The uncertainty of it all

By the weekend it was clear that I had not been successful in last week’s telephone interview. Yet again, I had been turned down for a position with yet another company that I knew I could have done really well in. It really began to piss me off when I thought about all the lazy arsed managers this year who couldn’t be bothered to give me a chance.

I couldn’t help but mention what was going on to P because, although I’ve been pretty fed up with him recently, he remains the only person who knows all my history and the only person I feel able to turn to at the worst times. We met for lunch on Sunday and it was ok, nothing memorable. He offered all the platitudes and sympathy that I expected. Anyway, I was probably better off seeing him than spending the day on my own.

On Monday I had to put my happy face on for an assessment for a HR job in the public sector. I felt a little better on waking that morning, and I went to the day with high hopes. Over all I thought it went well. Seventeen of us candidates had to participate in a suite of group and individual tasks, designed to test our skills. I was nervous when I got there but so was everyone. After an icebreaker task I was chatting to people normally and, dare I say it, enjoying myself.

At the end I left on a high and managed to have a good chat with one of the other candidates on the way to the station. We knew that only a few of us would get through to interview stage next week and the chances were that many of us would never see each other again – how strange it is to chat and laugh with people I’ve never met and will never meet again. I’ve always found the idea of it strange and off putting, talking to strangers that might mean nothing to me in the scheme of things. Of course, with an individual stranger you can never guess the impact they’re going to have on your life in advance, they could end up becoming a friend or someone very special. But in most situations, eg. job interviews, when you know they’re probably going to be out of your life soon enough, I’ve always found talking openly unnatural. It’s why I was nervous when I went there on Monday, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it. As soon as I stopped thinking about it, miraculously I could do it just as well as anyone else.

I came home really hoping that I would get to the second stage interview. It definitely was a golden job opportunity and I spent the subsequent three days thinking about it almost constantly.

On Tuesday I was surprised to be presented with another job opportunity, this time with a high street bank, to whom I’d applied for a customer service position at head office ages ago. They called me for a telephone interview and, although I went into it assuming I’d do badly because I’d done badly in all previous telephone interviews, by the end of the fifteen minute chat they were inviting me to a face to face interview next week. Apparently I’d impressed them by knowing about the job and the company in advance, and by being able to string a sentence or two together no doubt. Before they could confirm my face to face interview time I just had to do an online intelligence test. Once I’d completed the test they would get in touch with me with my results and let me know the next step. I did the test straight away – it was a pretty basic intelligence test which I found quite easy. I hoped the recruiter would get back in touch with me that afternoon but he didn’t. That’s ok, I thought, he’ll probably get in touch tomorrow.

Wednesday came and went, and I heard nothing. No news from the bank and no news from the HR job either. Today came, still nothing. To have thought I’d done well in an interview situation only to be disappointed once should have been enough; to have it happen twice in a week was worse; to have it happen three times in a week, if we include last week’s failure as well, was pretty dire. It’s no use telling myself to keep going and accept that there will always be rejection to overcome in life, I have this head and it’s not going anywhere.

On Monday when I was still excited about the HR job I decided to attend the gay step meeting for the first time in about four years. A long time ago I was the tea-maker there; in simpler times, making the tea there every week was my biggest worry in life. It was a good meeting with lots of honest, raw sharing that I needed to hear. There was a little awkward moment when someone that I used to know from the Wednesday meeting that I fell out with turned up. I managed to ignore it fairly successfully though. I shared more honestly than I ever used to in my early days, about what’s going on and the difficulties I’ve had in recent recovery. People had been talking about shyness in meetings and that thing that happens sometimes when you sit in a room and feel resentful that no one’s coming up to talk to you. I thought I was the only person that that happened to.

On Tuesday I attended the newcomer group in west London again. It’s been so nice to get back into that meeting recently; this week more than ever I felt a part of things, like I was at home. Again I had to remind myself that it’s about making a constant effort, not taking the fellowship and other benefits for granted.

With disappointment heaped on disappointment in the job situation, I took myself to the busy lunch time meeting in town yesterday because there was nothing else I felt I could do. The chair that I heard was just right for me in that moment: they talked about difficulties in later recovery, accepting that life doesn’t stop happening when you’re sober, learning to live with anxiety and frustrations and deal with it all in a sober way. It was another honest and raw share in a week full of them. I felt a bit better for hearing it. But then I came home and started thinking about jobs again and it all just got a bit much.

Today I’ve been trying to throw all the tools of recovery at the problem because I am, to be quite frank, fed up of feeling like I have failed somehow. Yeah, it’s disappointing to face yet more rejection, to know that I’ve applied for about fifty positions in the past two months and not one of these applications has turned into a job. My ego says I should have got much further than square one by now. But clearly I’m supposed to be where I am right now – I don’t know why, it just is what it is. It would be terrible to have to start eating into the money that I had set aside for a mortgage deposit. I’m not quite there yet, but I will be in a month or so if I don’t have a job. I mean, there was little point in setting it aside for that purpose if I was only going to use it for living expenses. If I let my thoughts go too far, I can start to think that there was no point in leaving my last job.

Recovery head reminds me that of course there was a point in leaving my last job. I was unhappy there, and leaving gave me the chance to travel around Europe, live a dream. I can’t afford to start thinking that I made a mistake because I haven’t.

I can’t control my current situation and I can’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I left my old job and there’s no going back. I’ve got to learn to live with the uncertainty that comes about from the deafening silence of recruiters. I have to go back every day to the AA program, which after nearly nine years still isn’t something I find easy to do in these situations. I have to go back to it and keep the faith that my HP has a plan in all this, and my HP will provide for me. Lord, how tough that is!


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