I’ve been collecting rejections as I’ve tried to sell some fiction in this fiercely competitive market. It requires you to be able to not take it personally, which I couldn’t manage often ten years ago. It’s hard for the publishers, I understand, because they get more submissions than they can shake a stick at: I have this vision of the mail carrier coming in with a huge duffel bag of mail and dumping it down on the editor’s desk, which snaps. So they use form letters, and the form letters rub people the wrong way too often. And on the other side, the writers invest so much in their stories that it’s hard not to take rejection personally.
I thought about this today when I saw a job listing on Craigslist. Once, there was a startup I really, really wanted to go work for and thought I would be a rock star for. We flirted for a while, I went in to interview, I didn’t get it (reason given: I didn’t have enough GUI experience and they were all-GUI then). But I got the feeling that it was really close, and they said “hey, keep in touch”. So I did, and when I left Expedia, they called to see if I was interested in contracting for them, which I thought might be a way for the pro-Derek faction to get me in and prove I rocked… they seemed really happy that I might be available. But the timing was bad, because I had to finish the book and go to Europe, so they said “look, call us when you’re ready to go back to work.
I did. Even when I was at Expedia, I thought “if there was somewhere I would quit to go work at, this would be it.” And they’ve been cool through this whole on/off thing, so I dropped them a line and said “hey, the book’s done, I’m considering getting back to having a day job, what’s up?”
They said “Sorry, no program manager jobs, but stay in touch.”
I was cool with that – the timing’s always been weird. Since then, I’ve had an RSS feed from Craigslist for ‘program manager’ to see if there’s anything cool out there, since I figure if there are other startups out there not recruiting through word of mouth, that’s where they’d post.
Today, as you no doubt expect at this point, was a listing for the job I wanted.
And I thought “faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahk.”
I don’t know if I would have gone for it if they’d called me instead of posting: I’m juggling book projects, all kinds of good stuff’s afoot, and if I’m going anywhere, my first choice is going to be rejoining my friends at Expedia, because they’re a great bunch. I don’t know what the scoop is, if there’s recruiter A and recruiter B, or teams, or whatever.
It’s the first time I think I’ve wished for a rejection, because I held out hope for so long, and now I wonder why. I feel somewhat silly, like I’ve found out my girlfriend dumped me by reading her blog and seeing the “Status: Single” on her profile.