Feeling like a failure

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Photo via VisualHunt.com, Used with permission.

Yesterday, for what seemed like the hundredth time this year, I received yet another email saying I wasn’t shortlisted to interview for a job I applied for. I was annoyed, but it was fleeting. The energy I had expended in applying was minimal. My CV was already good to go, and so was my cover letter. A bit of tinkering to customise my documents for the role, and I emailed them in. I find the less emotional investment I have in the application process, the easier it is to say c’est la vie or que sera sera. Set and forget. Lock and load. So why was I annoyed, even fleetingly?

I had been “strongly encouraged” to apply for this particular role when I accidentally bumped into an old colleague — who had been the one who advertised the job. He regaled the pluses and minuses of the job, and I thought: OK, I know what I’ll be getting myself into. So, OK. I’ll apply. So I did, and I emailed to tell him I applied. No response, but I thought: OK, he’s busy.

I have been looking around for another role — on and off — for the better part of a year. I go through bursts of activity, when I send off four or five applications a fortnight, become disillusioned with the process (no interview, or short-listed and interviewed and reference checked but not hired), and retreat, licking my apparently unemployable wounds. Hence, the minimalist approach to job hunting. Why bother investing in something that is, for all intents and purposes, a crap shoot? If someone really wants to employ me, they will.

(For the record, I have a Master of Arts in Communication Management, have many years experience in marketing communications. Guess what? Those many years mean I’m over 50, which more or less spells a death knell for job hunters.)

I figured that because I knew this dude — worked with him, in fact — I’d at least get an interview.

I didn’t.

And it kind of shocked me.

If someone I knew wouldn’t give me a go, what chance have I with people I don’t know? Who don’t know me, and what I can do?

And that’s what annoyed me. Even fleetingly.

I’ve been made to feel like a failure again (although it’s true no one can “make” you feel anything). It was a job that I wouldn’t have ordinarily applied for. And yet I did. And because of the personal connection, I assumed (incorrectly) that this would be the currency I needed to at least get some face time.

I was wrong.

I don’t mind being wrong, but I hate smoke being blown up my arse.

And it’s worse when it’s someone you know doing the blowing.

My smoke detector failed. And that’s what annoyed me.

If you liked this essay, please give it a lovely, green heart. I write about this sort of stuff and more at The Diane Lee Project. It would make my day if you would visit and join my email list.

Australian writer recently returned from 4 years living in Vietnam. Editor of Vox Virtus and Abroadingly. Blogs at dianelee.com.au and travellinghomebody.com.

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