Reading time: 4 mins
We Regret To Inform You…
It was 3 weeks ago when I wrote that application form. It was for a coding internship at a world renowned media organisation that tackled issues that I cared about. This was the perfect job for me – my golden ticket into the world of Tech. When I submitted the form, although I fought it, my mind started thinking about prepping for the Assessment Centre… then passing the interview & getting the job… meeting my new colleagues… going out for ‘Happy Hour’ and talking about which Star Trek Captain was better James T Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard?
3 weeks of wondering, wishing & waiting.
Then the email appeared. This is it. I opened it & here’s what it said:
“Dear Karl,Thank you for your recent application for the ________ internship (so far so good) but we regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful…”
My heart sank as I read them say something about ‘keeping my name on the system’ and wishing me ‘all the best.’
To be honest, I’m not made at the organisation – considering the possible thousands of apps they received, I’m grateful that they let me know. But I really wanted that position – like a little 4 year old kid wants McDonalds… and it hurts.
But according to the ‘Motivational Brigade’ it would be because ‘I didn’t want it bad enough so I didn’t manifest it.’
Nonsense. As I grow older, I realised that something’s just won’t work out no matter how hard I try.
So… What do you do? Drown yourself in Ben & Jerrys & give up? Nope. Here’s 3 things I think you should do…
1) Feel Bummed Out
“Hold on!” I hear you say. Didn’t you just say being depressed is not the answer?
It’s not. I’m saying to call it what it is. If the situation sucks, it sucks.
In our hyper-positive, ultra motivated world, we’re bullied into thinking that we should ‘stick a smile on our face and always be happy’ or ‘push through the pain’. But ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. This is like seeing a friend break a limb and then telling them to ‘dust yourself down and walk it off’ – that ain’t happening.
If positivity causes you to deny the situation then that is delusion. Unless you’re Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling, don’t live in Lala-Land. See it for what it is, what it is, mourn what it could have been or what you lost. Give yourself some space.
2) Take A Break
Apart from learning to code, I’ve also been hustling to whether I could find any internships of paid work experience. Like Gollum with his ‘precious’, I was constantly researching and analysing all the possible routes in. Michael Scofield would have been proud.
But after the rejection letter, I decided to take a break. Taking a break doesn’t mean quitting. Sometimes you need to take a break to restore your strength. As I wrote in a previous post, we are not machines – our bodies need the right balance of work and recovery. Sometimes in pursuit of our goals, we forget about about everything else – and risk being burnt out. Taking time out can help with Step 3…
3) Take Away The Lesson
After taking Steps 1 and 2 will help it easier to take this step. What did you learn? How could it have been handled better? Now for some people, they do this by expressing gratitude or seeing the ‘Silver Lining.’ In our culture, many believe that every bad thing, if you look hard enough, has seeds of good in it. But me being me, I look at things differently: there are loads of different meanings in the same situation both good and bad and ultimately it’s YOU that draws meaning from it. Depending on how big, traumatic or sudden it is, this can be a life long process.
Although I’m disappointed by not getting the internship, on the cosmic-scale of things, it’s not Earth shattering. But when facing the bigger challenges of life, death, sickness or relationships, although there maybe pain, I don’t look for the positive, but look at the learning. Learning from difficult situations may not be instant either – sometimes these processes can take weeks, months or even years – but don’t be too hard on yourself, that’s all part of being human. What I have found is once I have fully absorbed the learning then the positivity tends to walk walk behind it.
As always, thank you for reading. Do you agree with these steps? What would you add? As always, drop a comment below or hit me up @karlwebdev.
See you next Thursday!