Measured Response

My creativity was temporarily out of order last week. The constant demand to prove my worth took its toll on my dignity, and in my weakened state, the Friday Fictioneer prompt wrestled me to the ground. I knew where the prompt was leading. I did not want to go there. I tried for a day or so to come up with a positive story, to no avail. The scene was always brutal and crushing. Just like my week was turning out to be.  Finally, I gave up.

A person’s positive outlook can come to an abrupt end with the realization that they must sacrifice more in order to contribute more. What a vicious problem this is to solve. The list of rejections I have received grows longer every day. Months of searching and hundreds of job applications have led me into a deep pit of disappointment. It seems no matter how precise the plan, trial-and-error is how I am destined to explore problems, a method that makes it difficult to see what to do next to get where I want to be.

The thought occurred to me to post an open letter to the organizations whose talent acquisition software has dispositioned me out of hand because my resume doesn’t contain the correct key words. I decided even a well-written rant would give me no pleasure. I suppose we all have a tendency to respond to things that we don’t need to respond to. I am determined to resist the temptation to let frustrating circumstances defeat me.

It turns out that even when we are methodical and deliberate, life can knock us off our feet and steal our lunch money. Luckily, new information can break through the darkness in the wee hours of the morning and give us just what we need to face another day. Below is my response to Liz Young’s formidable prompt.

Copyright Liz Young


The Sum of My Parts

Blistered feet carry me to the edge where I have fallen to my knees more than once. I’ve lost my way a dozen times, chasing someone else’s dream. My heart beats a mile a minute as I land on my ass with arms outstretched toward a seemingly unattainable goal. Why waste time wringing my hands when there is so much work to be done? This question strengthens my resolve. I ask, if not me, then who? The reply comes quickly. There is always someone else more desirable. The words sting. They ring in my ears. They will not break me.


Thanks for reading. More punctual Friday Fictioneers are here. Thanks to Liz and Rochelle for keeping the light on for me.

27 thoughts on “Measured Response

    1. You are not alone. According to AARP 43% of adults aged 35-64 are actively looking for a job. Too bad all of the interviewers seem to be in the first year of their first job ever.

  1. Rejection eats away at us, no doubt, even when we tell ourselves repeatedly it’s part of the process and it’s not personal. Yeah, right, tell that to our battered souls. Sorry the job search has been so rough. All I can say is it’s their huge loss. But your time will come, I feel it. So keep plucking on, as I know you will.

    1. Talent acquisition does not need to be an excruciating process for employers or candidates. There are such great tools with the potential to be effective, but it seems efficiency doesn’t create job security for HR folks. GoTo Meeting would be an excellent candidate screening tool. Technology is not being fully utilized to get talent on board. Maybe I should go into that business. Hmmm…I think there’s a post in there.

  2. I love it. You truly are more than the sum of your parts, of course.

    Age is often a factor even though the powers that be will deny that to the bitter end. But I’m an optimist, and I believe that true talent will always prevail in the end. It just takes the right person to recognize you for whom you are.

  3. Honie, like everyone else I’m sorry to hear about your troubles and just hope something turns up for you soon. I know it’s easy for me to say but try to keep positive. With every rejection you’re just nearer the time one says “Yes.”

    1. So true, Michael. Positive energy must be cultivated. That’s why I write. When it is in short supply, the writing recharges my batteries. I began this journey knowing full well that rejection is a numbers game, but I’m beginning to lose count.

  4. Your story is straight from the heart, Stephanie. Who could ask for more? Good luck with the job search. Whoever hires you will wonder how they got along without you for as long as they did.

  5. I feel your pain, Honie. Any rejection is hard to bear, and as wirters we set ourselves up to have our work rejected all the damn time. Stay strong, keep the faith or, as my Pa used to say in Pig Latin, Nil illegitimus carborundum (Don’t let the bastards grind you down) X

    1. Last year I thought I was up for the amount of rejection I knew was headed my way and I challenged the universe to bring it. Now I’m thinking that might have not been such a good idea. Love Your Pa’s attitude- nil ilegitimus carborundum belongs on a t-shirt.

  6. Hang in there, Honie. Doesn’t being told that just make you want to punch someone? You know the drill, regroup and reorient yourself to the mission. Hope good news comes your way soon.

    This quote needs to be tattooed on the internet’s forehead: “I suppose we all have a tendency to respond to things that we don’t need to respond to.”

    1. The drill, yes, I know it well. Thanks, Michelle. May today’s anxiety be tomorrow’s chuckle and may your burdens fall away before your knees begin to buckle. That’s a quote from “Platitudes and Pound Cake,” a book I thought about writing once.

  7. The morning after the darkest night is always the brightest. Wisdom I gained after going through many such dark nights. The main thing is not to give up, because you never know, you might have been one step away from victory. Didn’t mean to lecture you here, just sharing life lessons 🙂

  8. Dear StepHonie,

    Rejection after rejection is hard to take and it’s easy to believe the lies, isn’t it? I can’t help thinking back to the last four years of my job. One particular write-up was packed so full of lies, I ended up going to a lawyer. Never mess with a writer. With my 14 pages of documentation, the lawyer drafted a complaint letter, “written by me.” While this somewhat secured my employment, the true reasons they wanted me gone were age and the fact that, after 20 years, I made more than the average grocery employee/cake decorator. The bottom line is always in dollars and cents. That’s the abridged story. Someday I might write the longer one.
    Just what you needed…a long-winded comment that I’m sure is over 100 words. I said all that to say, your story brilliantly makes me share your pain and frustration. My thoughts are with you, my friend.

    Shalom, hugs and a good Sauvignon Blanc,


    1. Oh, Rochelle, your comment is so on the nose. HA! Age is a factor. It bothers me more than it should. Pain shared is pain halved. Frustration, on the other hand, just gets multiplied. I dislike being a burden to my friends, and I think that I’ve isolated myself a bit for that reason.Thanks for the kind words.

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