Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

The Process

I’ll admit I became a little antsy this afternoon, and to those who’ve asked, my fingers continue to remain crossed. While I hadn’t wanted to talk to anyone about the process when my family was visiting, I was thinking about it all of today. I did multiple e-mail checks in the morning even though I knew the news would likely come by phone. I struggled to keep my mind occupied with other work at a cafe, but upon returning to the office, I encountered questions from friends and supporters to see if I’d received any news. My new standard response: “I’m cautiously optimistic.” More cautious than optimistic, more paranoid than cautious. The process had already taught me to take nothing for granted, that good news can change on a dime. Vigilance. Persistence. Resolve.

A few months ago, I was ignorant about the process: a naive novice navigating naked. It’s surprising how a little preparation (background reading, talking to people, etc.) can change that, and going through the process multiple times gave me a better appreciation of my own abilities and limitations. I returned to the computer and noticed an e-mail. It was a friend asking for my insights about the process. From novice to expert?

We talked on the phone, and his questions were quite specific. He was looking at a job posting I had applied to but failed to get. It was from my novice days: I went into the interview uncertain what to expect and left certain that I would have to apply for other jobs. That run through the process also taught me that if I wanted to apply for similar jobs, I would need to do a little more homework and preparation. I explained my mistakes and told my friend pitfalls to avoid. Then he asked the inevitable question.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” I replied and proceeded to explain my current state in the process.

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