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Rejection, conspiracies, and nagging doubt

9:48am I submitted an application.
5:25pm I received a rejection.
That hurt. I had written good letter of application, had the certifications and boom, same day rejection. My friend tried to cheer me up by saying “at least they didn’t waste your time.” “No, I did that all on my own” I replied. And that’s how I felt. As I expand my search to include more roles, consider new islands and even look at labor jobs, I’m increasingly feeling like my efforts applying for jobs on this chunk of land, in these roles, in this extremely competitive field and environment, that I’m wasting my time and need to be looking at entirely new options.

This morning I awoke to another rejection. This one hurt more and pissed me off because they said “However your experience and skills may better align with another position on our team.” This job was pretty specific to my experience and skills. This reinforced the feeling that I need to leave this field and try something and/or somewhere else.

Another comment from another friend was that “it’s not personal” to which I quipped, “I wish it were! I wish they had actually looked at my resume and talked to me to know for real, if my skills and experiences were not a fit.” In my letter to my friend I opened with questioning if this was a massive conspiracy against me. If maybe my last job spread awful rumors that have gotten to everyone on the island and all the typical doubts and fears. But you and I both know that is not the case. It’s not me. It’s not personal. It’s not you. It’s not personal. No matter how much easier that would be. That, my friends, is being the victim.

What’s important here though is how I responded. I took a couple minutes caught up in my emotions, to feel bad. Then, I cleared my mind and put it past me. A positive mindset is very important, to everything you do, and especially job searching. You can’t start thinking no one will ever hire you. That will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ll admit, clearing your mind, refocusing, and being positive is not easy. All throughout the day I had to nudge the bad thoughts out of my mind and focus on my work. Somewhere along the way this morning it donned on me that I need to write about this, to share my feelings and struggles with you all. I haven’t done that since my first post, Swallowed. And that feels a little misleading, a little disingenuous, especially as this job search stretches on. Telling myself it’s because of the pandemic doesn’t really help. I know that every day, there are more and more available candidates and my competition, with more experience, joins the job hunt.

But today was different. I had a lot to do and couldn’t stop to write then, and because of my change of attitude, and because of the actions of previous days, things kind of turned around. One song I use to motivate myself is AC DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top, If You Want to Rock and Roll”. This shit ain’t easy friends. Queue the Rocky montage of struggle and training. But if you want to compete, you have to work at it. Another good pick me up is “Tubthumper”! Such a cheesy song but seriously, pick yourself up and go again. Last good motivational song (hopefully one of these stick) is “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder.

Tips for the job search

  1. Follow up with your resume submissions and interviews, even screener calls.

I’ve been getting better at reaching out to recruiters and hiring managers after and sometimes before, I submit my application. I ask them where they are in the process; have they started interviews, how far along they are and if they’ve made any offers. In the case above, the full rejection letter said the position had been filled before going on to (poorly) suggest my skills and experience better match other positions. In reality, they were probably pretty far along in that process when I applied. I have no way of knowing because I couldn’t find anyone to ask for that particular role, but I like to believe that’s the case. And in which case, I’m thankful they didn’t bother to waste my time if they did have a candidate. Props to them. I know this is the case because in a strange twist of irony and example of how small this (and most islands) is, in a one on one with my instructor of a course I was taking to level up and better qualify myself for a role I am pursuing, she confided in me when I handed her my resume, that she had already seen it. One of her clients she consults for, is a company I applied for. She told me that for that role, I didn’t get even a screener call because they were already in 2nd rounds with several candidates and had made an offer to one which was accepted. This knowledge helps me stay motivated and it should stick in your mind as well.

I sent a couple follow up emails in the past couple of days. The first I received an auto reply which I assumed was a result of the massive covid layoff that company just went through. So I wrote the address that was left and mentioned what a great conversation I had with that recruiter, how thoughtful she was, knowledgeable of the role and the insightful questions she asked me. I received a note back this evening from her former boss who was really thankful for the positive notes. She had moved on and was not laid off. The roll is still on pause while they evaluate everything.

I had a screener call with Megan, from another company the other day. About 2 weeks earlier, I had spoken with Brandy at the same company for another role so I wrote Brandy to ask about it and request an interview. About 3 hours after that letter, Megan called me to set up an interview with the role I applied to with Brandy. Brandy then replied saying Megan had taken over that role and I have no doubt that my persistence is what earned me the interview. I should mention this company is in a different town, a different island.

As I sit here, getting deeper into a financial quagmire; funds depleting, no CARES help on the way, and options feeling few and the anxiety hampering my creativity, I have to admit, I’m getting very worried. I generally believe I’ll come up with something, but the situation being as it is in the world right now, those prospects look dim and I need to come up with a new plan.

Thinking there is nothing I can do, because of the “situation” is giving up. It’s more victim thinking. I read a fair bit. At this point, I’ve read 12 books in 2020. A couple have been novels, but the rest are business books. I think that is the category. A couple have been more specific to the role I am pursuing, other are on leadership.

2. Read books. Books on your field, leadership and psychology.

Photo by Thought Catalog on

I’ve been in more than one interview where the topic of books has come up and I’ve been asked about my reading habits; how many and what kind. Not only are you liable to learn new things in your field and role, but about life and relationships, how to think, perspectives and so on. So I’m going to wrap up this post with some books I’ve read and recommend.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
This might be a good one to start with as it makes a great case for reading even as little as 10 pages a day.

Hostage at the Table by George Kohlrieser

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by David Marquet

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

Other than The Slight Edge, there is no recommendation of order. Read to gather knowledge, insights and let it compound. The more your read, the more ideas will build up. Some books will resonate more than others. Sometimes that is content, and sometimes it’s just the perspective. Depending on your mindset, the analogies, stories and examples in various books will strike a chord with you more than others. I see the same ideas expressed through different lenses which helps me see those lessons in more examples that are more or less applicable to various situations in my life; work or personal, emotionally heated or logically strategic. It’s not a race, but the knowledge is out there for you to consume and absorb.

Lastly I’ll leave you without excuses to read. Your local library is pretty awesome. Don’t like reading? Mostly libraries have audiobooks you can download, free as well. And many major libraries will give you a library card even if you don’t live in those towns. The Los Angeles Public Library– you can sign up online. The Denver Public Library? Same thing.

If you like to own books and want real book in your hands but don’t have lots of money, try Better World Books. They sell used books, many in excellent condition for cheap and constantly have sales on top of that.

Have a book you recommend? Leave it in the comments. Want to comment on a book- comment. Or if you want to talk about the pains and struggles, leave a comment. Also, feel free to hit me up on twitter, or drop me an email using the form if you want to talk more privately.

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