Over the past few weeks I have sporadically written a few posts exploring why I burned out. While this has been helpful in the short run, I am unsure of how much more of this retroactive introspection I will continue. There are multiple reasons for this, not the least of which is simply moving on. While I think it is important to understand ones past to accurately predict ones future, I also think that emotional navel gazing can sometimes go to far. In that light, I am trying to focus on what is coming rather than what has gone.
Today was the first day I expected to hear from potential employers I have contacted. I was almost right. I actually got a rejection email yesterday. And one today. They were not my top-tier job picks, but they also were not at the bottom of the list either. Sitting comfortably in the middle, these were jobs I wouldn’t dread, but also would not be head-over-heals for either. I have been prepared for receiving rejection letters since I began sending out resumes. It would take a hubris far greater than I possess to assume every job I applied for would want to interview me, never mind hire me outright. I get that. I have been on the other end of the table, interviewing and hiring, or not hiring, many people during my tenure at Mullins Center. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting slightly.
I can honestly say I am not used to rejection. I have literally been hired to every job I have ever applied for, until this week. I reached for ambitious positions and clubs throughout my life, and always succeeded. I was even elected president of my college fraternity without even running. (I know that is a humblebrag, but it is my blog after all.) I say all this, not to make you all envious, indeed I am an employed Starbucks regular right now, and that is nothing to envy. The only people here more than me are the baristas, and I even outlasts some of their shifts. That may sound sexy, and it is for a day or two, but after a month of cover letters, resume tweaking, and caffeinated job hunting, it can become sort of depressing.
I am not used to rejection, and that makes these first rounds of rejection harder than they should be. In my mind, I am sure, if they only looked past the fact I was a pastor for so long with no experience in a University fund setting, gave me an interview, and saw me in my new suit and rock star hair, not only would I be offered the job I applied for, but they would tell me that job was beneath me and I should just take their position instead. (Ok, maybe I have a little more pride than I let on.) The hard part is always getting your foot in the door.
When I left Vita Nova, I knew finding a job in a terrible economy would be hard. It was one of the reasons I stayed on as long as I did. I do not regret my decision to leave at this point, it was long overdue. I do hope, though, with the deluge of emails I expect to receive in the next few weeks, a few of them give me an interview date and time, or even an offer to work. Even with the stress of being unemployed with a dwindling bank account, I am still happier than I was two months ago, and I imagine that says a lot. Whether I will stay this upbeat and happy as more rejection emails clog my inbox remains to be seen. I will certainly have more opportunities to befriend the other locals at the coffee shops.
I have been blogging about what had happened over the past six months or so. I am sure there will be other posts related to that, but I sincerely want to redirect my energies in another direction. I want to explore what could be. It is great to salvage what you can after your house burns to the ground, but at some point you need to start rebuilding. I am there. Pastoral burnout is a huge issue, but there are plenty of resources explaining it. There are far fewer voices talking about how to re-imagine a life, redirect a path, and get on getting on. That is the journey I am on now.
Today I am little dejected I was not chosen for some positions I applied to, but instead of wallowing in self-pity and resentment, I will be applying for a few more positions. Like Elsa from Frozen says, “The past is in the past.” (I also plan to blog about Frozen tomorrow, just and FYI.) As frustrating as it is to not have a job, I am lucky to have my health, family, and friends. This next week will be full of more rejections and more prospects, though probably far more of the former. I cannot control circumstances, but since I can control my reaction to them, I will. Instead of letting these responses crush my ambition and drive, I plan to use them to propel me to craft more excellent cover letters and a better resume. Hopefully it works. Also, if you have a job for me, I’m available. Resume and cover letter upon request.