Guess what I got for Christmas!!!
No, not a Wham-o Snowball Blaster
Nope, I got something more appropriate for a woman my age and station in life.
A job rejection notice email.
I realize the form rejection emails are sent en masse to all the candidates who weren't chosen for the job. I realize HR departments use auto send functions on non-reply email accounts for rejection notices. I realize HR people will say, "It's an automated process, we don't pay attention to things like the dates the rejection emails are sent." (I realize these things because I am a professional job seeker and professional rejected candidate.)
sets the protocol for auto email delivery. In this case the protocol apparently is, "Auto send rejection emails at 9:47 AM on Tuesdays." The someone who sets the auto delivery protocols might have taken a moment to realize that this year Tuesday, December 25, is Christmas
. And maybe, just maybe, it might be a nice idea to change the auto delivery protocol to Wednesday, the day after Christmas. After all, no one really gets depressed on Boxing Day. No one is going to have their Boxing Day festivities ruined because of a job rejection email.
But no one bothered to think about that. No one bothered to think about the hopeful job candidates at holiday gatherings, fielding and/or dodging questions from family and friends about their job hunt. They didn't think (or even realize) that hopeful job candidates were clinging to a tiny speck of light in the form of an interview that seemed to go well the week prior and were bolstered by the possibility of that job. No one bothered to think (or even realize) that the job candidates were holding their heads a little higher at that holiday gathering because they had something positive to share with family and friends. No one thought (or realized) that job seekers, especially unemployed job seekers, get a much needed shot of self-esteem when they can share good job news with friends and family, and being able to say "I had an interview last week! I think it went well! Of course, one never knows, but I'm perfectly qualified for the job and it seems like a win-win for me and the company," does more for someone who's unemployed than anything other than a solid job offer. No one bothered to think (or realize) that the holidays are rough, really rough, on people who are unemployed. No one bothered to think (or realize, or care) that sending a job rejection email on Christmas day is a level of icy indifference and evil to which even Scrooge didn't stoop.
I realized there were "many qualified candidates." I realize there was "an overwhelming response to the job posting." I realized my "qualifications are impressive." I didn't need a form rejection letter to tell me any of those things. But I know it's the standard job rejection letter protocol. So I understand the cold, abbreviated, wonted form letter style. At this point in my job hunt I have no bone to pick about the contents of job rejection emails.
But in tandem with the delivery date of Christmas day, the job rejection email goes from cold to icy, abbreviated to hateful, wonted to personal affront.
I'm sure it was merely the auto email send protocol, no one in that HR
department stopped to realize that this week's Tuesday rejection batch
list was going to hit in-boxes on Christmas day. An oversight. No
biggie, inconsequential, right? I mean, these candidates are rejected,
they're not getting the job, what difference does it make when they get the news?
I fail to understand is why a company wouldn't let us job seekers have Christmas. Give us one more day, the holiday, to bask in the hope of a job, to bask in and share the joy of an interview that seemed to have gone well. Why couldn't they let me, us, have that? Why dash our hopes on Christmas day
I'd like to say I'm tougher than job rejections, that they won't get me down, that I'm better and stronger than the form words and indifferent HR personnel behind them. That's how I may seem to other people, it's an air of dignity I've mastered faking for self preservation. But the reality is that I'm numb to rejection. It's happened so many times I usually feel nothing when I receive yet another job rejection.
But this one, the Christmas Day Job Rejection of 2012 has earned a place of infamy. It got to me. It hit me hard. I rarely tell anyone about interviews. People get their hopes up for me, then press me for details and hope for good news, and I have to tell them I was rejected. Again. Which makes the disappointment doubly difficult. Bad enough when I have to deal with the bad news, but to have to share the bad news with people who care about me is worse. So I hadn't purposely or voluntarily bragged about the job interview, but, at Christmas Eve and Christmas morning gatherings, family and friends pressed me for details about my job hunt. I felt backed into a corner, I felt like I had to say something positive, it was Christmas, after all, and I didn't want to be a constant source of buzz kill, especially at Christmas, and, after all, I did have a glimmer of hope in the form of a recent second interview. So I humbly said things like, "Well, I did
have a second interview last week, fingers crossed..." "How'd it go? I don't want to tempt fate, but it seemed to go quite well. I'm perfectly qualified for the job and the hiring manager and I seemed to hit it off quite well...but I don't want to tempt fate." "Yes, starting the new year with a new job would
be fantastic." People offered to pray for me at Christmas Eve church services. And my family's relief was palpable. Maybe, finally, something was going to be "done" about me and my "situation." Maybe they finally could stop worrying about me. The air in the family gatherings was noticeably lighter when news of my recent interview was shared.
So the arrival of that rejection email was not just a disappointment, it came with shame and embarrassment. I failed, again, and, unlike my usual suffering in silence, quietly licking the wound in solitude, my family and friends would share in the rejection because I shared the news of the interview with them. Yes, that was my mistake and the responsibility of the ramifications are my responsibility. But. All of that could have waited a day.
And yes, it was my fault for checking and reading my email. But. To be fair, I was checking for holiday greetings when I saw the email titled "update" from the company I interviewed with last week. Since it was Christmas day I foolishly thought maybe it was a, "Sorry to intrude on your holiday but we know the holidays are hectic and wanted to catch you ASAP, we want to schedule another meeting next week," kind of email. I know. Silly me. I know. That was a really stupid thought. But. Hope springs eternal.
Until hopes are dashed.
And dashed hopes on Christmas day are commonplace. So. In many ways it's appropriate.
I tried to pretend I hadn't received the email, tried to put on a happy face for my family. I think I did an okay job of it. I don't think anyone noticed.
But. Instead of going to bed with visions of starting a new job dancing in my head, I went to bed with visions of living in a homeless shelter dancing in my head.
Sure, I had to be told at some point, but that point didn't have to be Christmas day. Apathy and indifference toward job candidates is status quo for those of us who've been job hunting for ages. Us seasoned job seekers know not to expect anything personal or even friendly from HR personnel. The most we expect is cordiality, and often we don't even get that.
But come on, HR departments. Take two minutes to consider job candidates and your rejection delivery protocol. What happened to me, and I'm sure countless others, on Christmas day can't be undone. But don't let it happen on New Year's Day. If you have an auto send email protocol for rejection letters, change it so they won't arrive in in-boxes on January 1.