Thank you for applying for the position of Departmental Technician. The Department carefully evaluated your qualifications . . . we have found you do not meet the requirements.
I closed the attachment and archived the email. Those two mouse clicks weren’t nearly as satisfying as crumpling up a physical letter and tossing it in the trash would have been. Maybe I can print it out and set it on fire, I mused.
Like poking my tongue at a sore tooth, I found the email and re-read the letter. It still said the same thing: not hired. I was relieved to notice it was time for my lunch break. I felt tears building and didn’t really want to explain why I was crying to the coworkers who I would have abandoned in fifteen days had the letter read differently. I exited the email once more, gathered my things, and walked to my car to call Peter.
“I didn’t get that job,” I squeaked out before the tears started.
“Why not?” he asked.
I tried to control myself before answering, but I worried that he would mistake the silence for a dropped call.
“They said I wasn’t qualified,” I whimpered.
“Don’t cry,” he urged me. “It will be okay.”
He was right. I have a decent job, one that allowed me to escape from a micro-manager, evening and weekend hours, and a paycheck that made me eligible for WIC. I have a set schedule, but still have flexibility to take time off to take care of my family. I work with a good team led by a boss who doesn’t make me miserable. I thought of friends who are unemployed or underemployed. What am I crying about?
I ended the call with Peter, took a deep breath and redialed. I left a voice mail for my best friend letting her know about the rejection and thanking her for her help in preparing my cover letter and résumé. Can’t even tell I was crying, I thought.
When the HR department sent the notice about the vacant position, I had to talk myself into applying. The job would pay more, offer new challenges, but let me keep my set schedule and seniority. I have nothing to lose, I convinced myself. My best friend agreed. “You have to keep yourself fresh,” she advised. By the time she was finished with my application, I felt like I could do and be anything. I went into the interview feeling excited and empowered.
I spent two hours answering questions and falling in love with the job. The employees were nodding and smiling. I got a laugh or two. I felt like I was connecting with them. This would be a great team to work with, I thought. Knowing I had nothing to lose, I answered their questions honestly. That meant admitting my experience with one of the requirements was limited.
According to the rejection notice sent two weeks later, that was “a primary requirement of the position.”
We wish you the best in your attempt to find another position.
The truth is I’m not trying to find another position. I didn’t need a new job, but I found myself wanting it. By wanting it, I had something to lose.
I guess a few tears were in order.