What Hurts the Most

When I’m doing the general perusal of job sites and apply for jobs that sound mildly interesting, never hearing back is not great, but it’s not terrible, either.

Then there are the ones that are shattering.

It’s probably my own fault for even getting my hopes that high in the first place–but alas, it is my blessing and curse to have a seemingly endless stream of unconscious optimism.

Blizzard Entertainment placed an ad on their website looking for a public relations assistant. Now if you’ve read my About Me or even know me somewhat well, you know that I play Blizzard’s most famous game, World of Warcraft, on a regular basis. I’m a nerd about the lore and story and pride myself on being good at the game (when I am hopelessly terrible at most other ones). Being a public relations assistant for Blizzard sounded fantastic. It’s in Irvine, CA, which is close to where my cousins live, it’s warm, it’s a company that’s well-established, and come on…writing press releases for their events like BlizzCon and new developments for games, etc…I was already dreaming of having the job and working for them, moving there and really enjoying what I did. I felt like I wrote the most fantastic cover letter yet–it entailed my professional skills, experience, and accomplishments, as well as an excerpt of why working for Blizzard would be perfect for me.

I recently discovered Blizzard Entertainment games. I began playing World of Warcraft shortly before the release of Cataclysm in November 2010. I have never found a video game that I was able to strategize, learn about quickly, and execute it in order to maximize my skill. In the year that I’ve been playing, I’ve enjoyed learning about a particular class I’m playing and executing what I’ve learned to become a great player. I am currently one of the best healers in my guild.

This is only one of the examples that show that I learn quickly, and am able to execute duties easily after completing them once or twice. At the same time, I realize that there is always room for improvement and am open to criticism and new ways of completing duties quickly and efficiently. The public relations/marketing assistant position sounds like the perfect fit for me, a position where I can bring my best to the table, but learn and grow in a company that I would have the pleasure of promoting a product that I use and enjoy myself every day.

See what I mean? I showed it to my parents and to Josh, and all three of them gave their thumbs-up approval before I stared at it on the application screen while pressing “submit”.

About three weeks later, I received an email stating that they were pursuing other candidates. I was glad to have at least received a response so I wasn’t left wondering, but was still sad about it. The life I was imagining disappeared in a puff of smoke, just as quickly as it had come.

However, this rejection was nothing like the next one I have to share.

Right before I graduated from college, I had applied to work at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco as an administrative assistant for their photography department. I recently came across their website again and thought that maybe I should apply. On their website, they were advertising an interview day at the university. Excited that this could be my opportunity to shine, I immediately asked for the day off at work, made plans to take Josh with me and go in on BART, printed a couple copies of my resume, and picked my interview clothes. I was prepared to let them know exactly why they should hire me and do it well.

The night before, I finished up at work and drove straight up to Josh’s. We went to bed early and got up at 5 to get ready and head to Richmond to catch the BART in. After a slight mishap with which exit to take and some funny looks from people while turning around at gas stations, we made it to Richmond. I was overjoyed that the parking was free, and we boarded the BART for San Francisco. It had been a long time since I had taken the BART from Richmond, and was surprised to see San Francisco’s tall buildings through the thin fog on the coastline. I found myself looking forward to making this commute if I got the job.

When we arrived at the Montgomery St. Station, I stopped at the top of the stairs and was instantly hit again with how much I want to work in San Francisco. The coast’s mild weather, the city-feel and the beach within reach, plus the ability to walk or take public transportation anywhere; it all makes the city intriguing. We briskly walked down New Montgomery toward Academy of Art University. When we stepped inside, we were greeted by a sign advertising the interview day. We crowded into the tiny elevator with two professors and rode up to the fifth floor. Josh wished me luck and went back down to the lobby to wait while a staff member handed me an application form and told me to return it to her when I was done. I sat to fill it out. There were several people there right at 8 a.m., to my slight surprise. Once I was finished, I saw that a line of people had gathered. Assuming they were waiting in line to be called for an interviewer, I bypassed the line and tried to hand the original staff member my application.

One of the interviewers was standing there. “What are you doing?” he asked, a little harshly.

“I’m turning in my application,” I said, not realizing why he was talking to me like that.

“I think that’s what all those other people in line are doing,” he said sharply.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize,” I said, and moved to the back of the line immediately. Once my turn came, I smiled at the lady taking the applications and she seemed surprised that I was applying for more than one position. After she clarified it, she told me to sit back down and they would call me when they were ready for me. I sat back down, suddenly a lot more nervous and feeling less confident than I had the day before. And of course, with my luck, the interviewer that called me was the one who had told me that I was cutting the line. Feeling even more embarrassed and feeling my confidence draining, I followed him down the hallway to a classroom to have my short interview.

I knew while I was talking throughout it that I didn’t sound confident, I sounded very nervous, could barely figure out what words to use, and sounded cliche’ when I talked about my passion for art in its various forms. Once again, I felt like I failed to convey my feelings about the position, and was disappointed when the interviewer didn’t give me his name or contact card so I could even send a follow-up email. I decided to be optimistic and wait to hear back, which he said I would by the next week.

Josh and I left, went to get coffee, and walked around a little to get the jitters out of my system. We enjoyed our day together in the city and headed back to Richmond. We had an adventure getting my car out of the lot (since it’s free parking with valets, they park cars into the lot, and then have to move the cars in order for the owners to get out). I was fairly miffed like this, and kept telling Josh over and over again how “asinine” it was. We managed to get my car out of the parking spot and left for home.

The next week, I got my follow-up email to see if I got a second interview. I had applied for at least five positions, and not a single second interview. I was devastated to say the least–simply because I felt as if the whole thing had been botched from the beginning.

Although I’m beginning to come out of the funk that this particular experience put me into, I’m starting to wonder what my options are at all. Trying to get a job from these methods is not working. I don’t have the instant charisma to have people think I’d be a good fit right off the bat, they usually have to see me work for a day or two before they realize I would be an excellent asset to their company. At the same time, it’s making me feel that maybe the normal workforce is not what I am cut out for. Maybe writing novels is what I need to be doing, and have a job that is a creative outlet but is not necessarily the norm. Finding something like that will take some hard work and dedication. I just have to find it within myself. Meanwhile, I am thinking that I will ask my contacts in Napa Valley again about potential jobs or even freelance gigs. Something’s got to give.

2 thoughts on “What Hurts the Most

  1. Reen says:

    I admire your courage and tanacity when you apply for these jobs. It took guts to travel to SF for that interview. I’m going to take job hunting tips from you even though you’re not so sure you’re good at it. Not to sound asinine (ha!) but I feel I have a Yoda to go to when my time comes.
    Also, a different approach never hurt anyone…keep searching for what you want.


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