Unfortunate Rejections

No one likes being rejected, and I’ve been rejected by them all. Girls, employers, credit companies, if they can reject you, I’ve been rejected by them. And I can sit here and punch myself in the face until all my teeth fall out and my jaw’s ready to fall off of its hinges, and it won’t do anything. I’ve long since accepted that griping changes nothing, I’ve been griping over rejections long enough to figure that out. But to the same token, things get a lot worse when you let all those gremlins knawing at the back of your neck fester (I’ve had plenty of experience with that as well).

Some people drink to deal with the feeling that everyone has just kicked you in the guts. Some people revert to drugs or violence. Some people go deep into listing off clichés. I fall into that dangerous trap sometimes, which leads to harder clichés like a bed of roses, a bee in your bonnet, and a blast from the past. Every time I write one of these I hate myself a little bit more. But like the oldest trick in the book, sometimes you need to write down a long list of clichés because it just fucking feels good – especially when nothing else feels good.

Yes, I have experienced a recent rejection. No, my girlfriend didn’t dump me – strangely enough, the repulsive smells, sounds, and sights have yet to drive her into a murderous frenzy (though after eating all the leftover pizza in the fridge, I think I’m getting closer). This was a different sort of rejection: the only kind that hurts this much while co-habiting with some who tolerates the sights, smells, and sounds from a 27 year-old man child.

I have been job searching lately and I had an interview for a job that was actually interesting on a day-to-day basis, paid well with all the grown-up benefits, and actually utilized the skills I studied while in university: the trifecta of fucking awesome job. I got the call, booked the early interview, nailed the questions in the interview, the manager and I talked for nearly two hours, everything was coming up me. Mentally, it was like I was already there. I was ready to tell the little not-for-profit that still pays me below the poverty line where to go and how to get there, I started thinking about what it would be like to not struggle check to check and actually start saving for one of those important grown-up investments like a condo or a car whose check engine light hasn’t been on for two years straight. I was ready to move on.

Unfortunately, the job had other plans for me.

While I was at work a couple of days back, I decided to check my personal email. There it was: the name on the email matched the organization who interviewed me; the subject line had my name and the job I applied for; and, a bit of the message was readable underneath the subject. The first word my eyes narrowed in on was “unfortunately.”

I’ve become fat too acquainted with unfortunately.

The worst part was that even the email told me about how I nailed the interview, I really knew my stuff, and I was perfectly qualified for the job. There was just one person that little bit more qualified than me, unfortunately. I would probably be dealing with this better if I were under-qualified, if I did fuck up the interview, or if there was something that made me a clear wrong choice for the job. At least then there would be some growth possible, I could have learned something. There could have been some growth possible.

And that’s the really hard part of rejection. When you’re pursuing something like a new job, a girlfriend, or something that requires good credit, it means you’re ready for something new. You’re ready to grow. Rejection is the world saying back to you, “No, you’re not ready to grow yet. You need to stay in your situation a little while longer. No matter if it sucks. You’re not ready to grow yet.” No one wants to hear that. Life is too short to wait. I could be dead tomorrow. I don’t want to die working a job I became over-qualified for a week after I started. I don’t want to die still in crippling debt, leaving it to my parents, my girlfriend, or whoever else is unfortunate enough to inherit my estate. Sure, they’ll get a decent book and vinyl collection, but not enough to make it worth paying off my lifetime of poor choices.

God, at this point I wouldn’t even leave that pretty of a corpse. You have no idea what living below the poverty line does to an already unfortunate face.

It’s cliché nowadays for the post-grad millenials to be complaining about a difficult job market, feeling going through university wasn’t really worth it, and being afraid of what the future looks like. I think about my parents who were married, owned a house, and were starting a family by the time they were my age. My parents and other people of their generation always say, “You’re just a different generation. You’ll do things later in life than we did. That’s all.” I’ve been hearing this since I was 22. By all means, I’ve certainly progressed since then. It’s just a little depressing that at this rate I’ll be a home owner by 40 if I’m lucky.

I’m well aware I’m lucky to have a job to begin with. I’m not a barista, I don’t work a drive-though, and my job allows me the freedom to do things like bash my job on a blog. Being unfortunately rejected, I’ve had to re-engage myself into my job and start thinking long term with my projects again. It’s been difficult knowing what was so close in reach. But I can’t give up.

At the end of the day, I still have bills to pay. I can’t afford the luxury of hating my job to the point where I can cold quit and spend some time unemployed. My credit rating is bad enough as is, last thing I need is to miss any more payments and delay my ability to buy a house even longer.

But my job hunt isn’t over yet.

I know I’m ready to grow. It’s just a matter of showing it. I’m not going to stop putting myself out there because I’ve been kicked down by a few unfortunate rejections. It might seem like I’m banging my head against a wall. But eventually, the drywall will crack and I’m going to break through to something better.

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