Life is a roller coaster: Just when I thought the tide was changing…

Been a bit quiet on this space again, I know.  Life is a roller coaster.  My job search needed to be a priority.  I had hoped with dogged focus and an unexpected burst of energy (propelled by desperation, really), I’d be out the door from my current situation and into a new job by November.  Well, that was a fairy tale.

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A few weeks ago, out of the blue, an executive recruiter sent me an e-mail with a new opening within my industry. I wasn’t interested. If you know my struggles over the past year and a half, seen my occasional disturbing tweets, you know why.  However, although I hadn’t heard from this recruiter in quite some time, she was actually one of the few I liked over the years, so I replied.  Over a series of back and forth messages, a call was arranged for the next day.

We talked. And we talked. I was in the middle of a full day conference and I missed over an hour of a session.  I made it clear:  I was only interested in looking at a new position outside my industry — still in a marketing and communications role, but not dealing with the types of people I had had to deal with for the past 13-plus years.  I was over that. I was tired. Not just physically, but emotionally.

In 21st century girl speak, I want my “happy” back.

She persuaded me to give the position one more serious thought overnight.  In her words, she said this opening was a rare opportunity since many people working there ended up staying for years.  They had very little turn-over.  This was a place where she proclaimed I would thrive.   They were eager to meet me.  (Huh?  Had she shared my resume with them?  No. But, she’d sold me to them, read off my credentials, talked to them about all I had done and my industry association volunteer efforts.)  I would be challenged, she said, and if I was ultimately hired, it could be a great springboard to even better opportunities.

The next 24 hours, my head was heavy.  I was off Twitter.  I needed to avoid noise.  I needed to think.  Do I pursue this?  I hate (yes, hate) the situation I was currently in.  My job had turned me into someone I didn’t like.  This pint sizer, born in the Age of Aquarius, was dying inside and maybe this was God’s way of helping me to save myself.  He was giving me a lifeline.  Should I take it?  In my heart, how did I feel?

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I rang her up the following afternoon during a very late lunch hour.  Our 35-minute discussion began with my decision which was “thanks but no thanks” and ended with “okay, if you address two issues (yes, I had issues), I’ll have a conversation with them”.  It was a strong “maybe”.

After another phone call the following day, the pendulum swung to a “yes”.  I agreed to an interview.  Two days later, I was in the middle of 65-minute phone interrogation.  I felt it went well.  But, as I told the recruiter when we had our post-interview conversation, I never truly know about these things.  When you think you do well, it may be all in your own head.

Three days later, I was sitting in a shiny conference room with one of the heads of marketing who would be the ultimate decision-maker about who would be offered the position.  Obviously, the phone interview had gone well.  Now I needed to pass interrogation number two.

In another post-interview discussion with the recruiter, I said these words:

“If we don’t hear from them by Friday, then I’ll know they’re not interested.”

Although the department head appeared to like me, appreciated my candor and could see what I had on paper was backed up by substance coming from my mouth, I felt disappointment was lurking.  The recruiter disagreed.  I needed to remain positive, she said, and do away with the silly Friday deadline.

Friday came and went and then into another week we came.  Still, no call.  Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday.

At 8:31 a.m. last week Thursday, I received a voice mail from the recruiter.  The company made an offer to the other candidate.  I was in competition with one other individual who, it seems, had less experience and who was more in harmony with their salary expectations.

I was this close.  It was over.  I was faced with the reality — again — that I would have to suffer through another holiday season in the place I wanted so desperately to escape.  I was going to experience another Times Square ball drop knowing after the hoopla of January 1st, I would be back in the office on January 2nd, 2014.

Just when I thought the tide was changing…

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You want to know what I’m really feeling and thinking?  I should have never bent.  I should have never listened to her.  How many phone calls did we go through?  Six?  Eight?  She’d sung me the song of, “They want you so badly…”.  I was wooed hard.  I got sucked in.

I knew this was going to happen.

I had been down this road so many times in the past.  I’m feeling all kinds of raw right now.  I’ve stifled my feelings since Thursday, but I’m hurt.  I put myself out there and I’m sitting on my couch typing a blog post wishing instead that I was typing a resignation letter.  I would be nervous about starting over in a new place, meeting new people and proving myself to a new set of powers-that-be, but I would be ready — excited at a new experience that lay ahead.

So much for that.

How many times do I comfort myself with, “Everything happens for a reason”?

I’m over it.

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Not seeking, but finding things anyway.

In one week, I came across several items from my life long ago.  They weren’t being sought, I just found them.

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Sometimes when you look back at things with a fresh pair of eyes, you have to wonder about yourself.

There was a scathing e-mail I found sent to one of the executives I work with (yes, I still have to work with this person).  It wasn’t very long, but I did not hold back.  I ripped that clown to shreds and I carbon copied my then boss and human resources.  Holy sh*t.  When I read and re-read the e-mail, even with all the detail, I didn’t remember the incident at all — not one thing.  Sure, it was about 8 or 9 years ago, but you would think I’d remember the incident that brought Fire and Brimstone and Hell Hath No Fury Like A Pint Sizer.  I drew a complete blank.  I’m surprised I wasn’t fired.

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Not only does something show your age, but how outdated your life may be.

I also found the job posting (for the company where I still work to this day), a copy of the resume I used when I applied, my cover letter, the internal announcement to all staff when I was hired and a few other related items.  Things were so much simpler then.  As I struggle through another job search today over a dozen years later, wow, how times have changed.  The recruiter I used has since retired.  The website where the job was posted no longer exists.  (Do people even get responses when applying online any more?)  What really caught my attention were the papers.  They were faded, a bit warped and yellow.  Kind of like my life right now.

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Talk and no action.

I’d been at a deadlock with my resume for some time, so I decided to look back at a few old files on my computer.  I found a career plan and mission statement I’d completely forgotten.  The document wasn’t that old — created about 5 years ago.  What struck me were so many of the things I wanted to change were still unchanged and my sentiments were brutally honest — very raw.  I couldn’t avoid what was in front of me: Doing nothing truly gets you nowhere.

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When it still feels like it was yesterday.

And then I found something I really wished I hadn’t found — my cousin’s obituary.  It’s been over 23 years since his sudden passing.  I was not in a good place then and I’m not a good place now.  His passing was and still is the single most devastating loss in my life.  I idolized him completely.  He was the big brother I never had — smart, funny, protective, bossy.  We were only 14 months apart.  He was everything.  And three months after I last saw him, he was gone.

Now, I’m left wondering what all this means.  I head into another week with questions and no answers.