Rejection is always difficult to face, isn’t it? Whether it is the BBC saying no, you can’t be controller of BBC 1 just because you wear shiny suits, or being knocked back by yet another leggy blonde in the local Ritzy’s ‘nightspot’, rejection can have a serious effect on you…if you let it.
I haven’t had many rejections in the past few months, mainly because I haven’t really gone for anything. I’ve had the odd letter saying the usual ‘we had a number of high-calibre applicants and unfortunately blah di blah di blah…’ sort of crap, but that has been about it. I haven’t been on the interview ‘scene’ for a while, due to general laziness and just sitting ‘comfortably’, but recently, deciding it was time to ‘better’ myself, I went through the rigmarole of applying for the jobs…yet again.
After a few weeks of the ‘you have not been selected’ letters dropping through my letterbox, I was beginning to feel a bit dejected. Why aren’t I getting an interview? What is wrong with my CV? I pored over it and over it, applied for jobs I didn’t have a hope in hell of getting just so that rejection from the other ones wouldn’t seem so bad (there’s a sick sort of logic going on here, kids) and generally getting depressed and smoking truckloads of fags and reaching for the phone to moan to my mum and dad (you know the drill…’No-one loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go and eat worms’, that sort of thing). This went on for a while, until, just like waiting for a bus, along come two at once!
I dragged out my suit and put on a nice shirt and tie, made my hair look as respectable as possible, practiced my lucid, intelligent answers to the normal load of horseshit questions that you get asked in interviews. So…feeling confident and looking OK, I set off for grilling number 1. It was a boiling hot day, and I felt all trussed up in the suit and so by the time I had made my way all the way down to Leith (I didn’t live there at the time) for the interview, I was hot, bothered and generally on bad form. I entered the office where maybe, just maybe, I would be working and presented myself to the bimbo/ secretary/ victim of sexual harassment who sat gazing wide-eyed into space.
I was made to sit on a plastic couch, near a water cooler that really needed a clean, for 15 minutes while the office manager was ‘ready’ for me. As I sat there, dying for a cigarette (I am ALWAYS dying for a cigarette), I observed the scene before me. It was like being back in England, and quite frankly, I didn’t like it. I couldn’t hear one Scottish voice, just loud, obnoxious Southern English ones. “Oh fahhhkin’ hell, mate, wotcha doin’ it loike that for?” I cringed as ‘ver ladz’ chatted about how pissed they had been the night before and how many times they’d managed to get their hand up the receptionist’s skirt. Nice one. “Can I really work here?” I thought.
When I eventually got to see the office manager he was flanked by a young lady who just peered at me throughout the interview and kept looking at my shoes and my hair and writing things down. The office manager (we’ll call him ‘Roland’… for that was his name) fired boring and at times quite personal questions at me, which I answered in a non-committal fashion. I did it all wrong. I wasn’t humble enough, yet too modest. I wasn’t forceful enough, yet too bolshy. I didn’t sell myself, yet I made myself sound too good for the job. At the end of the interview I shook their hands and walked out without looking back, knowing I would never see that office again. And I have to say, I wasn’t really that gutted…just angry with myself.
The other job was a place on a graduate scheme and when I went to the big posh hotel for the assessment the company turned out to be…the same one I had just had an interview with. “Shouldn’t be a problem,” thought I, “I’m sure I can blag it, and these lot are up from London anyway so they won’t have a scooby who I am.” Oh really Justin? Think again, arseburger.
Yes, you’ve guessed it; the delightful ‘Rolaaaaaaand’ was one of the panel, sitting there with a face stonier than the Giants’ Causeway, blatantly recognising me. What to do?
Well, I dazzled. I was confident, did the presentations with ease, was chatty, promoted myself more than Posh and Becks etc. etc. In other words, I was the direct opposite to how I was in the previous interview. Alas, an elephant never forgets (well, Roland was quite fat…I hope he’s reading this, by the way) and needless to say I didn’t get the position. Thanks for nothing.
So, one down, millions to go. I shall not be disheartened, I shall carry on. I will rise again like the career-hungry phoenix from the ashes of dead-end jobs. It’s not all bad…I hear they’re hiring at Burger King and I can flip a quarter pounder with the best of them.