Disappointment: Part of the Job Search Process

by Vault Careers | November 02, 2011

Unemployment is an educational experience.  I always say it might have been the best thing to happen to me, and I have discussed my journey from unemployment to a full-time job throughout this blog. But I don’t think I have ever touched on the level of disappointment I experienced in my job search. 

You never think you will remain unemployed for long, but this economy changed everything.  You learn very quickly that disappointment is just a normal part of the whole job search process. 

My first brush with job search disappointment started very early in the process.  I was attempting to transition from a journalism career into public relations and took on a temporary job with a nonprofit company.  My hope was to turn that temporary job into a full-time position, but the economy dashed that goal. Luckily, a contact of mine notified me that she was leaving her PR position with a city agency and urged me to apply. We always hear about the hidden job market; I had just found it. 

Both rounds of interviews went well, and I believed the job would be mine. I was excited about the position.  But, they warned me that the process was a lengthy one, so I continued to look.  I was now unemployed; I couldn’t afford not to look.  In the midst of freelance jobs and temporary work, I maintained a relationship with the city agency, exchanging pleasantries as I awaited what I was sure was a full-time job at the end of my efforts.  Still, I kept my options open. 

But the wait dragged on, and I was walking a road of disappointment: I was disappointed when I didn’t get an interview with a local Community College—even though I was the editor of the borough’s largest community paper at one time—and when I didn’t get an interview at my alma mater; I became disappointed in myself when I got my facts mixed up during an interview and when I spoke over someone on a phone interview (I still hate phone interviews); I grew disappointed in the economy when positions I seemed destined for were eliminated mid-interview process due to lack of funds; and I was disappointed in others: once when an employer questioned my commitment to relocating and another time when the employer didn’t like my view that people who worked at a pro-marijuana agency were indeed pro-marijuana (my bad). 

The disappointment continued to pile up as I waited to hear back from the city agency. I thought my luck had turned around after I made it all the way to the final interview for another promising job opportunity. I had never been so sure that a job was mine before, but I was wrong. The contact told me that they had gone with someone who was overqualified.  I was nice and thankful that she was going to pass my resume on. But when I got off the phone, I was angry.  Overqualified people usually don’t get the jobs.  The term “you are overqualified for the job” was created to let highly-skilled individuals down easy, but here I was beaten by someone who I was sure would leave the job the minute something better came along.  I collapsed into bed, fell asleep and wasted the day away, depressed and believing I would never get a job. 

Soon after this letdown, the city agency reached out to me.  The man who I was sure would become my boss asked me to meet him for a drink.  It was there that he told me they went with someone else.  I had made the short list but was passed over yet again.  Disappointment was a friend of mine, and the job search was not an easy process (although, on a positive note, I became friends with the man, and our friendship continues to this day). 

But here I am now, employed and miles away from that road of disappointment. The funny thing is, I barely interviewed for my current position.  Finally, after almost a year of struggles, a contact of mine recommended me and that reference was good enough to land me a temporary job. This time around, the temporary job became a full-time position.  My patience and perseverance paid off; I just had to deal with a little disappointment along the way. 

--Jon Minners, Vault.com

Filed Under: Interviewing | Job Search


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