On Not Getting the Job

August 17, 2016




I threw my hat into the ring for candidacy for a full-time position. The stars seemed to be in alignment when this job opportunity was presented to me not once, but twice, even after I shunned the thought of leaving my current position to pursue something new. I had the support from friends, family, and mentors and with my supervisor’s blessing, I walked into the interview room comfortable, prepared, and was so at ease that I left the interview grinning like the Cheshire Cat with my interviewers laughing and embracing me as I left. This was my time! I started perusing places I could live and fantasizing about what my world would be like with a salary and benefits. I felt like I was finally on my way to starting what I believed to be at the time, my life as an adult, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of being on my way. I wasn’t sure where I was on my way to, but I sure as heck felt as if this moment would propel me one thousand steps forward.


As days and hours passed the time I was told to anticipate a response, I distracted myself with other work, feeling in my bones that I wouldn’t get that familiar congratulatory ping in my inbox. I told myself that the department was just busy and would get back to me soon. On a Wednesday evening, I awoke from a deep slumber, rolled over, and checked my e-mail. We regret to inform you…

I didn’t get the job. 


Once again, feelings of insecurity and ‘not enoughs’ scratched the back of my brain, clawing its way into my psyche. I’ll be honest when I say I felt like, for at least a few minutes, like I had a big, fat ‘F’ on my forehead, denoting ‘failure.’ I replayed the interview in my mind. What went wrong? What could I have done more? What was missing from my resume? We all tend to live and work in the ‘what ifs’ when something doesn’t go quite as planned. As I beat myself up and wallowed in pity behind-the-scenes, I prayed that none of my close friends or family would ask me about the position. While I put on my smiling positive face to those who did ask, mentioning the bright side of things, I didn’t actually believe it or come to terms with it internally. I put on a visage, as I tend to do when things don’t go my way, but I was struggling. Struggling with God and struggling with myself. Why, when everything seemed to be perfectly in place, did things not go in the way I envisioned? I questioned God as to why He would even put this within my peripheral if He wasn’t going to see it through. That’s where I made my mistake. 


As I was dragging my feet along, I felt like God was saying to me, “Hold up…what are you getting upset for? I’m about to redirect you like you wouldn’t even believe!” (because that’s how I feel God talks to me in my head) We get so caught up in our own visions that we forget that there’s a much larger picture that is crafted with paint that’s not even yet on our canvas. We get lost swimming in a sea of our own desires, not recognizing that sometimes we get redirected and propelled into other directions, while what we had our eyes set on were just distractions to our imminent greatness. It’s all about the redirect. Maybe it’s not getting the job, or not making the team, or the relationship not working out after we’ve already made a space in our head, and more importantly, our hearts for something to flourish. I remembered all the times when I didn’t do so well on a test or I didn’t place in a pageant or a dumb boy didn’t share mutual feelings for me and I felt like in those moments, it was the end of the world. I say this now, that I am so glad that some things did not work the way I wanted them to because I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the life and love that I have right now.

Often while we’re busy making plans, our real destiny creeps upon us. The more I let go of my expectations and give them up to the great one upstairs, the more at peace I feel when I reach limitations of my own mind in terms of the goals I set out for myself. It sounds easy in theory, but in practice it’s an ebb and flow of disappointments, setbacks, and wrestling to pick yourself up from the all-consuming negative thoughts.

I like being in control. I like knowing the outcome of a situation. But as I grow older and somewhat wiser, I’m finally starting to get a grip on the fact that life isn’t like that. Sometimes we don’t get to choose. Sometimes we put all the blood, sweat, and tears into something that leaves us with what we feel like is nothing. Although we are masters of our own fate, we still have to grapple with the ongoing challenge that is faith. Looking, seeing, breathing, and believing in something we can’t see or tangibly touch is a test of will.


As I was researching the necessary pieces for my independent study work, I felt that giddy feeling inside and knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. As I walked into RA training to be greeted by countless bear-hugs by my former RAs and other staff members, I knew this is where I was supposed to be. As another graduate staff member approached me to tell me that I talk I gave on a panel last year solidified his choice to come to GW, I knew that my purpose in being where I am is so much greater than just me. As I signed my HR paperwork for a new professional dance opportunity and toured the inside of my new home in the district’s arena, the chills surged through the length of my spine because it was then that I realized that this is why God redirected me.


The redirect is life-changing. It’s perfectly fine to not reach a goal, get your heart crushed, and feel like things couldn’t get any worse, but you can’t live there. You can’t continue to throw yourself a pity party because while you’re blowing into your sad party noise maker, you’re missing out on the chance for God to reveal the redirect. It may not happen immediately and sometimes it happens years later when you’re reflecting on what got you from A to Z, but it always happens. You have to keep whispering to yourself(if you’re me, you do it audibly) that this is why you are right here in the now and why you are not anywhere else. You are supposed to be here in this moment, living and breathing and enjoying the chaos and confusion that is life. If everything was laid out for you and your map was already set, how boring do you think life would be? Well, I think it would be a snooze fest. No challenge. No growth. No excitement.


Don’t let the redirect keep you from keeping on your path. Let it propel you into the greatness that was meant for you, not the mediocrity that you planned for yourself. I promise that it may not be easy, but it sure is worth it.




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© 2017 by Cierra Kaler-Jones