Today, I wanted to basically vent my woes. If you’ve been on my social media, you’ll know that last week, I had a job interview, the first since February, and what really got to me was that I was rejected only hours after I had the interview. So, because of that, my plans for Thursday, Friday, and even Saturday went completely out the window. My freelance projects suffered, I had to extend deadlines, and I wasn't completely active on social media for those days. I was devastated and that's why I wanted to write this post. That way, I can fully recover from the shock I suffered on that day.
So, today, I'll be explaining the situation, what happened, and then my emotional state. Honestly, I was affected badly, and because of previous expectations, I had somehow pinned all my hopes onto this interview. So, although I've bounced back, I haven't completely recovered. Even now, writing this post, although cathartic, is really hard to do, because I'm rehashing all those emotions I'd felt over the last few days.
Ok, so let me start by saying that ever since February when I started working as a freelance writer, I thought that maybe content writing would be something that I would be happy to do. So, I started applying for content writing jobs, so that I could continue doing what I was doing, except instead of being a freelance writer, I could have a steady income for writing content. It seemed like the way to go, and that's what this job was about. It fit perfectly within my skill set, and because it was in film production, although corporate documentaries, it was a step in the right direction for me.
Of course, I don't really have much experience in an office setting, and yes, I'd only started in February, but I really thought I could gain that experience with this company. I mean, I had only just come out of the retail industry, a month before the pandemic lockdowns, and because the company I was working for was afraid they wouldn't survive the pandemic, they made me redundant, a day before the furlough scheme was put into place. Essentially, they jumped the gun, and I was left high and dry. So, that's why I've been unemployed for the last year and a half.
Anyway, for the last few months, I’ve been on and off with my job search, because of my freelance projects. When I first started, orders were flooding in, and I was under a lot of pressure to deliver article after article. It was something that gave me motivation and hope that I could eventually work for myself. Then, as I raised my prices, and became a little more experienced, the pressure eased, and in the last two months, my orders were starting to dwindle. So, I was able to start looking for a job with a little more focus on what I wanted and be a little more attentive to my applications.
Soon, I found a job advert that I thought I’d do well in. It was a film production company, that created corporate documentaries, and the job role was as a junior content writer. It was literally a job for the things I was already doing. I would write up treatments for potential projects, and sometimes the blog articles for finished projects, I'd even pitch those projects to the clients. Literally, it was everything I wanted and more. And when was asked to attend a phone interview, last week, I was over the moon. I wanted to do my very best, and I give it my all. So, that's what I did. I did my best, I answered all their questions, to the best of my abilities, and I asked a few of my own. It went off without a hitch, and I was given a task to complete, basically in an hour, and I did. I sent off the task and waited.
The next day, I was given an invitation to attend an in-house interview. My hope was starting to swell, and I did everything I could to prepare for the interview, the day before. I did my research, I took notes, I tried to remember all the things I'd been taught at school, in the presentations that I had to attend, thanks to the government. I did everything I could to make sure my interview went well. Then I went, I had the interview. I answered their questions, I asked questions of my own, and it felt more like a conversation, rather than a formal interview. Honestly, I thought I’d done well. I answered every question, and I thought I’d answered them well. In fact, when I left, I really thought I had the job in the bag. I even treated myself, on my way home. I had lunch in a cafe in Central London, because I wasn't stuck at home, and it was a nice day, albeit quite hot (in terms of the UK).
But then, after I arrived home, around four or five hours later, I got an email. It said that they were going to go in a "different direction" and that they appreciated the time I'd "invested in the application". It wasn't even an entire day, and already I was rejected. It was devastating, and I couldn’t quite believe it. I mean, I was told at the interview, I’d know the next day or even today (because today is Monday) if I got the job or not. That would have given me the weekend to process my own feelings. It would have given me the time I'd needed to prepare myself if I didn't get the job. At the very least, my hope would have dimmed by then, because then I would have come down from the high from even having the opportunity to have an interview with them.
But they'd sent me a reply on the same day, and it was gut-wrenching. I didn’t have the time to prepare for the rejection, and my emotions were all over the place. I couldn't process it and was left in the lurch because I wasn't prepared at all. I was completely and utterly broken for the next few days because my confidence had been completely undermined and shattered and my faith in myself was quickly deteriorating.
My Emotional Response
So, I was initially angry when I got the news. I mean, I had just arrived home, I was so excited to have had an interview, after months of no responses, or immediate rejections. I was completely in shock. I wouldn't have minded, if they sent me the email the next day, at least the high would have worn off, and I would have had time to reflect on the answers I'd given, or the questions I'd asked. But because the reply was on the same day, I was completely blindsided. I had not expected it at all.
Then, after the initial shock and anger wore off, I began to feel numb. I was literally working on auto-pilot for the rest of the day because I couldn't believe what had just happened. I just couldn't believe that I'd be immediately rejected after the interview. My body did the daily things. I ate, I drank water, I showered, I did all the necessities, but I didn't do anything productive at all. I didn't knit, I didn't work on my articles, I didn't work on updating the website, I didn't even do my routine social media rounds. I simply lay in bed, reading webcomics and manga, until I had to sleep. I didn't even do anything towards my language learning, nor did I write in my journals. I had completely shut off.
But I was thinking. I thought that maybe there was something in that interview that I did wrong. Maybe there was a word or a sentence that I said that put them off my application. I thought that I was the one in the wrong, that I had somehow messed up my hopes, just because I attended the interview. I started blaming myself because this was the third time I'd gotten to the last stages of an application process and was denied. I started to lose faith in myself.
As I said, this was the third time, at least this year. If you remember, I had managed to get an interview, in February, where I had come to the last stages of the interview process, I was so close to getting that job too, and was so looking forward to it because it was with another film production company, but even then I lost out, twice! I had been referred to another team within that company, after my initial interview process, but maybe because I lacked industry and professional experience, they decided to go with someone else. So, when I had this interview, I had hoped that this time I would get the job. After all, “third times a charm”, right?
Now, I know, it's because of the pandemic. There are so many other people out there looking for jobs, including jobs like mine, but this rejection felt personal. I mean, it's as if they took one look at me, and regardless of what happened at the interview, they already decided that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't worthy. That's what it felt like.
I'm not worthy of a good job.
When I got the rejection, it felt like no matter what I did, no matter what I tried, I will never be worthy of a job that didn't involve retail or hospitality. I mean, I really wanted out! If you've read my previous posts, you'll know how miserable I was at my last job. I was constantly stressed, my body functions were being affected, and I couldn't even find the motivation to do the things I really wanted to do. Then I was freed, I was able to start working in an office, at the beginning of 2020, and I was finally out! I was finally moving up the ladder.
But now, thanks to the pandemic, my hopes of having a better job than a sales assistant in a shop were completely wiped away. I'm now back at square one. And although I'm trying my best to find a job in an office-based environment, or even remote working, it seems like without at least a year's worth of experience in an office, finding that sort of job will forever be out of my reach. I mean, from this last session, I think all I am capable of is a retail position. It's heartbreaking to think that I may have to go back to facing customers, in an area that gives me nightmares, and will forever be traumatic.
Now I know, many retail workers understand what I'm talking about, but there will be those who say that it's not so bad. First off, I'm an introvert, so working with people face-to-face is already hard for me. Secondly, I worked in an area that was terrible for those working in customer service. The area was full of shoplifters, beggars, and those who tried to bargain, complain or shout their way to lower prices because that's what they grew up doing. I worked in an area where retail workers were treated like they were worse than animals, and that we weren't worth the lives we were given. In fact, on my last day, at that store, I was racially abused by a customer. So, you can see why I don't ever want to go back to retail. I still have nightmares about that place, and I get a nervous breakdown every time I think I have to go back into that industry.
So, obviously, when I was given the opportunity to interview with this company, I really wanted to get the job, I really wanted a way out of the black abyss of retail. Of course, I tried not to pin my hopes on it, because I knew I'd be disappointed if I didn't get the job. I tried to tell myself not to really want it, but when I saw the email that I’d be interviewed, I couldn’t stop imagining what it would be like if I did get the job. And even after the interview, I felt even more determined to get the job. I mean that daydream began to feel more like reality. It gave me immense hope that I'd finally get to progress in my career, and I was taking a step in the right direction. I truly felt alive.
But when the rejection came. That hope was completely eviscerated. I was left once more in that black abyss of worry and fear. I could feel anxiety crawling up my back, whispering in my ear that I will never be good enough.
The Day After
So, the day after the interview and rejection, I decided to concentrate on the Olympics Opening Ceremony, because I wanted to distract myself from the interview, and it did the job. I was thoroughly distracted because I love watching the Games. I love watching how the athletes perform and compete with such ease. I mean, every now and then you see the disappointment, the hurt, and the effort that it takes them to compete, but when they win, it's nothing short of breath-taking. It gives me so much hope and inspiration, whenever I see their faces light up in triumph when they win because then it gives me the motivation to try my best in what I do.