The incessant rains had soaked me to the bone. I became saturated in doubt and self pity. Empty afternoons filled with gray skies. All hope clouded by a foggy vision. Months of sunless news and no headway. After all that, I was due for some good news, a silver lining.
While I had never been “informally” offered a job before, I believed that the job was mine. It was my own fault for assuming that the company was truly interested in bringing me aboard. There wasn’t much precedent in such cases, so I trusted, blindly and naively. But in such cases, never trust until the ink is dry.
In the middle of the waiting game, another company had called me in for a face-to-face interview on the heels of a phone interview. Upon answering the phone, I was notified that my salary expectations were a little higher than the budgeted amount. Having heard that, I relayed that I appreciated the honesty but was no longer interested in the position. It just made sense. They couldn’t meet my requirements, and I had a job offer waiting in the wings. Who wouldn’t do what I did?
But then my informal job offer was revoked. That was bad enough. It also affected the possibility of landing a job with the second company. Immediately after hearing the bad news — following normal business hours on a Friday evening — I phoned the second company and left a voicemail. I think I said something like this: “I apologize that the interview didn’t work out. But if there’s any way you’ll still consider me, I would love the opportunity. Hope to hear from you.”
Then the second waiting game began. I’d have to wait the weekend before getting a response — if I was going to get a response at all.
The weekend passed. Then a week.
I had nearly given up hope, admitted defeat, counted my losses, moved on. After days and days of crossing my fingers until they turned blue, I received an email from someone in the marketing department. I cautiously opened the message. I read every word. Then I reread the message.
It wasn’t an invitation for an interview but a question as to why I suddenly became interested in the job again. Of course there’d be concerns after I had recently declined an interview. I understood that and could not take offense. I would’ve had the same reaction.
Well, I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to the professional world. I don’t mean that I’m a job slut, bouncing from one to another. But I do think I have a good knack for how to proceed in professional situations. I have developed a suite of best practices when it comes to getting a job. I like to call it my interview acumen.
In that case, I decided to let it all hang out. Be brutally honest. Provide an upfront explanation. No bullshit. And then hope some more.
You see, I was already off this company’s radar because of my decision to decline the interview. So being brutally honest couldn’t hurt; in fact, it could help clear the air about my situation. Everyone has a story, and sometimes life just happens. Sometimes, things don’t go the way we want them to. We can all relate to that.
It worked. The company appreciated my candor and was interested in bringing me in, despite what had happened just a week earlier. Two more two-hour trips north and then a formal job offer was mine. And after a few pre-employment screenings the job was formally mine.
Sigh of relief. Celebration. Disbelief. The flood of emotions that ran through my veins was a mixture of everything I had experienced over the past several months. It seemed I had finally caught a break — and in the most unbelievable of ways. It was a job I wasn’t supposed to get. It was a company that believed in me, even after I had refused them. It was a tale of honesty and humility. It was a lesson in modesty and patience. It was a journey, but good things do come to those who wait.
It was my silver lining.
To this day, I work for that company. And it is the best job I’ve ever had. Not once have I gone to work and taken a single thing for granted: my computer, the people, my boss, the perks, stability, a paycheck, my chair, the view from my seventh-floor desk. When the days get long and hard, I continually remind myself, “A few months ago, you were unemployed.”
Everything leading up to that moment had challenged me personally, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I felt like someone who had just been beaten, battered and tortured. It was as if Karma had turned her shoulder from me. Despite the tumultuous childhood I endured (I will write about this someday), this past year was more draining, more telling. I was forced to mature in new ways. I was tempted beyond my wildest dreams. I was more alone than ever.
But I survived.
And I’m a new man because of it.
With my family celebrating with me, another life change was taking shape. Getting the job would require moving…again. And I was intent on taking this development a step farther. I was committed to buying a house.