Today I had an interview for a freelance position with a nonprofit. I saw the job posting, applied, the recruiter thought I was a good fit, and then the interview was scheduled. All good, right?
And then. And then the recruiter wrote back to tell me who I’d be interviewing with. F*ck. My. Life. I saw the name and a million thoughts raced through my mind.
Let me back up a minute. This person and I worked together two lifetimes ago (read: two jobs ago) and although we ended on good terms, there was a period where … hmmm, let’s just say there was a person thrown under the proverbial bus, namely me, and the hurler was this person. The experience left me feeling powerless, small, humiliated and frustrated, especially because I partly reported in to this person.
Now to be fair, the environment that we both worked in at the time was hella toxic. Actually TOXIC would be more appropriate, which only compounded any negative aspects of a personality and made the workplace that much more challenging. But we managed to move forward professionally after a lengthy discussion, but as expected that relationship was never the same. And I vowed that I wouldn’t ever work with this person again.
So now we return to me reading the email and my mind being blown. And when my mind finally stopped racing, something strange happened. I felt calm. This is not what usually happens with me.
What usually follows is panic, upset stomach, migraine and persistent rumination. I thought of how this person used to be in that work environment and The Incident. But in this new moment, I had clarity.
What’s the worst that could happen? I thought to myself. She doesn’t choose me as a freelancer. Annnnnd I’ll go on living my life. Phew. Okay, so now I can go on with my life. And I did.
I wasn’t nervous last night like I thought I’d be and I wasn’t nervous this morning when I woke up. I thought maybe the nerves would kick in on the drive. Nope. Cool as a cucumber. Even when I arrived I was calm.
The interview went well. It was short and sweet, and the person I was interviewing with sang my praises. She looked happy, not just happier, but happy. Her new role suited her and seemed like a good fit. I remembered meeting her for the first time at our last place where we worked together. She seemed the same, but different somehow.
And I recognized I too was very different. I no longer felt small, powerless or humiliated. I didn’t overanalyze the situation, but prepared myself for any questions that might catch me off guard. And I felt at ease.
At any rate, I’ll probably get the gig. She said she was interviewing someone else but felt I was a a better fit. It doesn’t matter though. The real achievement was not about getting the job but feeling like I was in control of how I felt and not letting it overtake me and drive me over the edge.
It felt really good. I am proud of myself for not getting caught up in past garbage. And when I freed up space for that to happen, I was able to be in the moment with ease.
Most days it doesn’t feel like it, but maybe, just maybe I’m making progress after all.