Losing & Winning

Interview-rejectionSearching for a job is obviously the last level of hell. I once thought it was moving – you know, the perpetual packing and the boxes and the paper and the junk that multiplies even as you’re trying to purge and wrestling with the guilt of maybe tossing something someone gave you who would likely not even remember but what if they do and then ask about it five years from now when they’re at your house…. But no, I was wrong, it’s job-hunting.  Add to it the touch of desperation that comes with not having been this broke since the Divine Miss M was a baby, like most new parents, and well, it’s definitely the final level of hell. The thing is, when you’re a poor new parent, you’re all googly-eyed over the new baby who is so endlessly fascinating you hardly notice all you’ve had for lunch every weekday for a month is a peanut butter sandwich.  A new business isn’t quite so fascinating and coincidentally, that previous baby is an increasingly sassy 12-year-old so let’s just say, I’m noticing the sandwiches.

Currently, I’m averaging three employment rejections per week. Most of the time, I don’t even get to an actual interview but last Monday was an exception and I was asked to participate in the first round of interviews for a municipal position.  Also, the first interviews were to be conducted by phone.  I thought this might be an advantage for me since they wouldn’t be in fear of my flailing hands, and maybe I could tape a post-it note as a reminder to “Shut up after three minutes!”  The phone call came and this seemed like a great plan until I answered the first question and realized how badly my voice was shaking, which is when I realized one drawback is they can’t see that I’m not in danger of actually bursting into tears.  But I plowed through and reminded myself at least they couldn’t see my shaking hands and maybe I would still talk less.

I didn’t make the cut for the second interviews.  I finally decided I had nothing to lose and sent a very carefully worded inquiry asking for advice and insight with regard to not being selected to advance.  Maybe the person could give me a clue as to what exactly I am doing so wrong that employers retreat from me like I’m the plague.  The person did respond (by phone) and explained that it wasn’t my approach or friendliness or anything like that but because I’d mentioned I enjoyed research and writing as an attorney, they thought this position wouldn’t be a good fit since it didn’t provide opportunities for either of those but was more direct customer service.  Um, I actually figured that out prior to applying since the job description was four pages long.  Why would they assume I wouldn’t like it if I obviously would have known that prior to applying?  Also, I like research and writing as an alternative to litigation, which I loathe due to the adversarial nature of it.  And if that was a concern, couldn’t they have just asked me about it while we were on the phone?  I actually found the fast-paced customer service nature of the job quite appealing, which I thought I said but perhaps not.

I don’t navigate social circles well.  I find people confusing and occasionally nonsensical.  I’m sure this is why I like my chosen tribe so much.

The Dancer, the Bean Counter and the Labor Coach

My tribe: the Dancer, the Bean Counter and the Labor Coach. Oh, how I miss these people.

I know them and if they do something seemingly absurd, I just ask because god knows, they’ll answer.  Bluntly.  It’s part of their charm.  Plus, I already know all our unwritten rules and nuances like the Bean Counter’s poke-you-in-the-eye honesty never has any actual malice behind it, the Labor Coach simply doesn’t acknowledge less than happy things if she can possibly help it and you shouldn’t count “5, 6, 7, 8” in front of the Dancer as her feet will start moving, she’s competitive.  Likewise, they know I don’t like when people say my name in a sentence as it feels like I’m being chastised.  This sort of knowledge cuts both ways of course since conversely, they know if I use someone’s name when addressing them, I’m annoyed.  Anyway, job-hunting feels a lot like navigating social circles but each one is new so you don’t know the unwritten rules yet, you can’t decipher any subtle cues and there is no way to anticipate and therefore, guard against how they’re going to interpret some random statement you make.

The Artist said maybe next time, I should just plead the 5th.  Honestly, it’s not a bad idea since clearly, everything I say may be used to incriminate me.

Having said all of that, in the midst of these crappy events, we had to attend two holiday functions yesterday, both for LGBT organizations.  It feels like a fine line sometimes between celebrating our ability to be an open, out and happy family and not reaching a point of feeling we’re defined by being a same-sex family. But yesterday, we were at PFLAG’s holiday banquet and listening to my friend, Ash, do the same talk about closets that she did for TEDx, and listening to the Divine Miss M tell someone that having two Moms is a complete non-issue with other kids in Boulder, unlike in Oklahoma.  During Ash’s performance, my head was resting on Jodi’s shoulder and M’s was resting on mine and I felt so ridiculously fortunate, and may have whispered something really cheesy in Jodi’s ear.  We were surrounded the whole evening by new friends who seem to adore and celebrate us as a family.  They actually celebrate our family and others like us.  It’s still such a novel feeling.  I’m not going to exaggerate and say that makes it okay to wonder about whether we can pay this month’s bills but it definitely adds perspective.  It’s not a slight thing to feel overwhelmed with how lucky we are.



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15 Responses to Losing & Winning

  1. Tribal Member says:

    I know that you are where you are meant to be. You KNOW I envy your life near the mountains…but every now and again I am still caught up short by sadness: Sadness that you and Jodi had to move hundreds of miles away to find acceptance and peace. Sadness that I don’t get to see, in person, The Divine grow into the very capable and compassionate woman that you and Jodi are raising her to be. Sadness that I don’t have my running buddy to motivate me when I’m too tired to hit the road. Then, I think of all you have gained by moving, as a family, as a couple, and as an individual, and any momentary sadness I may be feeling lifts. You are where you are meant to be. Keep on keeping on. I’ll be here to poke you in the eye, whether or not you need it. Heh.

    I love you,
    The Beancounter

  2. The Artist says:

    I think you should insist all those job interviewers read your blog. They simply don’t know what they’re missing in not hiring you. We’re so glad you are here – and even in the face of jobs, and finances, and 12 year old sass, good old Bob Marley says it best – every little thing is gonna be alright. 🙂 Consider yourself virtually hugged today.

  3. The Labor Coach, Tribal Founder :) says:

    *I love being able to put anything I want to as my name on your blog*

    When you first told me that you were for sure moving, I heard this song on the radio – “Oklahoma Sky,” by Miranda Lambert. And it knocked me right on my ass and I cried and I blubbered like a baby. Over time, I have found that I can listen to it without crying now, sometimes. But I sang it at practice for the first time the other night and had to stop singing for a minute. I don’t know why, but that’s my JEM song.

    “How long has it taken to me to find you?
    Five hundred years, five hundred thousand miles.
    It don’t matter now.
    Love’s always always on time.
    Meet me underneath the Oklahoma sky.

    Lightening flashed, everything went silent.
    A feather could have knocked me to the floor.
    Missing piece was found,
    I was finally alive.
    Meet me underneath the Oklahoma sky.

    With the speed of sound,
    I’m homeward bound,

    All our sorrow swept away forever,
    Each and every tear washed out to sea.
    There ain’t no goodbye,
    With your hand in mine.
    Meet me underneath the Oklahoma sky.
    Oklahoma sky.”

    Anyway. When I first heard it, I realized that it didn’t matter so much how far away you were going to be; what mattered was I had found you, you had found me, and our friendship wasn’t going to be defined by state boundaries.

    Your success in your new life isn’t going to be defined by how long it takes for you guys to be financially secure. What matters is that you found her, and she found you, and you both have The Divine, and eventually, the money part will work itself out. In time, the right job will come to you. And in the meantime, I’m right here, under this Okie sky, ready to remind you that I love you and I have faith in you.

  4. The Dancer says:

    You are missed more than you know. We find ourselves flailing “like queens on ice” without you. But you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Look at all of the contributions you are making so the world (or at least your corner of it) will be a more beautiful and accepting place. The job will come, you will look back on the sandwiches with a smile, and The Divine will grow up with parents who have taught her how to persevere. I. Love. You.

  5. Lisa Winterstein says:

    I’m so sorry you didn’t get the job. Try not to get discouraged.

    • Jen says:

      Thank you! I am usually bummed for a day after a rejection – unfortunately those days are numerous lately. But it does at least give me something to write about. 😉

  6. Jenny says:

    Hang in there, kid.

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