Over a month ago, I applied to a very well paying freelance writing job; one that would have doubled my income and for which I was well-qualified. It would have been a step up as a writer, moving to a writer that sees over 40 million visitors a month.
The month-long application process had me submit several samples of writing, receive editorial feedback on them, and then adjust for that feedback and return the final, edited articles. The whole process went amazingly well; the editor appeared to really like my style and had few edits to suggest over the entire process, and I didn’t feel like I was working with a crazy editor.
My hopes were high as the process continued, and I had many friends tell me I had it in the bag – simply had to. I wasn’t quite so sure; I knew I’d be competing with other applicants, and I’ve never thought I was “the best.” The final week was particularly tense; I was waiting every day to hear a final decision, with lots of love and support from my friends, most of whom are writers themselves.
Yesterday, while in the midst of something else, I saw my email notifications pop up for the newest emails I’d received. On the top was a familiar editor’s name and the subject line “Hiring Decision.” I didn’t want to open it just then; I knew if the answer was no that I’d be stung, but I couldn’t wait to see either if I had reason for celebration.
A few moments later, I hoarsely told my husband, “I didn’t get it,” and then left a quiet message for my friends online before sulking away for a while to cry.
I hadn’t put faith in me getting the job, but it had meant a lot. Double the income would have made my current life struggles easier, given me a little less stress. This was also a job that I had been looking to get for over two years now, scrambling back time and time again to find that writing position I qualified for so I could apply. I had actually found an opening when checking for a friend instead of myself. I felt good about it; good karma, good vibes, even a lucky charm from a far more experienced writer friend. I had confidence that I had put my best foot forward, and that it was a pretty good looking foot.
In the end, though, you can still look amazing and not be the right “fit.” For my rejection, it did end up being a tight race, where the winning candidate (and whoever you are, congratulations!) had a style that they liked, or that fit, a little bit more. I was encouraged to seek out another position as they were “pleased with the work” and thought I might still find a fit somewhere. Unfortunately, there is nothing open for me at the present time, but at least I know I didn’t, well, suck it up.
It’s true, I cried, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I knew that my writing was liked, I knew nothing really hinged on me getting the position, but it still hurt. I’d put a month of work into the application process, had a host of friends cheering me on, and ended up being let down – and letting them down, in return. Some of my friends were outraged, or shocked, or just sad for me.
After letting out some of my tears, I just toughed up and moved on with a new energy reapplied to my writing efforts. I’d already started the week off great, caught up and with my plan back in action, and I wasn’t going to let a rejection stop me. In fact, applying for the job gave me a whole new vision of work I could do, which I can now turn to my current clients. I’m not scared to apply for a new writing gig when the time comes; in fact, I’m energized to know that I cut it really close at a big client who still is open to seeing me write for them.
The whole process gives me a tiny glimpse into what it’s like to be rejected not for a writing job, but to have a manuscript rejected by an editor. I spent a month putting myself into this position; what it must feel like to have a manuscript with years poured into it rejected I can only vaguely imagine.