Just Let it Go
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?