Twenty minutes ago = one of those moments where you discover that you didn’t realize how much you wanted something until you can no longer have it.
I applied on a whim. It seemed like destiny. I wasn’t even looking for a new job, but when I saw the ad, it seemed perfect for me: close to home, a promotion, a bridge from this career to the next one.
I told myself not to get too excited, not to get my hopes up. I dusted off my resume and tailored it so that my bullets responded properly, if not perfectly, to those in the poster. I pulled out my best manners and skills to prepare a functional, attractive cover letter. And then I clicked ‘send’, and began to wait.
All through my vacation I checked my voicemail and e-mail, looking for a sign. Outwardly, I played it modestly; inwardly, I started to believe I really had a chance. When I found out that the office was moving and I would face an even worse commute, I checked the bus-routes, and google-mapped alternate roadways, comparing kilometres and minutes and potential traffic hang-ups. I wondered when would be the best time to ask about a compressed work-week and flexible starting times.
Weeks passed, the vacation came to an end, hopes began to dash. I sent a polite note to the coordinator, expecting to hear that the competition was finished and I didn’t make the first cut. But no, that wasn’t it at all. The managers were reviewing the applications and I would hear something when they had made their decision. My little flame of hope came back to life, like a campfire the morning after, bolstered by tiny strips of birch bark and little puffs of breath. I started to forget the actual requirements, yet at the same time I knew I would be the right candidate, if only they would give me the chance.
More weeks passed. I was ready to stop thinking about it. Some of my colleagues – friends – are moving on themselves. Good things for them: needed changes, new experiences. As always, when someone else moves away, I feel left behind and lonely. I shared my own possibility with a someone, sharing also the disappointment that too much time had passed. She reassured me that these things take time, and that if I would be patient, I would reach the conclusion. Again, I started thinking positively. I started thinking about The Secret (which I’ve never read but pretty much understand – after all, it’s hardly rocket science). I would just imagine myself in that new job, and then it was sure to come to me. I would absolutely have to work for it, but when the call came to meet them, they would know, and I would know, that I was the right fit.
And yet, the whole time, I kept my cool. I’ve got a good gig here and I do it well. I have a lot of opportunity ahead of me, a lot of support to help me reach my goals. I can stay, and it will be fine. The other thing, sure, it would be great, but I could accept not getting it. Or so I thought.
The e-mail subject line made my heart race. The e-mail made it fall. “Cancelled for technical reasons”. I don’t even know what it means. I guess it’s better than “You suck, that’s why”, but I still would like to know what it means. Just yesterday I was imagining myself driving to that office instead of this one. I was making it happen, all positive thoughts and piss and vinegar. Today, it’s gone. It’s like checking your lottery numbers on Sunday morning and finding out you missed the big prize. Up until Saturday night, there was always at least the dream, but once the draw is made, once you check the numbers, its too late even for that.