Unemployed and Disheartened

I spent the past year sending applications out.

Job opening in the religious sector? Lay people eligible to apply? Master degree in theology preferred? No driver’s license necessary? If you came across these words on a LinkedIn or CatholicJobs posting, then there is a good chance I sent in my materials. Campus minister. Theology teacher. Liturgical coordinator. Director of Religious Education. Director of Faith Formation. Youth Minister. Pastoral assistant. Parish administrative assistant. Seriously, you name it, I’ve applied for it.

Now not to toot my own horn, but I have always believed my resume and my list of references to be impressive. I’ve been educated at top schools, I’ve had internships, I’ve been a student worker, I’ve been a volunteer for several non-profit organizations – really, I would say that I have a well-rounded background and have secured valuable and related work experience. Not to mention, I’m a people-person. I am capable of communicating well with the public. If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have told you that there wasn’t a chance in Hell that the process of landing a job would be taking this long.

Oh boy, was I wrong.

Regardless of how often I say I am ready to relocate, or that I will work for a modest salary, I have not been lucky. I know there are no guarantees, and that there is always the chance that other applicants are better candidates, but damn I’m tired of licking my wounds, admitting to family/friends that the “perfect position” didn’t work out, and going back to square one. I’m tired of hanging out with my friends, only to have to admit I don’t have news to share. I’m tired of my parents making excuses for me (to relatives, to neighbors) about why it is that I’m still home during the day. I’m tired of not being able to pay off my student loans.

A few weeks back, I was finally offered a full time position. They wanted a response within twenty-four hours. I couldn’t commit because I was waiting to hear back from another employer. This other employer was hiring for a position that I truly wanted with all of my heart. I was excited about the possibilities!

So I turned down the offer of the first employer. I gave up that promised job. I was okay with that, because I had so much hope for the other position. My family had so much hope. I held on to the hope that, soon, I’d be filled with joy at hearing a “yes”. I held on to that hope with bated breath.

Today, I had to exhale.

They sent me a generic rejection letter via email. I am devastated.

I know that I would have been haunted by “what ifs” if I had taken the first job offer. However, I can’t shake myself of the thought that I had been selfish for turning down the first real job I was ever offered.

Now I have to tell my family that it is still a no-go.

This new round of applications will not be fun.

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