Just got a call from the last place I interviewed and they selected someone else. BUT at least I got a call, and he did say I was a contender for the position. That’s better practice than from other places I’ve interviewed, and I appreciate it and said so to the search leader who called. Such calls – while utterly devastating – are an opportunity to give a parting positive impression and leaves the door open for potential future opportunities. They know you, and if you think they liked you there could be openings in the future. And I will not be mad at anyone who has the balls to call me with bad news. If I’m ever on a search committee myself I will push that such calls be made, however difficult and awkward they may be.
That said, I had just gotten out of a three-day k-hole from my Canada rejection. Although I had a feeling a while back that I wasn’t going to get the position anyway and was somewhat mentally prepared to be resilient to the bad news.
The term “k-hole” is from the old Circuit Party days when someone would do too much ketamine and become unresponsive. This state was highly mythologized but I witnessed it happening from time to time: “Oooh gurl Paul fell into a k-hole on the dance floor right when the DJ was playing some Kim English!” These days I use the term with endearance when I fall into a depression due to joblessness. When I find myself despondent and making lunch seems to be an insurmountable effort, I say to myself “Oooh gurl you in a k-hole.”
Knowing you’re in a k-hole is a good way of finding your way back to a better mood, and I have proven ways of getting out of it. Socializing with friends, exercise, being outdoors and applying for more jobs give me a sense of empowerment and positivity. Staying in and reflecting on the overall hopelessness of it all does not help one get out of the k-hole.
I recently read some article about the Kübler-Ross model of the stages of grief, and am fairly certain I’ve been to the final stages of it. But one goes back and forth on the scale and here’s how it’s gone with me:
- Denial: I can’t believe I haven’t gotten a job in 11 months.
- Anger: Fuck Portland.
- Depression: I will never get a job again.
- Bargaining: Maybe if I network more I will get a lead.
- Acceptance: Ha ha I will never get a job again!
And so it goes back and forth, sometimes on a daily basis. The final stage has been an odd one for me lately. Sometimes I feel like I’m at this Zen state of joblessness, which can be a relief sometimes. “Well fuck I can’t get a job here, I made a gamble and lost.” The reports of the heat wave back in the Mid-Atlantic combined with the fantastic dry, sunny weather with cool evenings here still has me resisting the idea of going back to DC. But there are jobs and a robust network for me back there, and here I seem to be hitting my head against a very sturdy wall. Sometimes when something isn’t working, it’s just not going to work.