Rejection and other love letters

August 25, 2011

This morning’s e-mail inbox was stuffed with the usual assortment of stuff – missives from friends, spam, newsletters…and four rejection letters.  There were two in the post office box so that makes six in one day – just short of a personal record of nine.

I should be used to rejection letters, but I still get a stabbing pain in the heart every time I read this:

“Thank you for your interest in (name of company here) and your recent submission to our PR/Communications/Media position. We have reviewed your resume/CV and have decided to pursue other candidates whose qualifications are more closely aligned with the position requirements and our current business needs.”

I want to write them back and ask: Who is better than I? You listed the things you wanted and I hit every one of them. 

Experience in PR and journalism? Check.


(Courtesy of Stephen Rhymer)

Experience on both sides of the TV camera? Check.

Experience with social media? Check.

Experience writing press releases, speeches, etc? Check.

Fundraising knowledge?  Degree? Willing to relocate? Check. Check. Check.

Why not me? Why not even an opportunity to talk with me about the position and what I can bring to your table?

I’m sure my resume was scanned into some nifty-keen HR software package that looks for certain keywords, nabs the resumes that score well and dumps the rest of us a rejection letter. That’s how it’s done these days. Your resume is pre-qualified before a human ever sees it. 

So I began my daily ritual of reading the morning papers (online) and came across an entry from my “Help Wanted” colleague Marianne Steffey. She almost got a job last week and then started reflecting on whether that’s the job she really wants.

I know the feeling. I’m also developing a case of the been-there-done-that blues. I’d like to latch on to a job that allows me to do what I really want to do.

That of course, brings up the eternal question: “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

In philosopher extraordinaire Scott Dinsmore’s latest blog, he says the biggest obstacle we all have is the fear to run toward our dreams instead of giving in to our fears

He’s right. I’ve been living the past couple of years in fear: of the unknown, of failure, of never getting a job or paycheck again, of not knowing how to get back on track, of what my peers and friends think … of being me.

As Scott so often points out, it’s only up to you as to how you want to live your life.

If you want to be an accountant, do it.

If you want to be a trash collector, do it.

If you want to blog – blog.

Whatever it is that is your passion, whatever it is that brings fire to your life, ignites your soul – that is what you should go for with all the gusto and enthusiasm you can muster.

So all of you out there in the blog universe, if you know of someone looking for a left-handed, guitar-playing, yoga-practicing, Internet-savvy, thinker-dreamer who can converse in topics ranging from the works of Annie Dillard to those of Victor Parachin to current affairs and, most importantly, is a writing whirlwind, send them my way.

Stephen Rhymer, a 59-year-old former public relations official from Edmond, Okla., has been unemployed for two and a half years. Read more about him here. Read about the “Help Wanted” project here. Visit the project home page here.

Read more updates from Stephen Rhymer here.

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