Though I’m posting this blog entry after having been hired, I wrote this post during the summer of 2013 during a discouraging time in my job search.
The two-year-old that I babysit for is a complete delight, and every now and then she teaches me something important. One day during lunch I was working really hard to get her to eat her tortellini. She didn’t want it and wasn’t about to be fooled by my coaxing. Instead she put on a serious face and told me, “not this time, maybe next time.” The only thing I could do was laugh and laugh.
When her mom got home I relayed the story and found out that this was a phrase from the family’s potty training book. The book tells stories of successes and close calls in a toddler’s efforts to learn to use the toilet. Its healthy, shame-free approach asserts that it’s okay to miss an opportunity to use the potty. If you don’t make it this time, you can do it next time.
I had a job interview recently for a fantastic position recruiting and coordinating volunteers and serving in administrative and supervisory roles in a refugee resettlement program. My experience working in resettlement and my degrees and my skills and my interests and my commitments and my passion for multicultural settings made me a great fit. I used my connections – someone knew someone at the organization and put in a recommendation – to make sure that my application materials were noticed. The interview went fine, and I had a great connection with the interviewer who was impressed with my experience and knowledge.
After I didn’t hear anything for a week, my hopes started to sink. After a week and a half I began mentally and emotionally disentangling myself from the role. I quit planning a new schedule and quit brainstorming program development ideas. After two weeks, I received my rejection letter and it was over.
Another difficult job search experience to add to the rest, and this one hit particularly hard because it seemed so promising. One morning as I was feeling discouraged and trying to recognize and honor the disappointment of another crushed hope, this phrase popped into my head: not this time, maybe next time. A helpful lesson from a two-year-old turned into a helpful mantra as the search continues.