professional, and demonstrated my qualifications and enthusiasm well. The email that said what everyone I've tried to work for in the last year has said to me, whether or not they were courteous enough to actually say it: thanks, Alyssa, but no thanks.

I want to let it go. My guy has been trying to encourage me to stop stewing over things I can't control, or things that are behind me. I have this habit of replaying scenarios over, rethinking decisions I can no longer change, and driving myself crazier by wondering "what if?" or "why?" when I'm already upset enough by the outcome. And I know this is the right approach for now—bounce back and keep on the grind, right? That's what I'm supposed to do when I'm explicitly or implicitly rejected by the thousandth job in 18 months?—but it feels impossible.

How do you do this, friends? How do you let shit go? How do you say, "Okay, X didn't happen, and that's the last bit of emotion and brain space I'm going to spend on it"? How do you stop any one bad or less-than-pleasant thing from gripping you tighter and tighter until you're choking on rejection or failure to the point where you can't figure out how to move forward? (No? Just me then?)

Seriously, can you help me learn how to let go?

Comments

  1. I'm so sorry that you didn't get the job that you really wanted, but I have to agree with your guy here. Moving forward is so much easier said than done, it's one foot in front of the other, it's waking up in the morning with the positive attitude that today is going to be a good day, it's continuing to reach out to the head hunters and asking if they have anything you'd be a good fit for. I'm so sorry that you're going through this and feeling the stress in all different places in your life -but you will not only find A job, you will find THE job...it will come and I'm absolutely certain of this. Keep your head up, keep smiling and believing that you are worth that amazing job!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. I am really sorry to hear that you didn't get the job you wanted. I think letting go is very much easier said than done. I tend to stew over things to, whether I share it or hold it in. I try to remember that usually when something I want doesn't happen that it probably wasn't meant to be and that there is something better out there for me that I dont know about yet. You just keep your faith in yourself because you are awesome and I know that you are eventually going to land your dream!

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  3. I already commented on Twitter, but I'll reiterate: job hunting blows. There's really nothing else to it. You want to find jobs that you'll be a good fit for and that you're genuinely excited about in interviews, but the success rate of getting hired is so low that that approach ends up being impractical, PLUS it's heartbreaking whenever you get turned down. When I was job hunting (for the better part of a year), I gave up on "perfect fit" and applied to everything that sounded remotely decent. But over a hundred resumes and cover letters still only got me a handful of interviews, and in the end I've had more luck overall from networking than from that process (although I did have one big job that was purely chance - they liked my cover letter or something. That job ended up being soul-sucking, but I got tons of experience and I now do work with several of my old coworkers who have moved on to other positions). I wish I had useful advice, but I really don't. I do think it's easier to care less when you have tons of resumes out there (or like online dating - I met Ryan after I sent out a ton of messages and "winks" and had much better luck when I was relaxed about it than when I was talking to one person at a time and hanging the weight of the world on our next conversation).

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  4. I'm sorry. Sorry won't help you. I also don't know why this is not happening for you - I think you're a wonderful writer and an excellent communicator. I do not think there's a secret to job hunting. I think it's a lot of right place/right time/who the hell knows why some people get hired and some don't.

    As for letting it go...I have to give myself a few hours of obsession and insanity. Then I have to work it out...that can come from exercise...aimless driving and singing and sometimes crying...rage cleaning...swimming...busy work... and a complete pull the shade down in my mind whenever it threatens to creep back in. I also surround myself with people who have the balls to tell me enough is enough and not to indulge this mind sabotage.

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  5. I don't have the answer as to how to move on, but the job hunt does suck. I recently did some job hunting and it was much tougher than I thought. It's frustrating when it looks like there are so many postings constantly. I ended up going the financially stable route and working full time somewhere I was already working part time. But that's because of babies and stuff. If a muffin wasn't on the way, I would possibly still be job hunting for somewhere I really want to stay. I left my job I was desperate to escape, but it is emotionally exhausting looking for somewhere better, even if the pay isn't as high. I still don't know what the future holds, but I think you are great and the job hunt is tough on everyone, even the people who are right for the job. I hope the right one finds you. Try your best to keep going! Maybe some distraction by something totally different before returning to the subject would help give a fresh look.

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  6. I wish I had an answer for you. I wish I had a job to offer you that you could shine and be valued because I truly believe you deserve that.

    I am petrified of job hunting, interviews, resumes...all of it.

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  7. I recently went through a similar situation with a job interview. It was for a position with the city that had the potential to lead to so many greater things (financially and mentally). I went to the interview (it was a four-panel interview) with the judge, the gal who would be my manager, the assistant manager, and the hr manager. To say the least, it was a bit nerve-wracking. However, I felt I did an amazing job and highlighted all of the skills they were looking for. I had to do three "tests" -- two filing tests and a writing test. I left feeling confident because I asked them if there were any areas I needed improvement in and they said that there were none and that I did an amazing job. Two weeks later I received a phone call thanking me for coming, but there was a gal who did a smidge better. I was rather heartbroken because I swore that I had the job. I still am not sure EXACTLY what I was lacking.

    I am confident that you will find the perfect job that you fulfill you ♥

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  8. I'm still replaying something stupid I said to my boss during elevator chit chat yesterday so I'm obviously no help. As you know, I just got off this roller coaster and the only thing that really helped me was having my hands in lots of different, important things so that I had something else to focus on. You have so many other things going the right way - you are an amazing yoga teacher who leads people through what is very possibly the highlight of their day, you just supported your cousin in a huge way for her wedding, you write stories and articles (shout out to that Wanderlust interview on BY) that resonate with lots of people in lots of different ways. I know that that doesn't exactly pay the bills but I hope it gives you some peace of mind because it should. And this guy...I like him already for getting you to think this way :)

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    1. Oh and really, did you ask them the reason? I know "it's not you, it's them" is so trite but knowing you and your capabilities...maybe it IS them :/

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  9. THIS IS THE WORST FEELING EVER. Sorry for the caps, but really! This is 100% not a helpful comment because I have no idea other than avoidance, which is my current (and awful) method of dealing. Try and remember that a job doesn't define who you are-- you published a book(!!!) and are doing amazing things with your yoga practice right after becoming a teacher. I know those things don't make it any less sucky, but know that you are smart, talented, and stronger than you think.

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  10. I literally came down here to the comments section to say what Tracy already said. Did you ask the company / hiring manager / THEM "WHY" you didn't get the job? It's not too late if you haven't. It's for self improvement and validation. Seriously, ask them and find out why. You deserve the closure, at the VERY least.

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  11. Well, I hate this for you. And you do need to wallow in it for a day or so to process the angst you feel for not getting the job, but then you do have to shake it off because really, what are your other options? I always tell myself that in the game of life, this is a really insignificant period of time and that there is always a bigger plan that I may not be privy to right now . . . you'll get that perfect job . . . it's out there waiting for you!

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  12. urrghhghhh this makes me ache. I'm so sorry, Alyssa. I know this feeling and all the other feelings you described in this post. I'm not sure how to let things go. I just know once you find the right thing, and god damn it, you will, you'll forget all about these things. I'm not looking forward to going through all this again so soon. Sending you all my love. And on an unrelated note, I got a little heart-eyed when I saw "my guy" used casually throughout... <3 <3 <3

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  13. ugh. so much rage for you girl. i'm sorry you didn't get this job. screw them. they don't know what they are missing.
    honestly, i am half half on letting go/stewing on things. what helps me is not very helpful at all actually. i've had shit A LOT worse. so when we are in a wreck and have to pay $1000 deductible and are about to go on an expensive vacation and my car needs an oil change and the mortgage comes out, KC freaks out. But I've been through worse, as long as I have money in the bank or at least not negative, I can look to the future or look at the situation calmly. He can't. When other things go down, stuff I won't ramble on about here (any more than i already have), I can normally compare it to previous situations and think it could be worse. I am sure my life will turn around one day and things will start getting worse, but i had a shitty start to life (ugh not shitty but all the shitty things that happened, happened in the first 20 or so years) so i fully expect and demand life treat me better for a little while to make up for it.
    anyway. it's super hard to let go of things especially when you don't have the answer. its also easier for other people to say it, because they/we can see that things will be fine and you will find an amazing job that fits your life perfectly and that one will have been the wrong one so it's good that you didn't go down that road. it's easier to see when you're not right in the middle worrying about right now, you know? sorry for my constant rambling. i truly have complete faith that you will find something perfect and amazing :)

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  14. I know we talked about this briefly, but I am still so sorry that this didn't pan out. I operate under the mentality of "this or something better". It's not always easy, and sometimes it takes effort and pep-talks to remind myself that everything happens FOR me, not to me. But then things like this happens and I get all 'WTF Universe?!', so I get it.

    In regards to the Big Magic/creativity thing we talked about, have you considered stepping outside of your field? Or is that something you don't want to do at all?

    Hugs my friend.

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