After being out of the workforce for over 2 years, I officially declared my job search on November 4, 2019. I know that searching for a job is not supposed to be easy, especially when you are a career changer in your late 30s. There have been ups and downs, but even through the downs, there has been a lot of positivity and learning along the way.
The last time I had done a job search was when I graduated college in 2002. In the 17 years since, I had spent almost 15 years working for one company and 2 years learning to code, constituting a whole new career. Looking for a job within your field of expertise is a job in and of itself. But looking for a job in a brand new industry can leave you feeling vulnerable and exhausted. From preparing resumes, to writing cover letters, to researching companies and the jobs they have available, to networking and tweaking your process as you go, to preparing for technical interviews - it is a lot of work that can fill us with uncertainty and doubt. And that’s why rejections have the potential to hurt when they come.
I know rejections are par for the course. I have received rejections since before I officially began my job search journey, but this week I got a rejection that stung a little more than the others. Getting rejected is never an easy thing to endure, but you tell yourself, “Oh well, it just wasn’t meant to be.” Even in times when you are trying to remain positive, you struggle with all kinds of questions. What does this mean? Am I not good enough? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? What if I had answered the interview questions differently? What if I had asked more questions? All of this swirls around in my head, but then I know that I have to move on and shake it all off.
Despite my overall good attitude and my knowing that rejections are normal in this journey, this week felt rough. I think it felt different because I had made the mistake of getting my hopes up. It was the first time during this process that I had allowed my hopes to be high enough for me to form expectations about my prospects. This apprenticeship was a great opportunity at a top company, and I thought I fulfilled all the basic requirements. It stung, and even as I write this, I feel a pit in my stomach about it. I wish they would have given me the reason for the rejection. Maybe I would understand their decision better. But alas, as with anything else in life, I also have to become better at getting rejected.
I have learned a lot in the last 4 weeks. And I’m sure I will have lots more to learn in the weeks to come. It’s been 5 days since getting that rejection. It stings a little less everyday, but this was the first week since declaring my job search that I really wondered how much of this I could withstand. I guess I have to follow my own advice and get better at moving on. I’m sure that I will experience more rejection as I continue this process. All I can do is brush myself off and keep on keeping on. Now back to coding and reading real technical blogs.