On Disappointment, Faith, and Purpose

I really thought I had it.  I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’d even started writing the blog post celebrating the new job.  Fortunately, I wasn’t a fool enough to post it before I actually had confirmation from the principal.  Then the days dragged into weeks, which dragged into over a month, and still I didn’t hear anything.  That’s when the doubt crept in.  Maybe this job wasn’t a given.  Maybe they’re offering it to someone else, and they just don’t want to tell me “no” until after they’ve gotten the “yes” from him.

Let me go on record and say that I had reasons other than my own ego for thinking that job was mine (though looking back, ego had a hand, too).  I landed the interview on a blind resume.  The opening hadn’t been publicly advertised, so I wasn’t lumped with the job-hunting masses that flood any job posting they see.  That narrowed the competition field considerably.  Even better, I student taught at that school.  I knew the environment, the mission, and the student demographic.  My cooperating teacher (who had given me a very good review six years ago) was even part of my interview!  If all that wasn’t enough evidence in my favor, I had the words of the principal himself.  Not that he’d offered me the job, of course.  He was more professional than that, but at the end of the interview, when they asked if I had any questions, I asked the question that’s always been a bit of a secret weapon for me.  “What strengths are you looking for in your teachers?”  (I could write a whole blog post on the value of asking that one question, but that’s not the point of this particle article, so I’ll save it for another time).  The principal’s response?  “Well, pretty much everything you just said,” – and then he proceeded to list off some of the high points of my own individual strengths.

See?  It wasn’t ridiculous for me to think that I would get the job!  Except that I hadn’t yet, and as time dragged on, I began to realize I might have been wrong.  I waited, though, and kept up hope.  I traveled to Boston, and then to Wisconsin, and finally I decided I couldn’t take not knowing anymore.  Yesterday I shot an e-mail to the principal and asked for an update.  I wasn’t really surprised when he wrote me back to let me know that they’d offered the position to someone else.  A former student, in fact.  That’s tough competition.

I’d braced myself for that answer, but the disappointment was still pretty sharp.  However, knowing is better than waiting.  I sat down at my computer with renewed purpose, pulled up Google maps, and found a few more schools that I hadn’t sent résumés yet.  I drafted a few more cover letters, printed a few more résumés, and addressed and stamped a few more envelopes.  They went out in the mail this afternoon.

There was a time when that kind of disappointment would have crushed me.  I’ve cried over similar employment rejections.  That was when I feared for my career, when I didn’t know if I’d be able to establish myself in a new environment or build my résumé.  I’ve done both those things several times over, though.  I’ve done what shouldn’t be possible considering today’s job market and how often I’ve relocated.

That’s not on me.  If I may get a little personal for a bit, I need to say that I sincerely believe that God has done more with my career than I ever could have done on my own.  Jobs have dropped in my lap from out of nowhere right when I needed them and given me training and skills that I didn’t even know I would need later.  Recently, the same thing has happened for my husband.  So I have to trust that the God that has taken care of me so well in the past will continue to take care of my future.

It’s a weird thing, really living by faith and trust in a God that I can’t physically see or hear.  I don’t know how everything is going to work out, but I have confidence that it will.  Teaching jobs typically have a narrow hiring window and it’s a little late in the game for this year, but it’s not impossible.  However, trusting in God doesn’t mean I think I will definitely get a job.  Instead, it means that, no matter what, I’ll be OK.  Maybe it will mean subbing again, building a network of connections that will help me land full-time work later.  Maybe it will mean something else entirely that I can’t see yet.  I just know that I’ve been brought this far for a reason, so whatever comes next, that will be for a reason, too.

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