It hit me with a resounding thud, like a door slamming in my face: cold, hard rejection. The email was addressed to me wasn’t personal. It was an automated message: “Thank you for applying for X. We enjoyed meeting you but have decided to pursue another candidate.”
In other words, we don’t want you. We want someone else. Someone better, probably younger. Someone other than you.
I was surprised by the email because I thought the interview had gone well. I’d had two interviews, one phone and one onsite. Halfway through the second interview, the hiring manager brought in her supervisor—the VP of Finance. We had a nice exchange. The VP asked me if I’d be willing to fill in for the HR Manager when she was on vacation. She also encouraged me to follow up with her after the interview.
As I left, there was a lightness in my step from hope I hadn’t felt in years.
Five years ago, I resigned my full-time HR Director position to care for my father. This unpaid job has been all-consuming and I haven’t really considered working outside the home until the past year or so. Since then, I’ve applied to dozens of jobs with virtually no results, not even a phone screen. So when I was selected for an in-person interview last week, I was excited.
I interviewed on Wednesday and the hiring manager said she expected to make a decision by Friday. I was grateful for the quick turnaround. Although I didn’t want to assume anything, I felt so good about how things went that I was shocked when I was the email. Shocked and deflated.
I understand the problem: I’m over 50 and haven’t worked in five years, making me an undesirable candidate. I’ve tried to mitigate this with strong cover letters speaking to my experience, qualifications and the reasons I’ve been out of work. I’ve emphasized my desire to make a contribution and that I don’t expect to return to my previous level or salary.
But it’s a moot point made by someone who doesn’t matter. My qualifications, experience, education, work ethic. It’s all for naught. The only important thing is my relevance in the workforce today, and I am clearly irrelevant. I have too many years on me and too much time in the shadows.
It is difficult to estimate how many jobs I’ve applied to over the past year. Perhaps 50? These were not random applications but positions that matched my qualifications. Regardless, the response has been bleak, just two phone interviews and one onsite interview. The latter was my interview last week that ended this way: Do Not Reply to this email. This is an automatically generated email.
None of my efforts has made a difference. No doors opened. Most of the time, not even an acknowledgment of my application.
I’m like one of those flip phones hardly seen anymore. They were popular a dozen years ago but people laugh at them now. They’ve been relegated to the elderly. I bought one for my father because he has dementia and can’t understand iPhones.
Somehow it crept on me. I became something superfluous and passé, the non-smartphone. Dated, unmarketable and pushed aside. Not even good enough for an HR Assistant, entry-level role.
I didn’t see it coming and once it was here, it was too late.
Now I’m supposed to talk about not giving up, how the Lord is in control and if He wants me to have a job, He will provide one. I should emphasize the positive: my dad is hanging in there, my husband is employed and we have everything we need. We are both in pretty good health, as are our family members. God has blessed us on many different levels.
All that is true, but so is this: I don’t have the will to apply to another job. I don’t see opportunity; I see a waste of time and energy. I hesitate to feel that flutter of excitement again only to have it dashed.
I want to say I am confident, resolute, and determined. But I’m not. I am drained, resigned, and dispirited. Worse, I feel guilty for writing such a depressing post, even though writing is all I know how to do right now.