The Art of Accepting Your Rejection Call

Prepwork: Drink a lot of coffee so you can stay up late applying for jobs.
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Step 1: Apply to a lot of great jobs in your dream field with your dream degree that you just earned.

Step 2: Keep your diploma in it’s frame in the box… ready for your first office wall.

Step 3: Know that you might be in a cubicle.

Step 4: The Phone interview
1. Be exactly what they’re looking for.
2. Be yourself. But not too much of it.
3. Play up your enthusiasm for the job:
“I know that this is exactly where I want to be right now.”
Oh…. wait… that’s not playing it up. That’s my life. Yep, I do actually want to live in a “dorm” with 18 year olds, guiding them through the metaphorical $hit storm that is life.
4. Show them that you DO have weaknesses, when they’re actually strengths.
“I work too hard” — Employer: GREAT You’ll fit right in!
“I enjoy long days and minimal sleep” — Employer: We have the perfect position for you!
5. End with amazing questions that they’ve never heard before:
….. Oh, wait… I don’t have any of those…
6. Wait for a call-back.

The Call-Back
Me: “Hello, this is Lindsay.”
Potential Employer: “Hi, Lindsay this is such-and-such university. We’re glad we reached you, are you free to chat?”
Me: (Totally have not been waiting by the phone jumping everytime it rings only to see on CallerID that it’s just my parents asking me to get milk or bread from the store) “Yeah, definitely.”
Potential Employer: “Just wanted to let you know that we’ve offered the job to someone else and they have accepted, so our search process has concluded.”
Me: “Yeah, oh that’s great. I’m so excited for you and your department. We’ll keep in touch. I loved getting to know you all.”
Potential Employer: “Oh you’re so great, Lindsay. You’re going to be awesome where ever you go.”

So, something like this played out for me a few days ago…

My mom woke up this morning and told me that she had a nightmare that I didn’t get a job.

I told her quickly that the nightmare wasn’t just a dream. That actually happened yesterday 😉

Being my ever optimistic self, I know that this is just one speed bump on the way to a beautiful road trip. So, here’s to new beginnings. Again. And many more amazing opportunities to come.

Good luck to all my friends in the midst of job searches.
We ARE amazing and we all are going to be great.

We just have to convince the employers of this small detail 😉

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The Job Search (or as I’d like to call it “speed dating”)

I’m two weeks out from the three-day job placement conference and I still feel tired. I speed dated my way through five schools with whom I tried to portray myself as naturally and enthusiastically as possible despite my innate dislike of bragging about myself.

The whirlwind of interviews began with nervousness and ended with confidence. “I like you, do you like me?”  Or rather “I love the work you’re doing, do you see me as a natural fit for your department?” It’s a dating game. 30 minutes of getting to know the person on the other side of the table. Maybe an hour the next day with a new face or two from that same department, all in the name of “Can we get along and make a difference in the lives of students together?” And then I move onto my next date, or rather interview. With another great school. And another hour and a half of getting to know each other. And I say to myself, “Yeah, I can see myself with you, too.” I walk away from the interviews feeling exhilarated and excited for my options.

And yet, the hard part begins: the waiting game.

I feel like this is what it all comes down to.

I applied to grad school. And waited to hear back.
I got accepted to grad school. And waited for it to start.
I turned in papers. And waited for a grade.
I applied to jobs. And now I wait.

What I’ve realized is that so much happens in those times of waiting. I look back and see these milestones of accomplishment (and defeat) and can see the time in between those as a blur of growth, discovery, pain, and happiness.

Applying to grad school was not hard. But focusing on the “here and now” of my last semester of college was. I poured my life back into my friends and my studies and told my parents to wipe the dust from my room at home.

And then I got the phone call.

Being accepted to grad school wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. I was scared. I questioned my preparedness. I spent my summer doing an internship that affirmed why I was pursuing this degree and what I wanted out of it. And then it made sense again.

I hunched over my computer and my notebooks at night for countless hours and submitted myself to the scrutiny of my professors’ red pens and critical eyes. And I learned about focus. And topics that excite me. And how to work on a deadline. And what I need to de-stress. And then I would get my grades back and learn that it wasn’t about that outcome, but rather the process.

I applied to five beautiful jobs in the Northwest. I wrote individualized cover letter after cover letter, asking myself the whole time if this was really what I wanted. And then I interviewed with those schools. The ease at which I was able to talk about my excitement for working with students raised my confidence with each word I spoke.

I may not speak using an academic lexicon. I may never get an A on a paper. But I will bring passion into what I do. And if that’s not what a school is looking for, then they’re definitely not gonna go for this ball of energy that is me.

As I wait to hear back about ANYthing concerning my future, I am reminded constantly (mostly by friends) to breathe.

Just breathe.

And on that note, I’m going to get back to work. Taking the time to breathe in my experience over the last few weeks via furious tapping at my keyboard has been lovely, but I’ve got parent newsletters to send out and room changes to authorize.

Always waiting, always smiling,

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The Familial Glue

There are many reasons that could explain why I have not written since September. Many of them have to do with grad school, many have to do with family, and many, many more have to do with lack of commitment 😉

The simplest one is that I have been writing, just not here.

In December, I turned in a 10,000 manuscript that detailed the relationships and narratives that have shaped my life. “Leaving Lauren: A Scholarly Personal Narrative on Finding my True North” is about autism, love, family, and connecting with people. It is about not being afraid to feel. Not being afraid to ask questions. And most importantly, not being afraid of the answers.

While the writing is about those things, it’s also about how I was, and am still, afraid to feel, afraid to ask questions, and afraid of hearing the answers. But I’m doing those things. I’m living, and loving, and learning and not looking back (for too long, at least).

Recently, SPN writing has become a way for me to be me, even if it’s just in my writing. My upbringing, my family, and my experiences are all parts of stories that come together to form my way of seeing the world. SPN writing proves to me that I am not alone. My story belongs to me, but also to anyone else who will listen. Reading others’ SPNs makes me feel a sense of connection that I value in all arenas of my life. After all, as Brené Brown says, “Connection is why we’re here, it gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

These are the words that sum up what that 10,000 word experience was for me. My mom and I share a lot in common, but one of the newest ones is our love for Brené Brown. Mom took an online art class (yeah, technology, man) on “The Gift of Imperfection” and shared with me a lot of the little lessons she learned there. On top of that, my whole family learned to cherish another gift first-hand.

We learned to cherish the ones we love every second of every day.

My brother and his wife’s baby, Daniela, did not live to take her first breath, cry her first tears, or smile her first smile at her parents. But I think Daniela gave them their first breath, their first tears, and their first reason to really smile. My family was able to be there for them at a time that no parent, no sibling, and no friend ever wants their loved one to go through. The timing was perfect though the situation was tragic. The emotions were hard though the love came easy. I have never seen anyone love something so hard as my brother did that week; and despite the heartache and heartbreak of loss, he and his wife will continue to have that love for the rest of their lives.

Being away from them this year has been easier in some ways, but harder in others. I think the easy part comes with the knowledge that I am beginning my job search for my first professional position and am looking primarily in the Pacific Northwest. This means that in a matter of months, I could be as close as down the street and as far as a weekend getaway. My brother and his wife have been the catalyst for me returning to the west coast and my parents deciding to look at housing in the Tacoma/Gig Harbor area. I have always considered myself the glue (or social lubricant) that keeps my family together, but that’s just the ego talking. The real glue is embedded in our upbringing and our values that mom and dad instilled in us. Family. Uncertainty. Love. It’s all there. And we’ll be in it together… even if we’re apart. Because that familial glue of support will never waiver.

Promising to write more soon,
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