“O” as in “Overlooked” (Job Hunt Update)

“Hopes Up” from Gallows (2016) by Drama Duo

I’ve been listening to this song pretty much nonstop for a couple of months now, although it seems especially apt this week. Via Rosa, who wrote this song with Na’el Shehade (who together make up DRAMA, or “Drama Duo”), has said that the lyrics were free styled and don’t necessarily have a ton of meaning. Still, the idea of being left hanging with my hopes up is something that I’ve connected with in recent weeks.

I’ve given it up. You hold me down and get my hopes up. You saw me with my hopes up.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I’ve been searching for a job for about a year now. To date, I’ve applied to 208 jobs, received 59 rejection emails, and landed 2 interviews (on balance, I’ve also made 2 meaningful networking connections, so that’s something. Also, now that I see all these numbers in front of me, it doesn’t look like that much, but trust me, it feels like a ton when you’re doing it). I was about at my wit’s end when a recruiter from a staffing agency in L.A. called to tell me she had a job that she thought I’d be perfect for. I ended up interviewing both over the phone and in person and was even able to actually work in the position temporarily while filling in for someone else. Everything seemed to be going well, and I was really hopeful. There was still one other person being interviewed for the same position, however, so I’d have to wait for a final decision as to who would be hired to occupy the position permanently.

I feel it in my bones. You got my hopes up.

That brief time that I worked, though, was basically magical. It wasn’t really so much that I got to do anything amazingly cool during that time. In fact and the office was pretty empty and slow while I was there. Truth be told,  I didn’t do much more than babysit the front desk.

Still, there was something about being in the office of a pretty well-known indie music company that excited me. I’d read about this company as a teenager and dreamed of working with them someday. The framed best-selling albums and awards that lined the walls of the office made it hard for me to stop smiling. I belonged in a place like this, and I knew it. I could feel it in my bones. Music was the place for me, and I was on my way to becoming the career woman I’d always envisioned myself to be. In that way it was an incredibly affirming experience. There are (many, many) times when I doubt the decision I’ve made to dedicate my life to pursuing music as a career. Honestly, though, it was never much of a decision. I’ve sort of mentioned before that I never really fathomed being in any other industry growing up. This job opportunity was proof that I was right all along.

I waited enough, you got my hopes up. I gave it all and in all it wasn’t enough. 

So naturally, when I got the call informing me that I had not gotten the job that I was sure belonged to me, I was more than a little disappointed. There were a couple of tears. Surprisingly, though, I didn’t feel completely devastated or crushed. Not because losing out on an opportunity I know I deserved didn’t completely suck. It obviously sucks a lot. Oddly enough, though, as high as my hopes had gotten during this past month of anticipation, I never really let them get too far ahead of me. I think receiving rejection after rejection email (or worse, no email at all) from jobs I’ve been applying to this year kind of prepared me for that moment. My hopes were up, but all the waiting around for leads and opportunities to pan out has sort of desensitized me to rejection in a way.

Don’t get me wrong. It still hurts. But frankly, feeling right at home in that office and being a lot less intimidated by the people I met there than I thought I would be only confirmed the suspicions that I’ve been too afraid to really admit to myself: it really is their loss. I am as good as I think I am, and the world of music is as much my world as it is anyone else’s.

I mean, at least that’s what I try to tell myself.

You owe me something. 

Now that I’m back on the job hunt, it’s real easy to get caught up in this attitude, especially since I feel that so few things have gone my way recently. Then I remember that I’ve pretty much always felt like that, and my only way to combat that feeling is to just keep doing what I want to do. So what do I want? I want to write. I want to get a job in the music industry. And I want to write about getting a job in the music industry. So I guess that’s what I’m going to keep doing. I owe myself that much.

Now, you may be wondering why the image I included at the top of this post is of a concerned-looking Amy Santiago. Well, if you guys have ever watched television, you know that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to it (and if you haven’t seen the show, drop everything you’re doing and go watch it immediately. It’s on Hulu.). Anyway, the whole “‘O’ as in ‘overlooked'” thing is a quote from Season 1, when Amy (played by Melissa Fumero) finds out that she has been passed over for a job offer in favor of fellow detective, Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz). It’s not that she doesn’t feel Rosa is deserving of that job offer. It’s just that Amy assumes that she – the hyper-organized, super-smart and extremely competitive perfectionist of the bunch – was the more obvious choice for the role. She’s certainly not the type of person who’s used to being overlooked.

To be honest, of the three main female characters on the show, Amy’s always been the one I’ve identified with the least (Go Team Gina!). Still, as I rewatch the show (over and over and over…), I continue to see more of myself in her character than I initially wanted to admit. For example: like Amy, I grew up with many brothers, a deep fondness for Harry Potter, and an aversion to failure that can only come from never having failed at anything. Let’s just say I’m not the type of person who’s used to being overlooked.

Still, I carry on because I must, and I trust that like Amy and the rest of the Nine-Nine gang, I’ll eventually find my footing. In the meantime, I’ve been using this little spreadsheet that I made to keep track of all the jobs I’ve applied to over the past year. It’s pretty basic, and I’m sure any one of Amy’s binders would put this wimpy thing to shame, but I’ve found it’s been pretty helpful:

Click here to view or download the document in Google Sheets.


And to thank you for reading this far, here’s more Drama Duo:


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