Oh boy. April has been…well, it’s been something. A freaking roller coaster. AGAIN. I’m starting to wonder if there even is such a thing as a calm, simple life. I didn’t think I’d be writing about rejection and disappointment again so soon.
I want to talk about what happened this month, how I’ve handled it, and how different it is from just a few months ago.
In approximate chronological order, April included:
- Getting short notice that my temp position was ending and I was being returned to my base position, losing hours and 40% of my pay.
- Getting 2 different amazingly positive job interviews that sounded like done deals by the time I left, only to get a no from both.
- The new convention that we are booked to attend as vendors (for Harrison’s art) in Baltimore this weekend got abruptly cancelled one week out.
Now, had this all happened back to back LAST year, while I was still in my deep funk, I would be…um…I’m not even sure. It would be really bad. It would be severe depression and retreating into myself. So the good news is, I’m NOT in the same mental place. And I’ve got new tools and methods and outlooks for coping with things and they are working.
Let’s go through each thing, both the bad and the resulting good.
IT’S ALL TEMPORARY
The temp position at my current day job abruptly ended. The key here is that it WAS a temp position, and I knew that. However, there was a lot of talk of it getting extended indefinitely, either if the person I was covering for didn’t come back or to lighten their load and share their duties if they did. At the very least, I would get reasonable advance notice of it ending. So I think I got my hopes up.
It was disheartening to get almost no notice and no communication and just get dropped. I literally had to approach my supervisor myself when I heard through the grapevine that the permanent person was coming back, and then got told “Oh, yeah…we should talk about that. You’ll be going back to your regular position in a week.” Yeah. The pay cut hurts. And so does the fact that I haven’t been scheduled a full 40 hour week since the temp spot ended.
On the other hand, though it’s less money and less hours, I still have a secure job. It still is enough hours to qualify me as “full time” on paper so I keep insurance. Which we still need me to have for now. I got a chance to have some effect, and work a position I had wanted for years. And I learned that it’s awesome but also not actually something I would want to do forever anymore. It helped confirm that I’m on the right path and that my goals and dreams have changed since I first started in that job. Again, I’m trying to roll with it, while also continuing to work on my escape plan.
ESCAPE WAS IN SIGHT
Speaking of the escape plan, part of it is that Harrison and I want to end up in Portland. We knew that, and it has been this nebulous long term goal. And then out of nowhere, two amazing job opportunities in Portland dropped into my lap. The first one I had a phone interview for, then they asked me to come up for an in-person interview. They specifically encouraged me to schedule for a weekend so I could do in-person round 1 on Friday and be available Monday to do possible next round with the boss.
I flew up, had a good interview, explored and narrowed down areas to look for rentals, and made myself have a relaxed weekend with the friends I was staying with. Monday came, and I was told due to unplanned travel, boss wouldn’t be in till later in the week so I should head home for now.
The flight home got delayed 4 hours. I decided to enjoy the good food and beer the airport had to offer. And then received a voucher for the cost of a plane ticket due to the delay. About a week later, I got the call. It was a no.
During that stay, another job opening came across my path, and I submitted myself for that one too. Again, I had a great phone interview. Again, they asked me to come up for in-person talks. Conveniently, I had a voucher that covered the cost of that flight.
The interview felt good. Everything felt good. The vibe and the office and the people were awesome. I realized, as much as I had wanted the first one, I wanted this one 10 times more. It was another weekend crashing with friends, and I actually met some leasing agents and looked at apartments and sent Harrison pictures.
I came back home. The day I flew home, the HR rep contacted me to say the debate was more contentious then expected, that they were really having spirited discussion about the remaining candidates including myself, so the decision was taking a little longer. A few days later, I got the no. I was heartbroken.
NOT ALL BAD
However, instead of just form notices (or no notice at all) about both rejections, I got really positive encouragement and personal feedback from the HR reps of both companies, encouraging me to keep looking for more openings with them. That they were impressed with me and hoped I’d be a fit for another spot with them. I told both how much I appreciated that.
With all the flying back and forth, I racked up a bunch of air reward points. I got to spend time with dear friends and family that I don’t see often enough. We’ve narrowed down to what areas of Portland we want to live in and have a list of rental companies and apartments we like. Instead of nebulous someday, Harrison and I are forming a solid plan and looking at timelines.
I’m looking at it all as “the universe has something better (job-wise) – even if I don’t know what it is yet”.
WHERE DO I EVEN START HERE?
So. The real doozy. Universal Fan Con. New convention specifically promoting diversity and inclusion, happening in Baltimore. “Indefinitely postponed” one week before the event was scheduled. Code for “this is never happening but if we say postponed instead of canceled we can put off refunds”. There’s a LOT to unpack here, and I’m linking to what others have written because the what and how around this con and it’s cancellation are bigger than just us.
Best current overview article (Buckle in, it’s a long a wild ride).
It’s a mess. And the more that gets revealed, the more I’m having some uncomfortable flashbacks to the gig I had last year for a supposed “con organizer”. I want to write in more detail about that at some point soon because of the similarities. Things I didn’t know then, etc.
For us (like many), our travel plans are non-refundable and all paid already. We already had the approved time off from work. Okay, so we figure we’re getting a forced vacation, instead of a working trip. If we aren’t vending at a convention, we have a chance to sight see around Baltimore and beyond. So we’re going to explore and relax and see the Smithsonian and Edgar Allen Poe’s gravesite and hopefully my high-school best friend.
The community has really come together in the wake of all this bullshit and started super-promoting all the artists and vendors who were scheduled to sell there. Harrison is making online sales he might not have before, so we’re recouping some of the cost. In addition, some groups pulled together a one-day pop-up con to help those of us who were displaced so we’ll get to sell some art still and meet some cool people, all while taking less inventory and without the 3 days exhaustion of a full con.
I know we’re luckier than some. We still have day jobs. The convention sales aren’t our exclusive income right now. The travel expenses were booked with our tax refund, so we’re not out money from our regular budget. I’ve been doing my best to help signal boost and promote other artists and vendors who aren’t so lucky.
Am I disappointed? Yes. Frustrated? Hell yes. But I’m also optimistic about what else could be coming. I’m remarkably calm and willing to go with things and see what happens. There are a few things I attribute to this change, not least of all my consistent meds that are actually working well, and 3 books: You Are A Badass, F**k It, The Ultimate Spiritual Way, and The Joy Plan. I really am opening my eyes and looking at things differently after reading these. Will it work for everyone? No. I know that. But they’re good reads, anyway. I’m taking a lot of this as “stop over planning so hard, you can’t know and plan everything”.
Harrison and I are both trying to just roll with everything, and find the good. It’s not easy. And yes, we’re really hoping for some better stuff in May and beyond.