I am now almost certain that I did not get the job I really wanted. Over the last week, as it became apparent that no one was calling me or my references, I started to have moments of intense pain and sadness. I am trying to understand the exact nature of this pain, to wrap my arms around it and define it.
A couple of nights ago I ended up sobbing out my disappointment before bed, in the arms of my husband. It was as ugly as ugly crying gets. Gasping for breath, choking on snot, piles of tissues mounding up beside me. My eyes looked puffy for the whole next day. Among other things, I cried out, more than once. “I am so embarrassed. I am so ashamed.”
This is the second time that I have not gotten a job that a former coworker with my exact same experience has managed to get. This raises powerful feelings of what’s wrong with me, specifically? There must be something wrong with me. What is it? Can I fix it or not?
I feel embarrassed to ask keep asking my former bosses for references for jobs I don’t ever get. I feel like damaged goods; doomed to be stuck in a job that is dull, boring ,and not well-paying because I can’t interview well enough to get a better job that I am qualified for and could do.
I said before that I felt this particular job might have come up too quickly for me. I wished I had been alcohol free for longer, gotten steadier and more confident. I did the best I could, but fell short of the mark. That leaves me feeling even more anxious about applying for other jobs. About this particular job, I at least felt very secure that I was well qualified. With other jobs, the fit is not likely to be as apparent and as ideal. I will have even more to be anxious about going into other hiring situations.
I don’t know how I will manage the stress and uncertainty of the job-search process better. How I can arrive at equanimity in the face of my capacity for feeling ashamed.
Who I am so afraid of disappointing? My parents? My former boss? My kids? My friends? My husband. No. Nothing quite makes sense. I am afraid I can’t justify my own choices to myself. That I will never be able to resolve this tension between achievement and falling short. Never resolve the question that maybe I am not doing the right thing, and if I were doing the right thing, I could be both fulfilled and successful at the same time. But what is the Right Thing? And why can’t I figure that out.
I am still not drinking and very happy with that decision, but, boy, am I raw right now. In the past I probably would have had a lot to drink one night, blown off steam, and moved on fairly quickly from this rejection with a fuck-it attitude. Instead my sad, shamed feelings keep circling around and bubbling up with intrusive regularity, causing me to question, second-guess and bemoan every professional decision I have made in the last 25 years. That is a heavy burden for my soul to carry. My melodramatic tendencies are in full flower. Which means I feel doomed.
On top of the crushed hopes about the job, I am also soaking in the bitter sense that all this “doing my best,” is simply not paying off. I seem to need tangible evidence, “gold stars” of some sort, to feel justified in making the life changes that I have made. I want quicker fixes. I admit that.
A new job, new number on the scale–something! Instead I am feeling so bad. So stuck. Shuffling between a stifling job and home, dealing day in and day out with the steady stream of bad news a difficult teen brings. I rely on yoga, runs and books for temporary anesthesia. My husband is supportive, but also kind of thinks I am not much fun right now.
I am OK, as I knew I would be, no matter what happened. But I’d prefer to be engaged, vibrant and fun.