Thursday, March 04, 2010

Small Moments of Feeling Small

I got dissed today by an organization I really respected, and it's made me feel really, really small.

And for once, it was not about my art. It was, of all things, about a non-art job. But it was a job I was, I'm sure, supremely qualified for, with an organization I have a long-standing respect for. I had lots of great ideas and was very excited about the prospect of contributing to the success of this organization. The application process was odd, to be sure ... an initial application was to be a letter, the "second interview" a second letter, the third level a phone interview. This despite the emphasis in the job description on the importance of collaboration and teamwork among the staff, and the implied value of fitting in and getting along. My initial application letter was apparently reasonably well received and I was invited to write a second letter, and take a written proofreading test ... all this for a "digital-media" (sic) position. But I wrote the second letter with great pleasure, took the proofreading test, and popped them into the mail, looking forward to moving further in the process for this job that I was already thinking of as "my job."

Then I saw the job announcement reposted in a strange location on, of all places, CraigsList, and began to feel uneasy.

I got the "thanks but no thanks" note from them today. It was at once cheerful and dismissive, saying they had taken my candidacy seriously but needed someone who was "adept at a wide range of things." And yet their interview process had tested my capacity to follow directions, write two letters, proofread for grammar and punctuation errors, read for comprehension, and use the US mail. Again, for a job in "digital-media" (sic).

Granted, things are not so good right now. I'm very sick with some kind of flulike thing and my outlook is not the best. I'm maybe a little bit lonely and struggling to keep up with housecleaning. My animals are causing me stress and worrying me. So it's possible that this has hit me a little harder than it might have otherwise, but I'm finding it hard to shake off the feeling of insult and unfairness, this notion that I was not given a chance, that my actual capabilities were not valued but instead I was judged based on some capricious secret handshake.

Truth is, I don't want to be evaluated based on whether or not I fit into the secret club. I don't want to work for someone who doesn't believe in what I'm doing, doesn't see the interent value in it. I don't want to be part of a team that's not sure whether I should be a member. There is a substantial chance that this position would have suffered all those indiginities,and that other positions out there would provide more challenge and other organizations value my contribution more highly. Yet I am affected still by this rejection; as I said, it was an organization I respected (and still do respect) so I can't just write them off as stupid ... and yet, the dismissal of me from consideration for this position that I was so completely qualified for with so little examination of my real qualifications seems odd at best.

I hope tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow WILL be better. But right now, it is still today and I remain disturbed.