Last week, a friend told me a local weekly paper was hiring a county government reporter.

The job was right up my alley; I’d previously covered everything from the opening of a new school to the deployment of local Marines. I was more than qualified.

I immediately called, asked where I could send my resume and started to pray. A few days later, I got an e-mail asking me to come in for an interview. It was a very polite message. “Thank you for your resume,” it read. “It’s impressive and you may be just the person we’re looking for.”

Hope shot through me like a cold chill up my spine.

I e-mailed back – twice.

(Courtesy of Marianne Steffey)

After three days without a reply, I decided to call. When the employer answered the phone, she gave me the ol’ “we’re still taking applications” bit. I knew at that very moment that I didn’t get the job.

Thursday came and I still didn’t have an answer, an e-mail, a phone call, nothing. I called again and this time I got, “Yes, Marianne we thank you for your resume but we’ve decided to go with a guy who works here [in the county] in radio.” I thanked her for her time and consideration, asked her to keep my resume on file and bid her a good day.

I won’t say I cried, because I didn’t. I had rather expected rejection after the first phone call, but that didn’t make hearing “no” any easier.

I kept wondering why they would give the job to someone who already had a job. Don’t they know there are millions of us looking for a job – any job? I’m still wondering why they would inflate my hopes with kind words and compliments when they really didn’t plan on hiring me. Why do that to someone when the truth is easier to handle and doesn’t give you false hopes?

My brain has been racing since then, but through my constant thinking I’ve come to a great revelation: I really didn’t want that job anyway.

I wrote last week about how I was trying to find a different job using the skills I already possess. I’m making a new plan for my future employment and this job didn’t fit into this new plan. My plan involves new opportunities and this job would have only provided me with more of the same. I’ve already done the things I would have been asked to do. Yes, it’s a paycheck, a 401(k) and health insurance, but sometimes those things don’t matter so much. What matters to me is that I grow as a person in the career I choose. It matters to me that I learn new things and can fit easily into this new economy. I want something that’s a challenge and to feel as if I’m contributing to society, this new society.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t have taken the job. I would have started right then and there had they hired me. But I wouldn’t have been happy.

I’m going to keep looking and keep sending out resumes and applications to whoever will accept them. I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open and keep honing my skills. I have a feeling I am going to run across something bigger and better.

 My brain tells me that this job just wasn’t for me. My heart tells me that I can hang on and hold out for something better a little longer. I’m still mulling my new plan and my new ideas and something will come along that fits perfectly into it. I just have to be patient and stay focused. It’ll happen. Hopefully.

Marianne Steffey, a 32-year-old former journalist from Erwin, Tenn., has been unemployed for seven months. Read more about her here. Read about the “Help Wanted” project here. Visit the project home page here.

Read more updates from Marianne Steffey here.