Carrying On

My dream job rejected me this week.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been engaging in the interview process at Automattic, the company behind my personal favorite internet product WordPress and its sister service WordPress.com. Towards the end of June, deciding to take a greater interest in the WordPress community, I started frequenting the WordPress.com and Automattic sites more often in search of new resources or an opportunity to connect with fellow bloggers. While I was on Automattic’s site, I started reading their Work With Us page which, if you read it for yourself, basically sounds like the ultimate dream job for someone like myself. Someone who enjoys tinkering around with WordPress-based websites so much that it’s become a small obsession. Honestly, just reading online about their work culture and job benefits alone makes it sound ideal for anyone, much less a WordPress pro!

While I’m not very experienced with coding, programming, and don’t have too many hard developer skills yet, I’ve been doing what I can to learn HTML and CSS in my spare time on Codecademy. On top of that, I also know a good deal about WordPress and have had an account on WordPress.com for over a decade. I’ve also been working in a corporate office environment for going on three years where I provide what I feel is usually amazing customer support for our clients. So while I’m not unhappy or dissatisfied with that job, I felt like the role of Happiness Engineer would be right up my alley. Spending my day helping customers figuring out their own WordPress? Sounds like a job that was created just for me! So I sent in my resumé and put forth my best efforts to convince the folks in charge of that as well.

Sadly, Automattic didn’t seem to agree. I’m proud that my resumé and application stood out enough that I was invited to do a small project for them, which then led to an hour-long text chat interview on Slack with a member of their hiring team, which then led to a follow-up questionnaire with sample customer support questions. But that’s where my progress in their lengthy interview/trial process came to an end. I’m bummed that I didn’t get to move on to the “paid trial” portion of the process to be given a real chance — especially since I felt like I truly shined during the Slack interview and was so excited afterwards! — but unfortunately there were probably better, more experienced candidates waiting in the wings for a job. People who very likely deserve it or even need it more than I do right now.

That still didn’t stop me from tweeting my feelings with a Buffy .gif yesterday morning though:

When I received my rejection email however, I was hurt. I felt defeated and incredibly discouraged. Like I wasn’t really getting anywhere and like maybe all my progress over the last couple of years has been for nothing. The woman who conducted my Slack interview encouraged me to stay active in the WordPress community and continue honing my skills to show off when I re-apply should the job remain an interest in the future. And just maybe I’ll do that. But maybe there’s also something better in my future, too. I just know that I’m not happy feeling like I’m getting nowhere. I don’t like feeling like the only one that good things aren’t happening for.

But here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to get some sleep tonight. I’m going to take Tigger for his vet follow-up tomorrow afternoon. And then I’m spending the rest of my weekend with WordPress. I’ll keep creating with it — because I love it, regardless of how its creators might feel about me — and I will keep learning it. I’m also going to start reading Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, one of the books on Automattic’s recommended reading list. I’ll keep working and I’m going to return to school in the fall. I’m going to keep learning and keep trying. And one day, those good things will start happening. At least I hope they will.

We are intrepid. We carry on.
– Kirsten Dunst, ‘Elizabethtown’

Time to keep carrying on. But maybe with a pout for the next few days.

  • Reginald Nash

    I’m going to say something incredibly cliche to you. “Don’t take this result personally”. I say it because it really applies and I say it because many of the greats were denied over and over again before the door opened. It sucks and I know how you feel. I have been there and continue to be there, but hard won success makes us that much more grateful and benevolent when we receive it. Keep it pushing friend. 😊

    • Excellent advice. I’m most definitely trying not to take the rejection too personally. I know one day I’ll be looking back at moments like this and shaking my head at how silly it all seemed. Thanks for the feedback, Reginald!

  • Michelle Wilson Berkemeier

    I felt the same way when I applied at the new hospital here in town. I made it through a phone and two personal interviews, then nada. Having been on the hiring end of things, I know it’s not personal, but it sure is damn disappointing on the wanting the job side of things. Then, when they called again about another position, it didn’t pay enough. I need to put more effort into a job search, but it’s really discouraging as I get older.

    • I definitely understand feeling discouraged as you get older. I’m only 32 and I’m already to a place where it feels like companies are only looking for twentysomethings fresh out of college that they can get away with paying as little as possible. And it is disappointing because I feel like it’s so rare for us to stumble across an opportunity that actually sounds perfect and maybe even promising. And then when it doesn’t happen, you definitely hit that feeling of, “Well now what?”

      I would take it as a good sign that they called back to offer you a different position though. It means that they liked you well enough to commit you to memory and/or held on to your resumé for when something else cropped up. I think that goes to show that your age didn’t play into their expectations, at any rate!

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