Journalism · Legal Career · Tunes and Film

The Perfect Rejection

There’s something about seemingly never-ending job searching that fills me with unbridled hopelessness and worthlessness. When I graduated from undergrad 5 years ago I faced a terrible economic recession that will probably never see a full recovery. I never quite found a job in the journalism industry and so I gave up on it altogether. There were many other reasons why I walked away from journalism, but the dwindling need for journalists in an era of blogging and internet was a huge reason. Journalism paved the perfect path for law school though, and I guess my desperate search for jobs then has prepared me well for the rigors of the one I’m facing now. I knew what the legal market looked like before I delved into law school, and I will never regret my decision for going. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life, but I found all of it so interesting. I love that law melds with my journalism background perfectly, and it allows me plenty of opportunity to meet new people.

But, my love for law does not make job searching any easier. I have been desperately trying to stay busy with volunteering gigs and of course the actual job searching process itself is quite time consuming depending on the level of detail one wants to place on the applications. I’ve been on several interviews but not all of them have been for actual associate attorney positions and as I feel my level of desperation rise I find myself looking elsewhere–for any chance to prove that I can do this. I’m not that great at networking, but I have been trying my best to stay in touch with old supervising attorneys and professors for any sort of help. Every once in awhile I need to remind myself that my competition is fierce, and that it isn’t because I suck at job searching.

Two weeks ago today I interviewed for a full-time law clerking type position, and I felt like I absolutely nailed the interview. I had outstanding rapport with the owner of the firm, and I felt like I was able to handle all of his curve-ball questions with grace and persistence. I thought this firm would be a great starting point for me. The following week I received a voice-mail from this same firm asking for me to call back. Naturally, I got my hopes up. Who wouldn’t? To my indescribable disappointment, I was told that I didn’t get the position, but check out a paraphrased version of the phone call:

[Jen, I thought you were amazing. I know you’ll make a great lawyer, and I was very impressed with you. The only thing that separated you from the candidate we ended up selecting was that he had a heavy background in the area of law we practiced in. In an era of hairsplitting hiring decisions this was an incredibly hard decision to make for us. I hesitated calling you because I didn’t want to get your hopes up. We usually just send a letter, but I didn’t think my letter would make it clear how awesome I thought you were. ]

I was completely awestruck that this owner of a busy law firm actually took the time to physically call me and explain in great detail why he selected someone else and what my strengths were. This just doesn’t happen. Ever. I could feel my eyes water as he gushed about me, and I knew that in so many ways I needed to hear that I’m a strong candidate, and that I didn’t screw up the interview. Yes, it stinks that I still missed the mark, but that phone call filled me with so much hope. God knows that I’m struggling with feelings of inadequacy during this chapter in my life, and this firm owner’s words meant so much more to me than I think he realized.

This experience also reminded me to continuously count my blessings. I remind myself everyday that I have a solid education, that my husband has a good job, that my family is healthy and that I do have people in my life who care about me. Job searching is emotionally exhausting, and I’m honestly terrified and scrambling to do what I can right now to keep my legal skills from rusting. I’m so incredibly thankful for the volunteering opportunities I’ve received, and I know my day will come. I’m just working on the patience aspect of this whole thing because right now I am absolutely dying to show the world what I can do.

In other news, my childhood dreams came true last night in a bright spectacle of jumping, singing and falling in love all over again with the band Hanson. Oh yes, at 26 years old I went to a Hanson concert. This has been something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl, and I finally made it to a show with a couple friends. I was not disappointed. They were absolutely incredible live, and it was so much fun!

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I really wish my pictures came out better, but it was nearly impossible to capture a decent shot through all the jumping, singing and screaming. My favorite part of the show was their unique showing of talent. Each member took turns playing different instruments throughout the show. These boys are so unbelievably talented, and I’m so stoked that I was finally able to see them live. I can hardly believe they’ve been around for 16 years, and they just recently released their 6th album! Not many artists can say that, and what’s more, their fan base is still strong. I could learn a lot from Hanson–persistence, dedication and passion can carry someone far.

I’ll leave you  with the crazy difference 16 years can make. Here’s Hanson around when Mmmbop came out in the late 90s and again this year during their Anthem tour. AWESOME.

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2 thoughts on “The Perfect Rejection

  1. Jennifer, this paragraph: [Jen, I thought you were amazing. I know you’ll make a great lawyer, and I was very impressed by you. The only thing that separated you from the candidate we ended up selecting was that he had a heavy background in the area of law we practiced in. In an era of hairsplitting hiring decisions this was an incredibly hard decision to make for us. I hesitated calling you because I didn’t want to get your hopes up. We usually just send a letter, but I didn’t think my letter would make it clear how awesome I thought you were. ]

    Is so amazing!

    I love you.

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