A Humbling Experience

A few moths ago I, along with about two hundred or so others from work, put in for a promotion. I had been in my current position going on two years, so I figured it was finally time to move  up. Besides, My wife had achieved the goal within the same timeframe (sooner if you want to break down the details), so I knew it was possible.

The job announcement hit our emails back in October and boasted a whopping fifteen to twenty available positions. Rumor spread that the number could increase to thirty, maybe even forty. Nevertheless, I couldn't afford a sloppy resume or rushed application, so I took my time. Had my wife revise and edit. Once she gave me the go ahead, and after I obsessively read over it three to four more times, I clicked submit and waited.

Due to the high number of applications my employer receives, the computer system implements an algorithm to immediately deny applications lacking specific, albeit unspoken, criteria. If an applicant left out specific words from their job description or didn't answer key questions with the most appropriate response (trust me, one question overall flushes more applicants out of the system than any other one), then their application is rejected with an email response of "not referred". I apologize for the ambiguity, but I work for a government institution and don't think it wise to go into specific details about our applications.

A little over a month after the job post had ended, half the applicants received their email of denial. My confidence teetered the line between focused humility and unwavering confidence. A couple of weeks later unchecked confidence took over when I received an interview confirmation.

My thinking had now morphed into a cocky expectation of promotion, with only the formality of an interview in the way. I prepared little because, in my thinking, my performance thus far had been stellar, I go beyond what is expected of me, and I already possessed a good understanding of how the new position works. Besides, coworkers already in that position had told me I should get the job.

You can see where this is going.

The Thursday before Christmas I received an email of the chosen candidates, and my name was not on the list. Of course, my first response was a common one. Higher ups had their darlings in mind. Never had a shot. Pride soiled the roots of my heart and gave birth to rotten, misguided emotions.

"How," I demanded, "could they choose some of these techs over me?"

I fumed. I screamed. I sunk into my own misery.

Thank God for the Light He shines on those who ask.

I had just started reading Hope Against Darkness by Richard Rohr and John Feister. The words plunged a spiritual knife into my heart. According to the Holy Spirit, I had been an arrogant jackass.

This moment of understanding did not complete the humbling experience. That required further action on my part. I needed to know why, from the interviewers' end, I was not selected.

Shit, that was rough as hell.

Seriously, if you ever find yourself struggling with arrogance and pride and need a good check, sit down with some people who rejected you in some way or another and ask for their honest feedback.

The meeting was an enlightening kick in the ass. I realized that I assume way too much, put too much faith in facts, and foolishly place unrealistic expectations on others. Also apparent, some instances require I break from my comfort zone. I cannot expect people to cater to my weirdness. God, I hate using the word to twice in a sentence.

Time to go.