“You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.”
“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
A. A. Milne
I hate waiting. I’m not patient with red lights or long lines or for the things I want in life. But sometimes waiting is necessary. When I was in my early 30’s I was told about a job opportunity that would be perfect for me. The timing was perfect because I hated the job I had at the time and I knew – absolutely knew – that this new possibility would be perfect also. The person who told me about it said she would be leaving her position and that she would personally recommend me for the position. I was elated.
Then things changed. She didn’t get the job she had applied for. I was crushed.
Then she got another job. I was elated again.
I then began the process of applying for the position. This was before the days of the Internet so I personally went there, resume in hand, and asked to see the person in charge. He was available and we had a good meeting. In my mind I saw him offering me a position on the spot. He didn’t. He wanted a formal interview in a week. I had to wait. I went to the next interview, again thinking once that was over he would offer me a position on the spot. Again, he didn’t. More waiting. He wanted another interview, this time with a group of other employees. That was scheduled for a few days later. That went well, except for one person on the interview team who clearly disliked me though I had no idea why. (I later found out she disliked most men.) I had two friends on the inside so I thought I had a very good chance. I was told to call back at the end of the week. I did. Then I was told to call back in another week. I did. Then… and on and on it went. It was like a roller coaster ride with my hopes going up and down, up and down. (And I hate roller coasters.)
Finally, the time came when a decision had to be made. It was between me and one other person. I needed to know so I could alert my present employer and he needed to tell me due to his scheduling needs. On the day of the decision, he and I had a tense phone call in which he said, “You’re not guaranteed the position.”
So all I could do was wait.
Finally, and I don’t remember if I called him or he called me, he said, “We’ve decided to go with the other candidate.”
Though I was in shock, I asked, “Was there anything I could have done differently to have gotten the job?”
He only said, “We feel the other candidate would be a better fit.”
I had no idea what that meant, because it didn’t mean anything. There was a more specific reason I wasn’t hired, but he didn’t want to tell me. Perhaps he just wanted to be done with the process. Or perhaps he didn’t want a confrontation. Perhaps he was afraid of saying something that might trigger a lawsuit. Whatever the reason, he wasn’t going to tell me.
Before I hung up, I asked if I could check in periodically in case anything had changed. He said, “Sure,” and we ended the conversation.
I was devastated. It was the only time in my life that I cried because I didn’t get a job. What made it worse was not knowing why. Even my friends on the inside had no idea what had happened. I felt helpless and frustrated because I didn’t know what to fix or improve. I didn’t know what to do.
So I did the only thing I could do. I Kept Going. I did things in my life to make it better. I also called the organization back a few weeks later. And I did this about once a month, reminding them I was still available if anything should change.
Then three things happened. I lost my present job. I quickly got a new job, one I liked very much. But the most important thing was that I found out why I wasn’t selected: the person they hired had more formal education than me. That was the reason.
So I made the decision to return to school and get a teaching credential.
Now here’s where things get interesting:
On the week I returned to school, the organization called me. It was on a Thursday and there was a message on the answering machine. (This was also before cell phones were commonplace.) I returned the call immediately, but he was gone. I called back the next morning, Friday, and we scheduled an appointment for 4:00 that afternoon. When I arrived, he handed me a stack of books and said, “You start on Monday.”
I worked there for seven years. I was Teacher of the Year my first year, and the candidate they had initially selected, the one who was “a better fit” was fired after having taught only one class.
There are at least two lessons to be gleaned from this experience:
First, most hiring decisions are not final. Eventually, a new decision will have to be made. Someone will quit, be fired, transferred, promoted, demoted or die, and a new position will open. And sometimes companies make the wrong decision. In fact, within most organizations, new hiring decisions are made about every three months.
The second thing I learned is that there is a right time for everything. Had I gotten the job I wanted when I wanted it I would not have gotten my teaching credential. Getting my teaching credential allowed doors to open up for me for the rest of my life. I could have had that job without a teaching credential (many of the staff did), but when the job ended, I would have had very few options.
Currently, there are things I want to see happen. I have waited a long time for some of these things. But I also know that timing is crucial. I believe in a God who guides us if we allow Him. I trust He knows the right time. In the meantime, my job is not to sit around and wait passively. My job is to visualize what I want and do everything I can to prepare – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and professionally. This is why I write every day. This is why I try to move forward just a little every day, until I could make larger strides, until I can reach my goal. This is why I fight fear and distractions. This is why I Get Started and Keep Going every day. There’s something very good that is waiting for me.